by Cheryl Jackson Wednesday November 12, 2008

My mom died when I was 22. I wasn't a child, but I still needed her. She was not with me when I graduated from university, or when I had my children. Thank goodness I'd already spent three years with the man I love, and I could tell her that we would spend our lives together. My mom comes to me in my dreams now, just to visit and check in.

For someone like me who has lost a mother to cancer, The Mummy Diaries is difficult to watch. I can physically feel the body-numbing terror that overcomes the children when they hear bad news or contemplate the future.

The three part series airing on TVO tells the stories of five families who are dealing with a mother's cancer. With the help of a psychologist, the children learn to identify their feelings and find ways to manage. And the moms do the most amazing thing - they spend their last weeks and months making memory boxes for their children. They fill them with momentos and thoughts about their lives together. They offer advice for them as they grow older. They make audio tapes. And they do all of it with much love and humour. This is how they want to be remembered.

I wish I'd thought about all of this before my mom died. What I wouldn't give to hear the sound of her voice again on tape.  I forget her voice. I wish I had a jar of her face cream, so I could smell her. Or a home movie, so I could watch the way she walked across a room.

The Mummy Diaries has made me think about what my children would remember about me if I died. What have I left them? What would help them feel less alone? Always loved? And should I be preparing a memory box now, even though I plan to live to 100?

I'm going to ask these questions after the first episode airs on Sunday, November 18, on our Your Voice live web chat. We've invited four experts to talk to us about children's grief. I hope you'll join us.