I have a ‘to-do’ list a mile long but here I sit in the semi-darkness as the sun begins to peek over the horizon; we’ve just returned from a week’s shoot in Italy with one day of semi-rest before we were staring down Monday morning. I’m grateful for the quietness in the house as it allows me to gather my thoughts and click out the words on my keyboard – no recipe today but a few of you have sent me notes of encouragement on the loss of our granddaughter Alice; the anniversary of her passing was yesterday and I just wanted to take a moment to say ‘thank you’ for remembering.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since Alice left us and while the loss is still felt deeply, I find her spirit still here – photographs of her share space with the work in my office and we still haven’t changed her bedroom we decorated when she came to visit here for the first time.

But I also want to tell you that we are doing well; the tears come unexpectedly at times and the grief is heavy. But it passes and I lean into the memories of her – the dark pigtails, her dark eyes, her infectious laugh, the swim goggles she wore in the pool, the lace-trimmed white anklets worn with black patent-leathered shoes – and her stubbornness – that girl was made of steel when she wanted things her own way.

Our photo shoot yesterday was with her older brother, Douglas, who also has Cycstic Fibrosis – and at the moment he is doing very well. I knew the day was a hard one for him and we gave him the choice of postponing but he wanted to stay with the schedule; afterwards, we grabbed a burger and fries and shared memories of his sister. He said that when they were little, he took a pot-pie from her – she got mad and pushed the pie into his face – he retaliated by stabbing her in the hand with a fork. He said he felt really bad about the incident and wished he had been a better brother. The Professor and I both shared stories of our own childhood and how we treated our siblings badly, assuring him those kinds of fights were normal.


At the end of our time together, he grabbed me in a tight bear-hug and said, ‘Thank you Oma, for making a really horrible day into a day that is now filled with happy memories.’

Yes Douglas, it was indeed a fine, happy day.

Enjoy your week friends, and bear-hug someone you love.


  1. Beautiful, heartwrenching and hopeful, all at once. Thank you for this, Deb, and hugs to YOU.

    • thank you so much Kate; i can honestly say that all our memories are good ones – even as sick as Alice was, she could still make us laugh! xo

  2. Beautiful photo. Glad you are back home.

  3. I don’t have any magic words, other than to say your words made me laugh, cry, feel happy and feel sad. Much love to all of you.

    • thank you Angie – bittersweet memories but it’s all good; this girl was loved and she knew that. she was surrounded by her family when she passed – it was exactly as she wanted it. BIG LOVE to you and your family!!

  4. Debra, she was a beauty. I have a son and daughter ~ teenagers ~ and they have their moments too. When my son was a toddler and my daughter an infant, he never missed an opportunity to pass by her bouncy seat and give her a little swat as he went by. Look at that beautiful smile on your grandson’s face. I’ll hug both my kids (I’d try to get them to hug each other but I’m pretty certain THAT won’t happen). XO

    • thanks so much for your comment Domenica – tiffs among siblings is soooooo common – i laughed at the thought of your little man swatting at his sister – so true!! (((hugs)))

  5. Such a beautiful way to remember the day. Thanks for sharing. I heart you super much.

  6. You are amazing Deb! Thank you for sharing this story with us. Taking a day of sadness and flipping it upside down is commendable. You are a rock sister and I am sending you big bear hugs from 3000 miles away. XO

  7. I could tell him about the time my sister tried to take my plate away from me to clear the table, and I wasn’t done eating so I pushed her and she landed on a sharp knife that was point up in the dishwasher… we had to go to the ER to get it out 🙂

    I know Douglas was a wonderful brother – it’s evident in the fact that he even cared about that happening 🙂

    • oh Kristen ~ my sisters will tell you stories about me that aren’t very flattering. at. all. i’m glad they still love me! thank you for remembering us xo

  8. Debra, just beautiful. Douglass’ words. Your words. That smile. Thank you for sharing a beautiful moment on what is a difficult time, with us. xoxo

    • Thank you Jeannine ~ she’s still missed every day; not sure i’d ever say easier but time seems to lessen the sting (((hugs)))

  9. Debra –

    I love this so much. I also love Douglas’ pot pie story. That interaction is exactly what makes siblings siblings. And her pushing the pie in his face shows her spunk, and the freedom in their relationship. That is exactly what a brother would do to his sister – take her pie, stab her with a fork, and what a great story to remember her. Not Hallmark or staged, just two people being real with each other. I think he’s perfect.

    Sending love to all of you.


    • The pot pie story is EXACTLY what makes siblings, siblings; but Alice always remembered her brother whenever she visited. if we bought something for her, she wanted to make sure something was bought for him as well – she loved Douglas fiercely. you’re a good, good friend Kim, love you BIG

  10. Hugs to you both, I had no idea. I lost a brother. I often wonder who he would have been as a man, as a father and as a husband. I always hold on to the memories and share the stories of funny things or thoughtful things he did. I feel him with me always and I swear, he has protected me (and my family) multiple times somehow. I hope you also revel the memories you have of your beautiful Alice. Tell Douglass that those stories are often the best in the re-telling…we all have them! I hope he, you and your extended family are doing well.

    • what you’ve just described Colleen, is what we’ve experienced here in the 2yrs since Alice passed – we feel her near, hear her laugh, hear her words – they really are beautiful memories (((hugs)))

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