A Life Well Lived

I’m writing with a heavy heart to let you know that my mom passed away yesterday morning. My dad was by her side, holding her hand.

How do I feel? Pretty numb. It’s hard to believe that I’m not going to see her again in a month or two. I mean, she’s my mom. She’s always been there. She should always be there.


I’m glad she’s not suffering any more, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated that she never got to meet my little girl.

But like the bib says, her heart belongs to grandma, even though they never met in person.

And it kills me that I wasn’t able to be by her side in her final days. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that I wouldn’t be with her. But my dad said that she was ready and not scared, so I will have to take comfort in that.

To the very last, she kept her sense of humor. The other day she told my aunt that she wanted us to throw a fucking-ass great party. Only she transposed it and accidentally said “an ass-fucking party.”

My mom was many things: go-getter, cat lover, collector of tsotchkes, wife, mother, daughter, sister, potty mouth, pedicure enthusiast, sincere, perpetually right, girly-girl, straight shooter, loyal as they come, beautiful, honest, computer genius, skier, heath nut, partier, lover of bad chardonnay, the best dressed woman on the east coast, full of life, an open book, a fighter, my biggest fan.

You can’t quantify a life, of course. But all of that adds up to one seriously amazing person. And a life well lived.

So what do we do now? We do the only thing we can do. Throw an ass-fucking great party. And celebrate her very wonderful life.

Peg and Chuck 39 years ago. What a dish she was, feathered hat and all!
Mom and my bro at her 60th birthday celebration.

35 thoughts on “A Life Well Lived

  1. I lost my mom to a 23-year battle with cancer 3 years ago. I understand your pain, and the bond you had with your mom. Here’s a cool lil secret: they actually never really “leave” you…they simply transition, and their spirits remain with you always. Look for signs…and feel her in every moment. She will never be far away from you or your baby. I’ll tell my mom to go say hello to yours πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m so, so sorry Tanya. You’ve written about her so beautifully that I feel like I knew her. And just think – your little angel now has a perfect guardian angel. xoxo

  3. What a beautiful tribute, Tanya. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.



    Sent from my iPad

  4. I read this with both tears and laughter, and I think your mom would have wanted it that way. I love that you have made art about your mom’s death already. When my dad died we made fountains, beautiful photo collages, and a whole soundtrack of mixed CDs for his wake. It felt so good to make art as a tribute to him. I hope you keep doing it – I will never tire of hearing Peggy stories! I leave you with my favorite Celtic prayer, which I’m praying from the bottom of my heart to you:
    Deep peace of the running wave to you.
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
    Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

  5. Beautiful, Tanya. You captured her perfectly. As Anna said, she’s never really gone. I will feel her with us always.



  6. Your mom looks fabulous from the pictures stories and, knowing you, surely was even more so in life. It seems you have a world of good memories together. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. We have never met, but still I cried when I read your post. I have been thinking of you and your mother and your daughter so much. What an amazing bond we share with both, right? I loved your letter to your mom (which I hope she got to read) about her being the first love of your life. That’s how I felt about my mom, too (who died 11 years ago) and now how I feel about my little one. Great joy and great sadness share common properties…wishing you peace.

  8. Your Mom will always be with you, trust me πŸ˜‰ Thank you for sharing that piece about the ass-fucking party… definitely threw a giggle between the tears for you. I love you, T. Only an amazing woman and mother could’ve made another amazing woman and mother (don’t forget that). Hugs.

  9. Tanya, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your last few posts have really touched me. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman, and I’m willing to bet her spirit has passed on to that beautiful little girl of yours. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. So sorry for your loss, Tanya. I’m grateful to have reconnected with my dear cousin Peggy over the past few years and her brother Greg and especially to have met you. I fondly remember that great dinner we had in NYC and was so happy you and your mom took the time and effort to come see me and my Charlie. Peggy was beautiful and fun-loving, kind and loving. Just a bright spark. RIP cousin Peg.

  11. Colette has two beautiful parents to watch over her here and now a fantastic grandmother to keep to watch over her from above. She will absolutely be with you and Colette always. Thank you for finding the strength to write this. Your a great woman who manages to find perspective and humor in the worst of times. Take care of yourself and My prayers are with your family.

  12. I am so sorry for you Tanya. Your mom was all of those things you wrote about. She was truely a woman who lived life to it’s fullest. She gave ME hope and encouragement to get through the toughest and darkest moment of my life. What a special gift she gave me! I know she will be looking down on you and Colette. Love you:) Heda f-in Moya- as your mom LOVED to call me!

  13. A poem by Raymond Carver:

    The Good Life

    And did you get what you wanted from this life even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved,
    To feel myself beloved on the earth

  14. I’m devastated for you. She sounds like a great lady — and also like a great influence on you. So sorry she never got to meet your daughter. My son never got to meet my dad but I often see my dad’s expressions in his little face! It’s amazing. Circle of Life and all, I guess.
    Hugs and hugs and hugs to you, my dear. My heart goes out to you.

  15. So sad and sorry to learn of your Mom’s passing. Loved her craziness and sweetness – she was a special person. Your tribute to her is beautiful. Always keep her spirit alive by sharing your wonderful memories with your daughter. Take care.

  16. Hi lovely, I went and read your about section and realised there is a whole part of your blog I’ve never seen or known so I went on the hunt to read a bit about your mum, Peggy (incidentally also my Nanna’s name I adored who is no longer with us). I love this post. You have done her great justice in your descriptions. I can truly imagine the person she was. Just seeing that photo at the top I can see she was a super fun bright enthusiastic woman. I am so sorry you had to experience this loss at a time in life when you should have been able to experience only joy. I cannot imagine what that must have been like for you as we rely on our mums so much when we become mums ourselves. Sending lots of warm thoughts to you on this one. xx

    1. Aw, thank you so much! I love that you read this. No one reads this dusty post anymore, but the fact you read and commented made me decide to go back and re-read it. Which made me feel a little closer to my mom today! Such a nice feeling. πŸ™‚

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