Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Mother, Grandmother, Friend

Dear Friends,

If you have been reading here, you may know that my mother-in-law, Donna, has been ill with cancer. She was home briefly, under the loving care of her children, her husband, her many friends and her medical team. On the evening of December 5, however, she returned to the hospital in an ambulance, experiencing the very worst of the chemotherapy side effects and ultimately, the aggressive cancer. Thursday was not a good day for her, but Friday was better. Her pain was being well-managed. Saturday, her medical team ran many tests. In the early hours of Sunday, December 9, she died and is forever lost to us.

gorgeous family
her birthday boy
family resemblence
72 and 13, nana and granddaughter
Nana, 74 and Adam, 13 - carrot farmers #unschooling #organicgarden
Alex and Mom

The sudden loss, the sheer speed of the progression of her illness has been a shock to all of us. It was only late August that we all learned of the cancer. This woman, this mother, grandmother, friend, was strong, both in will and in body. She was 74 years old and was not on any medications--think on that. She was muscular and fit. She had intimidating biceps. She subsistence gardened, cut wood, maintained a homestead. She had a gorgeous smile and shining eyes that shone with wit and humor. She was private and contained in the way that many of her generation and geography are, but she was warm and loving, also. She was a partner to John for 45 years. She was a mother to me when I had none. She was our center. Her home was where we gathered. She was the keeper of memories and connections. Not one of us imagined she'd be gone so early.

Mom and Dad
nana and the corn pot
a walk in the woods
what's this?
proud parents
her best tomato

I admired so much her strength, her willingness to lend a hand, her desire for knowledge and her caring nature. I thank her for dancing with my children, for her kindness, for sharing her wisdom, for believing in and loving her own children so fiercely that she shaped them into the astoundingly intelligent, kind, humans they both are today. Most of all, thank you for loving us and keeping us in your hearts always, as you will remain in ours always.


  1. My thoughts and condolences to you and your family. May her memory be a blessing for many more generations.

  2. You write about her and her life and friendship so beautifully. I'm sorry for the depth of your loss and this new part of your life without her presence.

  3. thinking of you & your whole family.
    may connection, love, memory, laughter and strength hold you.x

  4. So sorry to hear about your loss. She sounds like a beautiful person. The pictures you posted are so lovely! Our family has also lost two of our very closest this holiday season, a favorite uncle and a dear, much-loved grandmother. So I can relate to what you are all feeling this holiday season. Love and light, Melissa

  5. beautiful memorial to donna. she sounds like a woman i could admire. i'm thinking of your family amy, and sending my love.

  6. What a beautiful summary of an experience filled with sadness and wonder, disbelief and reverence. I lost my mother-in-law 10-years ago this coming week to cancer. My husband, like yours, juggled many balls to make sure he was there for and with his mom; good men are amazing treasures, no? After that experience I became a volunteer with hospice, and then accompanied my own mother and father in their deaths. To me, every death is a miracle--though an inevitable one--because of what it reveals about and to each of us. I wish you and yours time to remember, cry, laugh, and repeat until "every day" life reclaims you.

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss.. She sounds like an amazing woman.



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