What comes next when the ending isn’t happy?

Everything I love about happy endings is represented in the following brief montage of “cheating death” moments from a few of my favorite movies.

It’s about ET, whose heart light went out, but was (immediately) rekindled by the love of the boy…


How a 4th grade science project taught me to write about the moon.

October 1, 2010 | 3:30 pm | Last Quarter Phase

My daughter arrives home from school with a slim notebook covered with photos that represent the night — owls, a gibbous moon cut from white paper, a…


THIS IS US

When my daughter died, I phased out of your reality

Part one: The many ways I’m separate

Sometimes I almost forget that I’m not in the same place as you. This took me a few years to master and (let’s face it) I can never truly forget that I’m in a different dimension. …


This Is Us

On having faith, and giving permission to let go

Illustration of a large bird spreading its wings. Light blue, yellow, and brown lines (with the dark blue background showing through) form ornate patterns on its feathers. Behind it float blue circles of various sizes that look like doilies.

“How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again.”
— Henry Scott Holland

Dear Mom,

The light is different here. If you saw how this place shines, I think you’d stop worrying about me. The light connects the landscape to every part of itself. It moves…


According to the American Cancer Society, about 600 adolescents, aged 15 to 19, die from cancer each year.

In 2017, my daughter, Ana, was one of them.

Ana was sick for four and a half years. During most of that time, even as her cancer progressed, I didn’t think that…


Public high school school is hard, especially for kids with cancer.

Entries of “The Ana Diaries” are pulled from the many essays and blog posts I wrote about my daughter, Ana, during the (nearly) 5 years she lived with cancer from age 11 through 15. I’m resurfacing some of these…


My Facebook feed probably doesn’t look like yours. Even by the loosest definition of the phrase “insulated bubble,” my feed is a bit unusual. I have the typical connections — a mix of friends, family, and acquaintances, but I’m also connected to dozens of bereaved parents.

I also belong to…


In the early days after Ana died, I didn’t see her anywhere, so I held onto my grief as tightly as possible. …


Come walk with me and look at mushrooms in the forest.

I love taking walks along the wooded trails near my home in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley. There’s something soul-nourishing about forest bathing, the practice of immersing yourself in the forest and slowing down. …


After this year, September will just be September.

On her first day as a high school senior, my daughter wore a thrifted denim skirt with a black blouse. …

Jacqueline Dooley

Occasional poet. Writer of sad essays. Novelist. Birder and amateur photographer. I enjoy trees.

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