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I am My Mother’s Daughter

April 14, 2011

Tomorrow marks the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death. Many of you reading this may have known my mother and can attest to the fact she was an incredible mother, friend, wife and human being. She was non-judgemental like no one I have ever met. I was truly fortunate to be given a mother who supported her children in everything they did, and loved them unconditionally.  Even in her older age, she never lost sight of the magical beauty of the world. Weeks before her death, she and my husband were on a late night ride from the airport in Vermont in a snowstorm. The tree branches laden with snow were hanging over the road. In front of them, several deer slowly crossed the road. They stopped the car and watched in wonder. She told me this beautiful story, and how she would never forget what a magical ride it was. Soon after this, she passed away.

For the first year after her death, I could not pick up my camera and could find no creative bone in my body. My creativity had run dry from the sadness of her death, the absence of her in my life, the strain of taking on the job as one of the personal representatives of her estate, all the while dealing with every day life. At that time in the months following her death, I did not even begin to mourn her passing. In other cultures, and in ours in years gone by, family members took time out of their daily routine for days, weeks or months to mourn the passing of a loved one. I did not do this. I kept chugging along with the daily tasks of work, caring for my children, house, animals, and working to try keep some semblance of peace in what was becoming a difficult task of estate resolution.

A year and a few months after my mother’s death, I started working with a counselor with the hopes of regaining some of my creativity, preparing for my oldest to leave for college, figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and maybe in this process, start to do the grieving for my mother that up until this point, I had not done.   Little by little, the flood gates started to open, and little by little I had the urge to pull my camera out of the closet and dust it off. I had forgotten the joy I gained from taking photos. Soon after this, I signed up for a class which included self-exploration through photography and writing. I found that often my assignments, no matter where they started, ended with my coming back to my mother. I wrote alot about what it was like growing up with her, special things we did, shared and experienced together. I took photos of favorite things. Many of these photos included things she had given me or things that had belonged to her.  I began to start to feel joy and gratefulness on a more regular basis and felt less sad and lost. The process of taking care of her estate has not been an easy task but with sharing the responsibility with one of my dear brothers, and always trying to make decisions I feel are what my mother would have wanted, I sense this is one of the final acts I can perform in her honor, and I am thankful I have had this opportunity.

After peeling back many layers of myself to figure out where I go from here, with children flying the nest, being motherless, and wanting to create a life that is rich and full of things I love to do and people I love to spend time with, I have found that I keep going back to things I have learned from my mother. Through photography, writing, and sharing my stories with trusted friends and family, finally at this 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death, I am ready to celebrate her life.

Tomorrow will be a hard day as for the first time, this year, I think I am actually able to feel the true weight of her being gone. I will give myself permission to cry if I need to but I will also celebrate her and her life during the day. I will celebrate the amazing woman and mother who I was so fortunate to be able to call mine. Because when the day is done, I have everything I need to move forward with my life and make it as full and magical as possible, even if she is no longer here. As I am My Mother’s daughter, after all…..

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would love to hear from any of you who may have thoughts to share about this post, or about struggles you may have had or are having in dealing with the death of a loved one. Please feel free to comment below or if you would prefer, shoot me an email @ I would truly love to hear from you.  If you would like to follow along with my blog, please add your email in the space provided on the upper right.



12 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea permalink
    April 14, 2011 12:57 am


    Yes, you are most definitely your Mother’s daughter. I was fortunate to know the wonderful, caring woman she was and through you, she shines on.. A very wonderful compliment to you. Hugs and love to you as you celebrate her life tomorrow in whatever manner works for you.


  2. phgordon permalink
    April 14, 2011 1:23 am

    Well said.

  3. Sandy permalink
    April 14, 2011 4:06 am

    So wonderfully said Nan, your mom was such a beautiful person inside and out and you were very fortunate to have her as your mom and her to have you as her daughter. I will be thinking of you tomorrow

  4. Mary permalink
    April 14, 2011 9:11 am

    I’m so glad I got to hear the story about Casey and your mom in the snow in person before reading it. It’s such a beautiful story and memory.

    Unfortunately, I, too, an encumbered by the death of a mother. My mother died just after Thanksgiving, when I was just 22. While November is always a little dark and the day she died cannot sneak by me, I find so many ways to celebrate her — 28years later. When we were growing up, we always ate fiddle heads on Mother’s Day. To this day, that’s how I celebrate Mother’s Day. Though I am not a mother, and I don’t have a mother, I always celebrate Mother’s Day by steaming up a batch of fiddleheads and I think of her. And thank her too.

    I have always said to my friends that the only “status” in your life that will not change is your status as a parent. You may not always be a sister, daughter, aunt or wife. What you will always be is a mother. When you are 60 and your daughters are in their late 20s, they will call you for guidance, wisdom, etc. When you are 70 and your daughters have their own children, they will call you for guidance, wisdom, etc. You will always be a mother.

    Life is precious. Mothers are precious. You are precious.

    • April 14, 2011 11:42 am

      Mary, thank you for sharing your story of your mother. What a beautiful way to celebrate her by steaming up some traditional fiddleheads on Mother’s Day!

  5. April 14, 2011 11:01 am

    Thank you for all your heartfelt thoughts….xoxo

  6. Meg permalink
    April 14, 2011 11:43 am

    Lovely remembrance and sharing.

  7. Anne Stuer permalink
    April 14, 2011 12:41 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Nanette! I wish I had known her… thank you for sharing these wonderful memories.

  8. Jill Gordon permalink
    April 14, 2011 3:01 pm

    I loved and miss you mom! She was loving and caring, kind and gentle, and smart like a fox. A beautiful woman who would absolutely glow when holding my children. (Ok, all children, but I have picture proof with mine.) The only person I know who can make heaven a better place.

  9. April 18, 2011 9:05 am

    This is beautiful, my love! xo

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