A Letter to Mom

03 Apr A Letter to Mom

I haven’t written anything in a while. I’ve been focusing on work, my novel, my screenplay, and enjoying the weather. However, I just now had an urge. I meant to write about something that I thought of around Easter anyway. The 22nd of this month would’ve been your birthday. Easter is generally a time to reflect, but this year especially so.

I don’t know what it was but I had a thought that occurs to me from time to time. You haven’t seen me since I was 16. You barely even got to experience my 16th birthday. I’m turning 24 this year (which is crazy), and sometimes I still try to imagine what you would say to me.

You weren’t there when I graduated from high school. You never saw where I went to college, you never got to see Nick or I graduate from college. Luckily you didn’t have to be there when I crashed Grandpa Holloran’s Buick into the back of a police car and have to buy my new ’99 Outback I’m still driving today. You didn’t get the opportunity to see Nick go to grad school for chemistry (I’m sure you would’ve thought music). You weren’t able to see me get my first job out of college and earn my first promotion. I doubt you would’ve believed me if I told you I would be working at a bank. I would’ve doubted that myself to be honest. How did that happen?

You couldn’t be here with me when I decided I won’t let my creativity die. I was never as musically talented as you, but you know I love books. Every time I open my computer to write something, I think about you. I think about when I read books. It brings me back to when I used to read with you and the feeling of sharing that journey. I wish I realized earlier how truly awesome it is that both you and Dad were following your passions. You’ll remember trying to get me to act in a musical as a kid. I never wanted to because I had to wear makeup. Really Dan? Makeup of all things scared me off? In my defense, as much as you and Dad love musicals, I think TV writing was better suited for me. You showed me how to read, why to read, and why we pursue our dreams. I wish you could be here to help proofread my TV script and my novel more than anyone on this earth.

However, out of all of this, the worst part is knowing what you will miss in the future. You won’t see me get married. You won’t see your future grandkids. You won’t see Nick write published scientific studies and make some sort of crazy chemical compound that helps save the world (hopefully). You’ll miss my first TV show getting put on air and my first book getting published (hopefully). Regardless of what happens, you’ll miss it, and I’ll miss you.

I remember when I graduated high school, Dad wrote me a letter to that extent. I thought I saved that letter, but last time I looked I could not find it. Luckily my memory still serves me. Dad told me that you would not see any of these life-changing moments, but that you would always be present. And I constantly feel your presence in my life. Your name always rests on my wrist and your ashes sit by my bed. Your strength, passion, and kindness reside in my heart. I’ll think about the fact that you aren’t there in all of life’s greatest moments. I’ll try to imagine what you would say, what you would think. There will always be emptiness in me when I realize you are missing. But I will feel great solace when I look inside and know that what I’m doing is right.

Dad’s letter also said that I am kind, sometimes to a fault. It was in my best interest to control my kindness and to know when I had to be strong; otherwise the world will control me. You know I was soft-spoken, even as I child. But I believe I become stronger and more passionate everyday. The only way to overcome insecurities and fear is to face them. You taught me that. I didn’t know that you taught me that until years after you had left us, but you taught me that.

You loved literature and I can’t thank you enough for showing me and passing that down to me. I’m so happy you were there to watch me compete at the state spelling bee. It’s still one of my proudest accomplishments and I know you loved that. I’m not nearly as eloquent or artistic in my writing as you were, but I think you would still appreciate my writing all the same. I would love it if you could read this and tell me what you think. I’m sure our conversations now would be much different from the conversations we had when discussing my childhood books. I just miss being able to talk to you, Mom.

Thank you for choosing Dad though. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you and him. He’s been incredibly strong through all of the hardest times since you’ve left. You would love Allison too, she’s totally awesome and I know she makes Dad happy. You know how goofy Dad can be but he’s also one of the smartest people I’ll ever meet and I can’t express my gratitude towards him after your passing. Your parents, Nana and Grandpa, are hanging in there, but I’m sure they miss their daughter as much as I do. To be honest, I probably haven’t seen them as much as I should in the last few years. I still have a lot of the same friends I had when you were living. I know you liked them then, but just like fine wine, they’ve only gotten better with time. I wish you could see them today.

I know it wouldn’t matter to you what I did in this life, but it matters to me. You would’ve loved me if I worked as an accountant and never did anything exciting or dangerous. But that’s not the way I am, especially since your passing. I want to leave my mark on this world. I want people to read what I write and find a connection inside themselves. I want to help spread love, joy, and kindness on this earth. You knew literature did that. You knew the power of words and a healthy imagination.

I promise I will make you proud. Not because you pressured me to do anything to make you proud, but because that’s what I want. I promise I will leave this world a better place, just as you did. I will not give into greed and sloth because it is the easy way out. I will create something because that’s what you always did. You understood that kindness, creativity, and an emotional connection make this life worth living. Thank you for always being with me and helping me make smart decisions. I’m sure you would be disappointed with me at times, but in general I think you would be proud. I love you, Mom. Thank you for everything.



  • Patrick Holloran
    Posted at 11:21h, 03 April Reply

    Congrats, Dan. A fine tribute to a wonderful wife and mother. Remember – She (and I) are proud of you for who you are, not for what you do or what you accomplish. In a way, having children is a very selfish act. We get to observe and love and grow through our kids. You can be confident that you have never let us down. Now GET BACK TO WORK! Love, Dad

  • Kavindee Edirrisinghe
    Posted at 11:51h, 03 April Reply

    This is so amazing and touching Dan. It brought a tear to my eye from start to finish. You are going to do great things in the world, and I am happy to call you my friend.
    Thank you for being YOU! 🙂

  • Beth Malone
    Posted at 09:55h, 05 April Reply

    So much to gain from every word. Thank you Dan and thank you Muffy and Pat for making the world a better place by raising artists!! Much love from my tearful plane seat. Xo Beth

  • Susan Holloran
    Posted at 21:37h, 04 August Reply

    Walt Disney said it best: “If you can dream it, you can do it. ” And it all started with a dream and a mouse…never stop believing in the power of your dreams! Your tender memories of your mom and her loving words of encouragement have most certainly left lasting imprints on your heart, Dan. I know she loved you and Nick so very much, and she would be so proud of the man your are today, It’s our memories that keep those we love close. Your mom gave you many in her brief time here. Thank you for sharing some of them! Hugs to you, Aunt Sue

  • Michele Curton
    Posted at 09:29h, 18 October Reply

    My daughters, now 14, are in your shoes. Their father passed away five years ago. In our journey I’ve read a few letters like this written by different people, but yours carries the simple, conversational elegance that is usually missing. Seeing your post surrounded by loving comments from your family is a most beautiful complement to your work. Thank you for sharing, and I wish you all the best.

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