On Birthdays

On May 11, 1946 my momma was born in an old Iowa farmhouse and I swear, the moon must’ve been shining bright and all the flowers must’ve been singing upon her arrival to this lovely planet.

Today, I imagine what it must’ve been like that day, in the country, in a two story house that sat back near some trees, at the end of a long winding lane.

I bet there was such joy when a new baby came. A celebration. Ooooing and ahhhing over tiny fingers and rosy cheeks. Life changes with a baby.

Life also changes without one. My momma wasn’t a baby when she passed, she was 75, but she was still somebody’s baby. Someone’s dream come true, back in 1946.

And, she was ours. Our life and our dream. She was a momma, wife, friend, cousin, niece, sister, aunt, and grandmother. My, oh my, how we miss her.

Birthdays were always a big thing for my momma. When ours rolled around, she decorated, did the cakes, and made our day so special. How amazing, really, those yearly reminders of how the moment we were born was still worth celebrating.

Birthdays meant something to my momma. And, because of her, they mean something to me. I tend to go ‘all out’, too. Streamers and banners, a cake and gifts, and confetti to top it all off.

It’s funny, the shift that takes place after someone passes and their birth-day comes. It’s such a contradiction. Here we are, on this date that used to be so laughter, cake, and gift filled, to another reminder that she’s gone.

Birthdays are different after loss…

Today is the 2nd birthday of hers since she passed. Last year was a tear filled mess. She was about to turn 76, but didn’t make it, so that birthday was sooooooo hard.

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed I haven’t written anything for a long time. I quit writing again. I let a comment get to me- it was one of trying to push me through my journey of momma loss.

It broke me in a way that squished all desire to write. Before it, I had been honest about how momma loss feels.

After it?

I pulled the shades up around my writing and I stopped, again. It wasn’t the first time a comment caused me to throw in the writing towel.

But, you know what?

My momma loved this blog and she especially loved when I started writing again after having a big case of writer’s block. So today, I’m writing for her.

Happy Heavenly Birthday to my momma! ❤️❤️❤️

If there is such a thing as reuniting with family and loved ones on the Heavenly side, I hope they’re having a big ol’ party for her. She would surely love it!

Thanks for reading,


©️ copyright 2023 Unmeasured Journeys

©️ copyright photo taken by me, Jessica Adam

Thank You I Started

Thank you for all your help, ideas, and kindnesses that you shared on my last post about maybe writing a book.

I started. I just wrote 15 chapters.

Last night, the title, chapter list, introduction, and more landed in my heart space. I decided I’m just going to go with it and see where it leads.

Pen to paper, I just wrote for 2 hours straight. Felt good to do that. Old fashioned, I know. It’d probably be smarter to type as I go, but I like the feel of paper and a pen,

Where this will go, I have no idea. But, it’s nice to finally start.

Thank you for the confidence boost. I appreciate you all!


©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 Unmeasured Journeys

©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 Jessica Adam

On Book Writing

Ever since my momma passed, I’ve been contemplating writing a book . I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tossed the idea around and I still can’t quite decide…

I seem to have a “have to know how to do things” kind of mindset. If I don’t know how to do something, I read.

In the first few days following her passing, I started looking for books on momma loss. I read two immediately and I did like them, but they weren’t exactly what I needed. Right then is when I started thinking about writing a book.

Some days, I’m like, “Yes!!! I’m going to do it.”

Other days, not quite so much.

The back and forth of it is:

  • it would be the shortest book e v e r because the only chapter in it would be called “Too Hard”
  • or, it would be really great- the exact thing I needed/need and be absolutely soul lifting, but no one would want to read it because who wants to read about loss

Although, on the other hand, maybe it could help someone, like me, who had their momma/ loved one rug pulled out from under them…

That part always keeps me leaning towards doing it.

These last 375 days, I have learned a bunch about kindness, compassion, crying anywhere, things that help, showing up, lonely days, songs, Tuesdays, gifts to give, gifts received, support systems, and writing, during some messy hard days.

I tried to imagine if I had a friend in momma loss who was talking about writing a book about such things, would I read it?

  1. Well, yes because it’s a friend and it’s good to read friends books.
  2. Would I read it if I still had my momma? I probably wouldn’t have before I lost her. I mean, momma loss was not on my mind.
  3. Would I read it after I lost my momma? Every day of the week.

If you’ve been around here awhile, you may know that I’m a “go with my heart” type of writer. My friend SanDee and I always talk about how my heart is on my sleeve. It got me thinking that this could be one of those times that heartfelt writing could maybe help somebody out.

Heck, maybe I ought to do it. I guess we’ll see.

Thanks for reading.


©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 Unmeasured Journeys

©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 Jessica Adam

I Quit Writing

I quit writing. Sometimes it’s just easier to



I knew March would be tricky, hard, and emotional, so I haven’t written anything, scheduled anything new, or added any new stressors.

I knew March would make things even more real. It would state the obvious. It would trample on hearts already worn down by twelve months of missing.

Two days ago marked the one year date that I last spoke to my momma. Her few words before I left the hospital that night.

Tomorrow marks the one year date that things were on the upswing. A plan for healing was being put in place. Hope returned to the table. We were more optimistic.

That very same day, when tiny glimpses of sunshine and rainbows and ‘we’re figuring this out’ strolled back in, there was a setback… a setback that flipped worlds inside out and upside down and not just mine.

I quit writing. After being SO OPEN about what momma loss is like, I clammed up. I lost my sense of direction with words and where to go with them.

Transparency, while standing hip deep in parent loss, got me some unwanted remarks and advice I didn’t ask for.

It shut me down, I quit writing.

I’m making art today, listening to music, and with wet cheeks, I’m missing my momma. This weekend marks the one year date we lost her. I shake my head wondering how three hundred and sixty five days went by already. Time in parent loss is a mysterious thing.

Suddenly I had a little tweak of interest in writing again. Like, right now. So, I’m going with it. If you’ve been down this parent loss road, you may understand all this. If you haven’t, I’ll pray for you when you do. There are no words to wrap around an entire year of missing someone.

I quit writing,

until I started writing again.



On Vulnerability

Nine Christmas Eve’s ago, my cousin’s mom suddenly passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. In the nine years since, I have paid attention to how she has navigated the loss of her beloved momma.

Although I didn’t quite understand her loss, I tried to be there for her. One thing that I noticed was that she didn’t stuff the loss down to deal with it later. In my eyes, she bravely stepped right into the loss of “holy sh*t, I’ve lost my mom, what am I going to do?”

I don’t know about you, but when a friend or relative loses their mom/ parent, I pay attention. There are lessons that live in someone else’s experiences. I hadn’t been IN her shoes, but when she talked about her days that came with her loss, I listened.

I still do.

A couple weeks ago, she said something monumental to me. It was about her view of grief. She’s nine years in, to mom loss.

I’m nine months in.

Her words were soothing and healing, instantly.


I’ve tried to write about it for two weeks. I’ve typed, backspaced, typed, backspaced. Words jumbled up. Couldn’t get them out in the way that I wanted.


Well, not everyone understands the roads we are on.

Some do. But, everyone?

No, not really.

Writing about loss and vulnerability is sooooooooooo hard. It’s somewhat edgy. Talk about it a little and it’s acceptable. Talk about it a lot and it’s ‘you’re grieving too much.’

Vulnerability is like a coat that nobody wants to put on. A hundred and fifty degrees below zero and there’s a coat of vulnerability laying there? Forget it, I’ll freeze.

With vulnerabilities come shame. Being nine months into mom/parent loss, I can see why people don’t talk about losses.

Grief isn’t discussed much. Sure, people throw out lines of “take your time”, “everyone grieves in their own way”, “deal with it however you need to’ while at the same moment, there seems to be an invisible time limit on when someone’s grief is enough and they should just move on or that there’s some particular way to get through it.

Twice this week, I’ve felt judged about my mom loss. That I’m not doing it right or I’m taking too long. If I just move on, my holidays won’t be hard.

Grief with stipulations…

Writing about the last nine months has been a gift, a privilege, and a heartache all at once. I write because I know that I am not the only one dealing with loss.

My hope is that if someone somewhere reads my words, that maybe they’ll find a smidgen of comfort or something that makes them feel a tiny bit better.

You know?

Loss with stipulations?

It does not work for someone like me, who is in it.

Stipulations only add to an already overflowing plate.

And, hey, I get it.

People mean well. Nobody wants anybody to be sad. I’ve said similar things to people myself to try to help them feel better fast.

Now I see that it really doesn’t work. It probably just pushed them away…

Yesterday, I cried most of the day over feeling like my grief is taking too long and that I’m not doing it right,

Most. Of. The. Day.

It was prompted by the phrase: ‘ohhhhhhh, you’re not doing very well, are you?’


Very well compared to what? That started kicking up self doubt like you wouldn’t believe.

What I’m getting at here, is that being open about how momma loss feels is super tricky. Do I have to talk about it? Not really. Would grieving quietly be better? Safer? Perhaps.

Hmm… trade vulnerability for quiet healing?

Maybe I should…

On the other hand, look at this space that sharing my journey has created here!!!

It includes things like:

  • being able to share similar stories
  • real honest to goodness compassion showing up
  • a place to talk about sad days, sudden tears, and hard moments
  • connecting to others who are in loss too
  • learning from each other
  • stumbling around in how to write after being so open
  • being transparent and being met with kindness and support
  • opening doors to conversations about parent loss
  • peeling off layers of crusted up, protective hearts (including mine) to let some things out and in
  • lessons shared
  • hugs sent
  • tossing old stories of time schedules in grief to the curb
  • opening the heart for new ideas instead

I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing. Sharing. Because if I cry for a day, I cry for a day. The best I can tell, putting myself out there is making me stronger, too.

Thanks for being here and for reading.

Big hugs,


this photo is for SanDee


Her Holiday

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how I’ve got nothin’.

To write, that is.

Same today.

I know you all know that I had a catastrophic momma loss this year and have literally been one-step-at-a-timing through the days. I’ve gotta tell ya, this first Christmas season without her is rough.

I’m going to try something new: write a poem right this second and see if any words accumulate on the page. If not, this goes to Drafts. If so, we’ll see what it says.

Here goes:

Her Holiday by Jessica 12/18/22

‘Saturdays tick by

the calendar pages flipping so quickly that my eyes can barely keep up.

I saw her in March

it’s now December.

The wind blows days around like glittered snow in the afternoon sun, beautiful but fleeting.

Christmas approaches without her

heart aches

tears run

missing her like crazy.

She LOVED Christmas

had boxes of decorations, a brilliant tree, lights on outside things.

She adored Christmas shopping

the hand picking out of gifts for those she loved

even when a walker had to accompany her to the stores

nothing stood in her way at Christmas.

Seven days

is all that stands between

me and my first Christmas without her.

Ouch how that hurts.


but real.

I told her we’d miss her every day

I was correct

we do.‘


I find myself asking ‘who will read such a thing?’

I mean, sadness at Christmas? Come on!

Part of me wants to backspace it out like I’ve done on every post I’ve tried to write since the 9th.

Maybe this time I won’t. Maybe ‘poem right this second’ worked. Maybe my writing is unblocked. ❤️ Now that would be something!

Thank for reading.


an ornament my momma decorated my house with once


Birthday Love

Well, there’s about fifteen minutes left of this first birthday without my momma. It was a spotty-teary-day, with the biggest amount that came this morning.

This afternoon, we shopped for bowling shoes. Found a pair and two bowling ball bags, so that was nice. We had our Birthday Bowl-a-thon at two different bowling alleys. It was very fun.

Birthday dinner took us back to the restaurant I wrote about a couple of times in the past several months. One post was about crying at the table. The other was about crying and smiling when a Stevie Nicks song came on while there.

Tonight I did quite well at our table. That is, until an old beloved Christmas hymn came over the speakers.

The part of a song that got me all choked up this time?

“Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Cue the waterworks…

Gratitude of my day of birth:

  • that I had a momma who loved me
  • that even though today was hard, I made it
  • being with my son and husband
  • hearing from my dad and siblings
  • getting texts from friends
  • two delicious meals out in one day
  • candles, cupcakes, and party decor
  • nice people who bowled next to us
  • the five friends who remembered me on social media today
  • the pre-birthday blogging wishes I got- thank you
  • I appreciate all the birthday love

Thank you for reading.


our birthday cupcakes


In My Heart This Birthday

All the nostalgia of Iowa (my momma was born in a farmhouse near Ricketts, Iowa) and the date on the calendar have me thinking about a few things.

It’s now December and my birthday is approaching quickly. Since my momma passed at the end of March 2022, I have been pretty sad over my upcoming birthday.


The day itself has some big meanings.

She and dad were high school sweethearts. After dad graduated, he and his twin brother went to Texas on football scholarships. After she graduated the next year, her and her best friend hopped a bus to Colorado, got apartments, jobs, and stayed.

True love won out. A year later and my parents reunited in Iowa. One time she told me that at that time, they really wanted a baby. They got married and the baby came.

Guess who that was…


In December, the year they were wed, I made my appearance in an Iowa hospital. Mom used to tell the story about my name. They didn’t have a name picked out quite yet. Then, they chose Jessica and a nurse named Jessica thought it was after her.

Is that sweet or what?

Fast forward to my husband and I. Finally, after 5 years of infertility and baby loss, I was able to get and stay pregnant. My miracle baby was born a month early.

You’ll never believe what day it was!

My birthday!!!

I had been on bedrest for weeks and guess who came to take care of me so my husband could work?

My momma.

Her and dad were at the hospital when I was almost lost to high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. They sat in the waiting room with my husband, thinking I wasn’t going to make it, while I had an emergency c-section. And, they welcomed our beautiful baby an hour later.

And, do you know what my momma did? She showed up with a gorgeous chocolate birthday cake that the bakery made out to me and baby!

After a week in the hospital because of complications for me, we were finally released. I have never been so happy to go home. When we got there, she had the front porch all decorated up with ‘Welcome Home’ signs and a big teddy bear in the outside rocking chair.

She stayed and took care of us for two weeks. She did the meals, laundry, walked the dogs, and loved on the baby.

She rocked him in the recliner, danced with him to James Taylor in the living room, and even gave him his first bath. They were instantly bonded.

She spoiled us and we saw her during a bunch during the year/ years, but she showed up especially strong on our birthdays.We’d always get a birthday box in the mail from her and dad.

Last year she asked me what was something I needed for the kitchen that he and I could use together. I suggested mixing bowls and measuring cups. A set of beautiful Pioneer Woman mixing bowls and some measuring cups showed up at our door.

So…………….. I’ve been crying and sad for months over a birthday that hasn’t even happened yet because a big part of it is gone: she’s gone.

Her asking is gone. Her sending is gone. Her celebrating is gone. Ouch, that’s a bit hard to handle.

But, you know what?

A few nights I had this huge revelation:

Yes, the days of her sending us gifts are done, but, what if I got us gifts in honor of her? Like what if I picked out something to add to things she’s gotten us?

Because, here’s the thing. Trying to get through mom/ parent loss has a learning curve that you wouldn’t believe. (Unless you’ve been through it.) Mostly, it’s the ‘how’ in figuring out how to go on without them.

First holidays, regular days, birthdays, and just days in general can feel like huge mountains. And, quite honestly, they can feel a bit impossible. Back in March, I never thought I could do my birthday without my momma, but here I am putting one foot in front of the other.

Would my momma want us sad on our upcoming birthday, a day that meant so much to her and us?

Absolutely not.

She’d want us celebrating.

So, I ordered myself some Pioneer Woman measuring cups and bowls I think she’d like. and we’re also going out of town for the night for something fun to do.

In five days, probably through tears, I am going to celebrate two babies who were wanted so much, me and my son. She may not be here, but she’s definitely going to be in my heart this birthday.

Appreciate you reading.

Jessica Lyn

(I was named Lynn, after my dad’s twin brother. But, they changed my Lyn to one n.)

a bird feeder she loved


Some Laughs and More Tears

Grateful for:

  • siblings
  • my dad
  • nieces and nephews
  • my husband and son
  • an Iowa farm
  • a giant meal
  • 2 fuzzy dogs
  • a crumb patrolling cat
  • a giant hike
  • a chit chat next to a tree, under a sky of blue
  • music on a hill
  • tears that streamed several times
  • memories of days gone by
  • my momma’s carrot cake and jello dessert
  • feathers
  • geese calling
  • a sunset that spilled across the horizon like berries that tumble from a too full bowl
  • 2 friends reached out even hundreds of miles away
  • more tears
  • some laughs
  • some stories
  • more tears
  • hugs goodbye
  • gratitude expressed
  • more tears
  • more tears
  • more tears

The first Thanksgiving without my momma was exactly that: without my momma. I missed her like crazy. One big holiday down, in this year of firsts. My birthday and Christmas are left.

To those who offered kind words, thoughts, and hugs, I thank you.


sunset Thursday night


Sometimes distractions are a good thing. Since losing my momma this spring, the upcoming holidays have been like this flashing, looming billboard, off in the distance, but somewhat visible. It says:

“Hey you, in case you forget, Thanksgiving, your birthday, and Christmas 2022 will be without your momma.”

Perhaps it’s because everyone says all the firsts of the first year after loss are the hardest. I’m not sure who made that up, but so far it’s been spot on. So, for months, I’ve been sad over holidays that haven’t even happened yet. I doubt I’m the only one.

Remember that song- ‘Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go?’ I was thinking about it this morning.

If you’ve lost your grandparents like I have, hearing that song brings memories of childhood trips. I was in my 20’s when my first grandma passed and my 40’s when my second one passed.

My kiddo didn’t get a lot of years with his grandma (my momma) like I did with my grandmas. This will be his first Thanksgiving, birthday, and Christmas without her, too.

Distractions lately have been good. Clubs, bowling, art, new booth. Now here it is, two days before Thanksgiving. It’s a bit surreal, really.

In the beginning, people always said to me, “I can’t imagine” as in what it’s like to lose their mom. Sometimes, my big sister-ness in me wants to protect people from what it feels like because it is flat out heartache.

Other times I feel called to say what it’s like, because sometimes we don’t see the loss coming and sometimes they’re too young and sometimes we are not prepared and sometimes the shock stays around a long time and sometimes there are no manuals for this.

This Saturday, November 26, it will be 8 months since my momma passed away. My how I miss her every single day. The shock that it happened, comes and goes, and I still catch my breath when I realize she’s gone. Crying has lessened a bit, but it still happens a lot of days.

We’re going ‘over the river and through the woods’ on an 8 hour drive to have Thanksgiving with my dad and siblings. It’s going to be really hard to not hear my momma’s whistling and laughter that filled up 3 counties. She so loved the holidays.

If you are in similar shoes this holiday season, my heart goes out to you. Truly.

Distractions are good… until having to face what we don’t want to see. I may cry the entire meal on Thursday. And, that’s ok. She knew I was a heart on my sleeve cry baby and if it were somebody else’s empty seat, she would’ve handed me a Kleenex.

Hugs, if your holidays look or feel different, too.


I think these look like angel wings


Saying No Then Yes

For weeks, I’ve been trying to decide if I should do the Christmas craft show at a local church. Last year, I was sooooo excited to do it.

This year, something has been making me hesitate. I could not put my finger on it, but it was enough to make me want to pause.

So, just now, I made a decision.

Will I do the Christmas craft show????



Well, I just saw a post on FB by a fellow artist who was invited to set up her booth/table in a memory care type home. RIGHT when I saw that, I KNEW what I’m supposed to do!!!

I’m going to skip making a bunch of stuff to try and sell and instead, make them as gifts for my Aunt Esther and her friends at her assisted living home in Iowa.

She’s 103 and spent her life making and giving gifts to others. So, I’m going to do this for her.

Honestly, with this being the first holiday season without my momma, I’ve been pretty sad about the upcoming holidays. But, this idea? It brings joy to my heart.


  • gift giving
  • my Aunt Esther who will never expect a box full of gifts for her and all her resident friends
  • my momma who loved the holiday seasons

So, I’m going to use these:

vintage jewelry I’ll use

Plus these:

decoupage type papers I’ll use

Plus these:

trinket boxes I’ll use

All of those together will make some fun and unique gifts.

I think my momma would be pleased. She did like craft shows, of course, but she worked as a charge nurse in a nursing home for ten years. Her heart was with the elderly.

So here’s to saying no, then yes!!!

I’m going to start creating today!

Thanks for reading!



A Leap for Art

Today I took an art plunge. I set up my stuff in a local resale shop. I’ve never done anything like that before, so I was a bit nervous.

As soon as I started filling the shelves, I about fell over! One of my momma’s most favorite songs came on the radio in there! Followed by another one and another one. So, my gratitude today is about my momma and her love for music and that I’m proud of myself for not quitting art.


  • CCR’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain”
  • The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”
  • CCR’s “Suzy Q”
  • me, taking a leap for art
my booth filled up and welcome note from the shop owner
one of my signs
some pieces I made
mine are the shelves under the window

It felt good to actually get it set up. To give my art and myself a chance. Will it be successful? Already is, it’s out there. It never even would’ve been seen in my basement. So, that feels like a win.

Thanks for being here and for all the kind comments yesterday. Means a lot!