Five years ago today, I lost the person I was closest to for the first 40 years of my life. My beloved mom died after a relentless fight with ovarian cancer–a cruel, horrific, insidious disease that leaves only heartbreak in its wake.

Her resilience, her sheer determination, her beautiful spirit, her divine optimism, her willingness to always choose hope in the most dire circumstances are lessons I rely on to this day. While I am not remotely half the woman she was (and still is, to me), I bask in her glow every day.

My mom loved spending time in her garden watching for butterflies. Though their life spans are short, the intricate detail; the unapologetic individuality; the vibrant, exquisite colors of their wings; the way they delicately and gracefully float through the world; the freedom they represent all resonated with her.

My mom’s favorite quote of all time was, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

There’s simply no way to convey the gravity of how I feel about living 1,826 days without her love, guidance, and support. Frankly, I don’t know how I’ve managed to do it!

I don’t seek solace at her gravesite. It doesn’t make me feel more connected to her at all. On this monumental anniversary, I wanted to find another place to go, to take my child, when we get the urge to outwardly express our profound grief. So grateful to Conquer Cancer Coalition of Massachusetts for creating such a place with its Cancer Garden of Hope at City Hall Plaza in Boston.

My mom always loved rooms with a view! Now, she has a spectacular view of the city, and people who gather there will know she changed lives while she was here. She made my life while she was here. She poured her heart and soul into my precious son while she was here.

Michele Ann Goldman was our angel on Earth, and now she’s our eternal butterfly in the sky. 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

If you’re fortunate enough to still have your mom here, hug her a little tighter today, for me. Believe me, I remember all of the times she drove me crazy with her constant tardiness, how she used to keep me holding on the other line much too long when one of her many friends called, how she was a counter hog when we cooked Thanksgiving together. But, above all, I remember that incomparable feeling of being loved unconditionally, despite all of my flaws, by the person who gave me life. And that’s what I miss today and every day.