An Anniversary of Mourning

April 24 is the 25th anniversary of my mom's death. Most of you know she died at the very young age of 39 after a 3 year battle with cancer. There were many things about her as a person and a mother that are not praiseworthy. But there is also so much that she imparted in the 12 years she was my mom.

She fought hardship and loneliness to bring me into the world. A penniless single woman in the early 70s, with a tiny few friends who helped her along. I was born way too early - that must have been so scary to see this creature only 2 lbs and 5 ounces and know that she was in her care.

God's hand has been over me in so many ways. One was that I was healthy, though premature and so little. I would grow up always feeling behind my peers. But it was just that I was running 3 months late.

Mom's creativity was one of the areas that bonded us from the beginning. Her love of color and music and expression. I still remember some of the drawings and pictures she made, the swooping shapes and symbols she liked to use.

I think I have her hands. Sometimes when I look down, I get a glimpse of her. Mine are probably smaller than hers, but are shaped alike I think.

When I dream of her, I often think of her falling curtain of shiny, straight dark hair. It was so beautiful. And you know how little girls love hair! It was so sad when she had to cut her hair because of the cancer. We held onto the braids for years and years, curled in a drawer. Thick braids. Unlike my braids, which growing up were skinny, pale and blonde.

She loved to eat mangoes in the sunshine, a vestige of growing up in Florida. I remember her hands sticky with juice, handing me slices of the orange deliciousness.

She once cooked cow brains and wanted my sister and I to eat them. What?! That's crazy! I can't remember if we finally gave in or not. I will never do this to my kids. Unless we are under war rationing. Then all bets are off.

She had a huge smile that brought the sunshine out. Her dimples were amazing. She didn't have a childish face at all, so the dimples were disarming.

Somehow, my favorite memories of her are when she's in the sun.

One of my favorite baby pictures is of me, her sister (my aunt Debbie), me, and a Springer Spaniel, lounging on a blanket in the grass. Ah, those lazy moments were so perfect.

a note from mom in my baby book

I can't really believe that I've now been without her for 2/3s of my life. It is really different to lose your mom so early. Yet not so early that there wasn't a foundation of life put together with her in the picture. I know the ache will always be there, the motherless ache. As I grow older, I get such an urge to mother, to foster, to impart and foster life in others. I hope that her radiant qualities live on in me. That her love is still alive in this way.

I don't know if she were alive what our relationship would be like, except that it would be complicated, as all mother and daughter relationships are. It is complicated even though she is not here. I'm glad that one day, we will know each other truly, as the people God meant us to be, without all the corruption of sin riddling our relationship.

These are my thoughts on this anniversary. Her long dark hair. Her smile. Her hands. The sunshine.


Anonymous April 26, 2010 at 9:33 PM  


I don't know that I have the words to "comment". My heart is with you my friend, my arms are hugging you.

Love you,

Katie Dunlap April 26, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

Beautifully written, Tina. I love the pictures, too, and the note your mom wrote. Thanks so much for sharing this. Praying for you as you remember your sweet mom.

Alyson April 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM  

I can honestly say that your mom was a FOX! She really was so beautiful and even though I know your story and your struggles with your mother, I am so sorry that you had to lose her before she could know the woman that you are and that you became.

This was really beautiful and I am praying for you that today is not just a day of mourning but a day of celebration for your mother. Love you friend!

Juli April 27, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

Tina, this was beautiful. Thank you for sharing this and inviting us into this part of your life. Peace be with you as you remember, grieve, and celebrate.

john & ellen April 27, 2010 at 9:59 PM  

beautiful thoughts, tina. the pain and the delight all tangled up together and you carry on a legacy of what was best in your mother. oh what a joyful reunion awaits both of you some bright morning! many hugs, my friend. lov,e

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