Dear Mom,

I've been resistant to sitting down and writing this letter to you because I know there is no way I can possibly capture in written words how I truly feel about you. Also, because I think writing this means that I have to say goodbye for the last time.

I know that many times you wanted this to just be over for our sake, but speaking for Barb, it was a privilege and an honor to be able to care for you on the final leg of your journey these past 14 months. As Barb has said many times, we both knew that if the situation had been reversed you would have done the same for either of us -- without hesitation or complaint.

It would be hard to describe just how much you went through during the past year; the multiple surgeries, the radiation, the chemotherapy, the endless pills, the IVs, the physical therapy and the many months of being bedridden and too weak to do much more than turn your head and lift your arms. But, through it all you maintained your dignity, your sense of destiny and your unfailing sense of humor. I never once saw you cry or wallow in self-pity. Even when the doctors delivered the worst possible news a person can receive, you accepted the hand you had been dealt and played your cards the very best that you could. You always seemed mindful that you were being watched by so many who were practicing with you for the inevitable day when we each take our turn in your place.

And so today I say goodbye my sweet mama, my biggest fan and most faithful supporter. I would give everything to hear you say once again the most beautiful words you whispered to me every morning until you could no longer speak:

"Hi, sweet lamb."

We will always love you and carry you in our hearts.

All my love,



Note: My friend Dan read this for me at Mom's funeral.

Niece Macee (3 mo.) and great great gpa Leo (94)

Today, my grandfather Leo suffered one of the worst experiences any parent can have -- saying goodbye to one of your children who passes before you do. It was physically painful to watch him suffer with grief.

After my mother's memorial service, he and my nephew Josh's brand new baby girl (Leo's great great granddaughter) had a bonding session that was one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed. It was as if my mother's vibrant spirit temporarily inhabited infant Macee's tiny figure and in an ever so brief session of affection and tenderness, brought peace and comfort to his aching heart.

My mother passed before she was able to meet Macee (her great granddaughter) who was battling for her life in the NICU while at the same time my mother was fighting for hers in the hospital with pneumonia in June.

Fortunately, Jessica captured this perfect picture of them -- two precious souls on the opposite ends of life's timeline sharing an irreplaceable moment that almost certainly will not and cannot ever be repeated.