Bon Voyage, Mom

I lost my mom yesterday. She’s been ill with cancer for almost 3 years so it was not a surprise but that doesn’t really make it any less difficult. I’ve never really talked about my mom or her health struggles on here, because I didn’t feel like it was my story to tell. But now that she’s gone I feel like it wouldn’t be right to NOT talk about her. She loved this blog, and I think my readers need to know a little bit about the magnificent woman I was lucky enough to call Mom.


My entire life I’ve always been the quintessential Daddy’s girl. As far back as I can remember, I always ran to him for comfort and saw my mother as the “bad guy”. She was the disciplinarian, the one who always said no and didn’t put up with me being a brat. When you’re a kid you don’t really understand those kinds of things, but as an adult I realized that she was just doing her job – molding me into a good person and productive member of society. That realization gives you an entirely different perspective.

We butted heads a lot, especially when I was a teenager, and seemed to always be able to push each others buttons. In retrospect, I think this is because we were a lot more alike than either of us would’ve cared to admit. Both stubborn, both prideful, neither of us lacking conviction. A lot of my other qualities can be credited to her as well… my independence, my love of the written word, my self confidence, my very liberal mindset, and my passion for the arts. Although anyone who has seen me try to sew a button onto a shirt knows that I most assuredly DID NOT inherit her gift for all things crafty. She made the most amazing quilts, she could paint, she could decorate… she could make beautiful things wherever she went with whatever materials you gave her. Her ability to find the beauty in anything was truly a gift. My mother was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known, and she always encouraged that quality in me, even if it meant being “weird”. She loved purple, and her nickname amongst all her quilting buddies was Purple Princess. She was a free thinker in every sense of the word, always with an open mind and big heart.


I think my mom only went to one horse show ever – standing outside in the heat and dirt wasn’t her thing – but she supported me in lots of other ways. She drove me and my friends to the barn after school every single day. She supported me after high school when I decided to delay college to move to the east coast to be a working student. She always bought whatever weird random horse thing was on my Christmas list. She absolutely loved seeing pictures of the horses and hearing updates and seeing ribbons. She was proud of me even when I wasn’t proud of myself. But at the same time, she didn’t just hand me anything… I had to work for it. I might have been the “poor kid” at the barn growing up, but for that I thank her tremendously. I learned what it means to really love something enough to work your ass off for it.

One of the earliest memories I have of my mom is her driving me home from swim practice in our very brown 1980’s era Honda Accord. She’d just gotten the newest B-52’s tape and had the windows cranked all the way down, blaring Love Shack and singing along at the top of her lungs. That was my mom. She did what she pleased and she was who she was, and if you didn’t like it – too bad. She taught me to believe in myself, to speak my mind, and to be my own advocate. She also never once told me that I was incapable of doing something. If I wanted to do it, no matter how far-reaching it sounded, she told me I could. I always felt like my mom believed in me 100% and would support me no matter what, as long as it made me happy. What a tremendous gift that is to a child, to always have that feeling.


I know that my mom went through a lot when she was first diagnosed as terminally ill. It was a shock to all of us. She was a tough lady, bossy as hell, incredibly strong-willed, and I just never imagined she’d be taken down at such a relatively young age by such a nasty disease. The diagnosis was hard on her and she went through a wide range of emotions before settling right where I always knew she would – courage. This is the virtue that I have always considered most important and maybe now I know why… I have always seen it in spades from both of my parents. She faced her illness with honor, with dignity, and with grace. Her strength was always and will always be an inspiration.

It’s easy to get mired down in the sadness. There is a big gaping hole in my heart that no one will ever hope to fill. No one can, and no one should. The hardest thing for me is to think that she won’t be there on the other end of the phone when I have my next inevitable life crisis. She won’t be there at Christmas to wrap nine million tiny presents in 9 million different ways. She won’t be there asking me if I’ve read the latest James Patterson book, or tried the new Mexican restaurant down the street.

But I really can’t be that sad, can I? In a way I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything at all, because so much of her is so deeply rooted in me. How incredibly lucky was I, to be able to call this amazing woman Mom? Lots of other people out there would have traded places with me in a heartbeat, and lots of other people didn’t get as much time with their mothers as I did. So I’ll let myself feel the sadness for a while, but then it’ll be time to crank those windows down and sing along to Love Shack once again.

The word “goodbye” doesn’t seem quite right to end this post… something about it just isn’t HER. Since she loved to travel, instead I’ll say Bon Voyage.


I’m sure many of you will ask if there’s anything you can do – there is. Call your mom today, if you’re lucky enough to still have her. Wear something purple. Roll down your windows and have a good sing along to Love Shack on your way home from work. Be weird, love yourself, and don’t take no for an answer. Be unapologetically YOU. And always, always give ’em hell. That’s how we honor her, and it means a lot more than flowers or condolences ever could.

75 thoughts on “Bon Voyage, Mom

  1. Thinking of you. Thanks for sharing your special mom with all of us. I love Love shack! Seriously an awesome song… Your mom played love shack… My mom jammed to scrubs… I was mortified in HS but think it’s hilarious now and respect that she showed me I can do whatever I want and everyone can deal as long as I’m happy doing me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh, tears for you. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I talked to my mom last night but I’m calling her again today. Moms who put up with horsie daughters are a special breed<3

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a beautiful tribute to your mom. My father passed away last year and we were so alike that people have often made the comment that he’s never gone as long as I’m here. I feel like this sentiment will ring true for your friends and family now that your mom is gone and you two were so similar. Sending you good thoughts today as you remember her.


  4. You’ve got it right. Both my parents are gone and I get it too.

    You are clearly on the healthy road towards the rest of your life.

    My best regards to you

    Martin Cohen


  5. This is a really lovely post and such a beautiful homage to your Mother. I feel very lucky that after many tumultuous years with my own Mother that we appreciate each other for the qualities you spoke of above. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lost my Mom april 1, 2014 and never go an hour without thinking of her. I still pick up the phone thinking i could call her and can’t. My dad is still a mess a year and half later. My mom was my world and my dad was the one who i didnt really connect with. But our relationship is better now.

    Hugs to you all in your family. If you need to vent or scream or cry do it. Remember to breathe.

    And rejoice in the fact that she is somewhere that the evils of cancer cannot reach her anymore. it is a horrific, terrible disease and one that took my mom from me as well.

    I am so sorry Amanda. Bon Voyage Amanda’s mom. You raised a good one who will carry on for you!


  7. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. It was evident that she was a very special lady and now we all know where much of your amazing-ness comes from. I know she’ll be cheering you and Henry on from up above dancing to love shack and wearing a purple, sparkly unicorn horn. I couldn’t find a purple shirt today, but I wore one that has some purple flowers on it. Thanks for sharing your special mom with us.

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  8. Wow Amanda! You and I were 2 lucky girls. It seems qour moms were very similar. I lost my mom to cancer almost 4 years ago. The hole in your heart will never shrink… Because she took that piece of your heart with her. But the pain lessens, and we move on. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, or wonder what her opinions would be on something… But in the end..l I know what she would have said or done. Stay tough, stay strong and hold tight to the amazing memories. At the end of the day, we have to remember that they are finally free from that crappy body. I always tell myself it was selfish for me to want her to stay in the state she was in. That’s how I deal with it. Lastly, I know how strong you are, but take this time to lean on all of those around you… It’s okay to cry, it’s ok to get pissed off and it’s okay to want to hit something (This can be Bobby’s job lol). Do what you gotta do to get through this but don’t go through it alone. CANCER SUCKS!!!


  9. Your Mom and I never met in person but we were Facebook buds. She introduced me to your blog by being so very proud of you. I was thinking of her ALL DAY Sunday and made my mind up to try to contact her Monday. Then I saw the post…now I know why she was on my mind. Bon Voyage is most certainly appropriate and I will wear something purple today. My Mom is long gone and I do understand the gaping hole. Even today, I think of a million things that I’d like to share with her and would LOVE to hear her laugh one more time. And I will, someday. Thanks for posting such a lovely and moving send off for Deb. You both rock.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such a beautiful tribute! Describes Deb perfectly. Thank you, Amanda, for sharing. I’m thankful that I got to see the Purple Princess one last time last week. Will miss her terribly. Wore my purple shirt yesterday in her honor. Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You have me in tears, Amanda, as I lost my mom as well earlier this year, and you’ve written such an amazing tribute to yours. Her spirit and creativity are clearly living on in you. If she was the Purple Princess, you will never be too old to be a Unicorn!


  12. What a beautifully and eloquently written piece on your special mom. I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss. Thank you for sharing part of your mom’s story with us.


  13. Oh Amanda, what a wonderful tribute to your mom.

    Being a mom, I can hope that I am a great mom and that my girls look to me like you look to your mom.

    I love how you know that you have your mom with you from all the awesome things she has instilled in you.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Remus and i rock the purple too. this saturday at my event he will have his purple ears on, his purple pad and my other purple sundries. and i will think of Amanda’s mom as we go cross country. (I will try to hum Love Shack if i remember to breathe!) Love Purple for sure and now have no excuse not to wear it!


  14. This is beautifully written and I think I would have gotten along smashingly with your mom – we could have done arts and crafts together. 🙂 It takes a truly amazing woman to raise another strong, independent woman.


  15. This is a really beautiful way to remember your mom, and it’s wonderful that you’re able to keep so much of her with you. I will don my purplest outfit and sing loudly shortly — as long as I can also sing Rock Lobster?


  16. gulp

    if this doesn’t make us all want to be better to our mothers, more thankful for our mothers I don’t know what will.

    So incredibly touched by this. If this is the tip of the iceberg that was your mother, she was truly an amazing woman.


  17. Amanda, such a wonderful tribute!! She will always live on in you!! Whatever kind of day you will have and however the next chapter of your life plays out she will always find a way to watch over you!!


  18. That was stunning. I am so sorry for your loss, she seemed like an awesome person, and you look so much like her in that first picture! Stay strong the next few days. Thinking of you.


  19. My deepest sympathies. This news on the heels of your adulthood post…you are totally an adult now and yet (if you are like me when my Dad passed) have never felt more like a child.
    I will proudly wear purple in honor of the woman that made the gal who makes me laugh out loud.


  20. What an absolutely lovely tribute to your Mom. I am so heartbroken for you and send you and your family my prayers and deepest condolences. I lost both my parents years ago and still think of them each and every day, wanting to call and tell them some thing or other. My father gifted me a deep love for music and there is a favorite song of mine that reminds me of them with this lyric that comforts me. “No one leaves you when they live in your heart and mind.”. It brings tears to my mind and an ache to my heart every single time but it is lovely in its truth. Again, my prayers and condolences to you and your family.


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