One sleepless night when illustrator Hallie Bateman was in her early twenties, she realized with dread that someday her mother would die. The prospect was devastating, and also scary—how would she navigate the world without the person who gave her life?

The next day, Hallie asked her mother, writer Suzy Hopkins, to record step- by-step instructions to follow in the event of her death. The list began, “Pour yourself a stiff glass of whiskey and make some fajitas,” and continued from there, walking Hallie through the days, months, and years of the rest of her life with all the motherly advice, along with recipes and checklists, a daughter might need to help her through the challenges to come, including the ordeal of losing a parent. The project became a way for mother and daughter to connect with humor, honesty, and gratitude. 

Here is a heartfelt excerpt for getting through life without one’s mom. 

Combining Suzy’s wit and heartfelt advice with Hallie’s quirky and colorful style, What to Do When I’m Gone (Bloomsbury) is the illustrated instruction manual for getting through life without one’s mom. It’s also a poignant look at loss, love, and taking things one moment at a time. A whimsical, funny, touching, and above all pragmatic guide, it will spur conversations that enrich family members’ understanding of one another. 

An excerpt below:

(Used with permission)