Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesdays with Wanda

Mama says, “Take care of your sister.”


I have to be real with you…this week has been hard. Real hard.

Monday was my birthday. My first birthday without my mom.

The pain started Sunday night at an engagement party for my sister’s daughter, Courtney. I went to celebrate this wonderful time in her life. But as I sat there to eat, and tried to make conversation, something was missing…

someone was missing…

my Mom.

She would have been the life of the party! She was always walking around the room, making sure everyone had what they needed, and smiling ear to ear. She loved family get-togethers.

My heart ached as I saw my precious Dad sitting at a table without the love of his life. It just wasn’t right.

As we drove home, I couldn’t control the tears, or the aching in my heart. How did this happen? I still need my mom!

When I woke up Monday morning (my birthday), the ache just seemed to get worse. I knew I wasn’t going to get that early morning phone call from Mom. I knew I wouldn’t hear her sweet voice sing happy birthday. No card. No present. No hugs or kisses.

It just didn’t seem like my birthday without Mom. She’s the one that carried me for nine months and gave me my first birthday. She’s the one that made me Raggedy Anne and Barbie birthday cakes. She’s the one that always put thought into each gift she gave me. She was the one that would write “Happy Birthday, Traci” on the bathroom mirror with lipstick so I would see it when I first woke up in the morning. She loved celebrating birthdays. She loved celebrating me.

The void was definitely there on Monday morning. It stayed there for quite some time. Tears just sat on the edges of my eyelids. I would try not to blink and make them fall off.

But the day did get better.

I met my sister and two of my aunt’s (Mom’s sisters) for lunch.

They knew I would be hurting and they knew that I would need them. They are the closest thing to Mom that I have left.

And they promised.

Her sisters promised Mom to watch over her kids.

My sister promised Mom she would take care of me.

When Mom first found out she was sick with cancer, she went to lunch with her sisters. They gave her this cute little figurine.


It’s a figurine of two sisters holding hands on the beach.

It’s called, “Mama says, Take care of your sister.”

And boy, did Mom’s sisters take care of her!


This is Mom (in the pink) with her sisters. She also has a wonderful brother who loved her dearly too.

Mom’s sisters and brother were there for her every step of the way. There was nothing they didn’t do for her!

And there is no doubt in my heart, there is nothing they wouldn’t do for me!

Mom loved that little figurine, and immediately bought one for my sister, Cyndi, and me.


Mom knew we would need each other. She wanted us to have a reminder of that.

Here is what the card in the box said…


Do you see the heart?


Look closely…


There it is, tucked in between their hands.

Mom’s love is always with us.

We will carry her love on together. And we will take care of each other. (And our brother too!)

My sister demonstrated this on my birthday. She went above and beyond to make me feel loved.

I love you, Cyndi.

Here we are after lunch.

Birthday fun! 114

Here I am with my Aunt Pat and Aunt Tassy. (My precious Aunt Sue couldn’t make it, and we missed her.)


I know Mom was smiling up in heaven to see them “taking care” of me.

I ended my day with dinner and a movie with my husband. He was so tender and understanding toward me. He knows there is nothing he can say or do to make things better, but he is there for me. I love him more than he will ever know!

Though my birthday was a tough one, I am so thankful for my family and friends who have loved me and prayed for me through it all.

I am truly blessed!

(This is a weekly post that I am doing to honor my wonderful mother, Wanda, who passed away on September 22, 2009. It is a place for me to share precious memories of her…for myself, for you, and most importantly, for my children.)


  1. Ok, I'm crying. I will treasure that figurine forever!! And I love that we're holding hands with Mom's heart in our hands. That says it all. LOVE YOU!!

  2. This was a beautiful post ... your stories about your mom and your relationship with her always make me cry. Happy Belated Birthday.

  3. Happy Belated Birthday Traci. This was a beautiful post with lots of beautiful strong ladies in it and it made me cry. The figurine is so perfect. I am going to try and find one for my sister for Christmas. Missing Mom is a hard job isn't it. Everything is so fresh with each new first that happens since they passed. Prayers and love to you. ~Lanie

  4. Oh, sweetie.

    Let me tell you something that's been true for me since I lost my mom: the first year is hard, because you will face lots of special occasions, and they'll all be the first time you've been through that time without your mother. I'm so sorry about this; my heart aches for you.

    But i want to tell you something more hopeful: for me, my birthday was the worst. I told my husband that, while I knew that my birthday was a special day for everyone, there was only one other person on earth for whom that day was as special as it was for me--and that was my mom. So, as hard as that day was, let me offer you some encouragement: it will get better. You have made it through one of the very hardest times, and you are still standing.

    Thank you once again for sharing your precious mom's wisdom with all of us. And happy belated birthday, dear friend.


  5. Traci-My mom died the day before my birthday and many years later it is still hard. But the "firsts" are always the hardest. Some events are obvious and you can prepare, but sometimes the sadness will just come out of nowhere. The good news is that it does get easier by the grace of God, happy memories, and loving support. You have all three! and a hug from me as well :)

  6. I can hardly see to type. So many tears. I remember all the firsts without my mom in the world. I remember the piercing pain I felt and sometimes still feel, looking at my dad without my mom. He was suddenly so very vulnerable.
    You are doing just the right things Sweet One. Lean into the pain. Walk with Grief through these days...weeks. Don't numb or push Grief aside.
    I don't believe "time heals all wounds", It's been almost 4 years for me and what's happened is the piercing pain has eventually mixed with the sweetness of my memories of her and I've learned to live with it. Crying still, at the drop of a hat, but now that crying is's familiar. I usually breathe a prayer:

    "Father, pls tell Mom how very much I'm missing her today. And tell her I love her."

    You are a tender spot in my heart Sweet One and I'm holding you lovingly in prayer today...
    All Things Heart and Home

  7. Oh sweet Traci! I can feel your heart in this post. My heart breaks for you at this time. You are a strong young woman and I'm so thrilled to hear and see you have your family to take care of you. Yes, I'm sure your dear Mother is smiling that she has such loving caring family members taking care of her baby! When my Daddy passed away I was 46 years old and I was still his baby! That never changes.
    I'm sending you a great big hug, Dear One.
    Shelia ;)

  8. Bless your sweet heart. I know exactly how you feel. My birthday fell not quite a month after my oldest daughter died. Then Mother's Day was the next week. It was so very hard. But there were times--if I was very still--I could sense her presence. I'm so glad you have loving family to surround you now. And thanks for sharing the figurine. I have two living daughters who don't get along. They're each getting one of these figurines for Christmas--just as a gentle reminder.

  9. What a lovely post Traci....I'm so sorry you mama wasn't there on your birthday, but how wonderful that you can so beautifully articulate the blessing she was to you and her whole family. She was a special woman, I can tell, because she raised you :o)

  10. What a testament to your mom that she made sure you and your siblings were good friends and not just related; it's something I don't have but am trying to teach my own children. Blessings on you!

  11. Traci, the tears are flowing for me this morning as I read this. As I have told you before, I have also lost my precious mother, and the words you wrote ring so true in my heart as well. Yesterday I was struggling with the thoughts of upcoming holidays without my mom. I put on the "happy face" but inside there is such yearning for her.

    I will pray for you sweet girl as we travel this road without our inspiration, without our soul, without our best friend...without our mom.

    Lou Cinda

  12. Thank you so much for sharing. Just beautiful and what a blessing it is to have family who loves you so much. The figurine is so precious. I got teary eyed just reading your post.
    Peace and Grace to you and yours, Fine Linen

  13. My heart aches for you! What a beautiful figurine though!

    Thank you for sharing, its a needed reminder to me to make sure my husband's birthday is just a little more tender than usual this year, the first one without his mother.

  14. Traci, what a beautiful post about your mother's love. I so love the sister figurine. It is truly precious. You have been left with such a legacy of beautiful memories of your mother, and even though it hurts that she is not with you, I know your heart is full. Happy Birthday!!!! Hugs, Marty

  15. Traci,
    When I saw your upcoming birthday on FB, my heart was heavy for you. I woke up Monday with that same feeling, I wished you happy birthday on FB but I wanted to say more, I knew your day couldn't be as happy as it was supposed to be.Your mom reminds me of my mom, she makes my birthday and every other day special for us. I have to talk to my mom daily, or I feel like something is missing. A mom is the heart of the family.I can only imagine how much your heart aches for your mom, I pray for Gods comfort to help you each day. You are very lucky to have your sister to lean on because she knows how you feel better than anyone. I enjoy your Wednesday's blog about your sweet mama, you were very blessed to have such a wonderful mom. I always cry when I read both you and your sisters blog, you can feel how much you both loved her and how much she is missed. Your family is in my prayers.

  16. Oh made me cry all my makeup off! I understand more than you know! HUGS!

  17. Traci,
    First off Happy Belated Birthday!
    Secondly, after reading the first paragraph of this post, I just wanted to hug you. You are so very blessed to have a mama that was thinking of you and your sisters, and her sisters while she was still here. What a special lady she was.
    I love the willow tree figurines. They are simple, elegant and touch your heart.
    Hugs to you. Your mama will ALWAYS be in your heart and in your memories.

  18. Your post made me cry for you; and yet I know you were helped by writing all of that.....bless your heart. I know it must be so hard.....I lost my mom 16 years ago...way too early. I'm glad you can write about it now; it will be cathartic. And that little statue is simply adorable! I love it; I will look for a similar one, for someone I love! Thanks for sharing; I pray God will comfort you in your loss!


  19. Such sweet memories and spoken so eloquently. Bless you and your precious family. Hold on to each other tightly and your Mom will always be right there with you.
    You and your sister are just too cute. Happy late birthday.

  20. Traci,

    This was another warm and endearing post honoring your mother. It also says so much about you and the great capacity for love your heart can hold. I don't think you realize how much you are like your mother (from what you have written).

    I know it doesn't help, but having lost my mother, it does get easier. Not better...just easier.

    Happy Birthday, Traci!


  21. Oh Traci, I just wish I could take all that pain away. Your post was so sweet and made me cry. I am sending you a big hug. Happy Birthday. I am going to get that figurine for my two girls. Thank you!

  22. Happy (belated) Birthday my friend.

    Your post today, truly brought tears to my eye! Again, what an amazing an amazing Mom who TRULY displayed the example Christ longs for all of us to share.

    I LOVE your Wed. posts about your Mom. I so love the glimpse into your see your heart, and learn of the amazing LOVE you share.

    I'm continuing to lift you to our Father, as he is the great comforter.


  23. BIRTHDAY Blessings to you, Traci.
    My sympathies to you about not having your mom around for your special birthday. God comfort you. You are sure to miss your momma, but will relish in the example she so sweetly gave to her family.
    You are a better person for having a Christian Momma!
    I'm sure your heart will ache for a very long time.

  24. Traci, I read your post early this morning and couldn't find the words - not sure I have them now. My deepest sympathies. Today is my birthday and I woke up a bit depressed - for no particular reason. I then read your post. Then I started counting my blessings. I'm splitting my time between my home and my mom's - she has lymphoma but is doing really well. After reading your story, I knew how fortunate I am to have this time with her. We had a wonderful brunch, enjoyed each other's company, before I came home to be with Hubster.
    I'm glad you have your sisters and your aunts, tho it's not the same as your mother, I know. I just wanted to share with you how your post touched me and made me realize how truly blessed I am. Happy Birthday, fellow Scorpio.

  25. Traci, how sweet and tender this post is! You have a gift for expressing yourself and the emotion just flows through to us, the readers. I wish you a happy birthday (belated), and I know your mom is singing to you right now. May the sweet memories keep flowing to you and inspiring all of us to be better mothers and grandmothers. I know your mom was such a very special lady. Linda

  26. Whew...I had to stop reading that post because I was getting so choked up. I can't imagine not having my mom around. I'm sorry for your loss, but glad to hear you have the comfort of knowing your mom is with the Lord. God bless and happy birthday.

  27. Although you couldn't physically touch or see her, your mama was with you in the most special way. She left a part of her, that is YOU! It is so wonderful that you have a sister and aunts and uncle to help your through those firsts. My mom was the 'glue' in our family and once she was gone the light seemed to just go out, don't let that happen, keep those loved ones close. May God bless you and your family.

  28. Oh, my. This one made me shed tears and I'm more of a thinker than a feeler but I sat here reading it thinking of my own mom and my birthdays and can't imagine it! She's the reason anyone else remembers them (including my husband sometimes). Literally. So, I sit here crying for you, someone I've never met, b/c I can't begin to imagine your pain. But, I wish you a great birthday, too.

  29. I can barely type through my tears, I can not imagine what it must be like to loose your mother and not only does it hurt you but it hurts you to see others missing her. I have a Momma that sounds a lot like yours ( I know your thinking my Momma was way better that yours could ever be, because that is what I always think when someone says that to me) and I try never to take advantage of one moment with her. Keep her spirit alive that is the best gift you can give yourself and your children.

  30. I am so glad that they made your birthday special and I know your mom would be proud!!

  31. Thank you for sharing your heart and your hurts. Thank you for the gentle reminder to never forget to tell my mom how much she means to me and how thankful I am for her.

    Your mother must have been a wonderful mom to have raised a daughter with the love and respect you so obviously have in your heart.

    God bless you, my friend.

  32. Beautiful writing! Sounds like you have an amazing family!

  33. Traci, once again your post has touched my heart. You write so beautifully about your Mother. I can not even begin to imagine how hard this is on you and your family. But what a gift you give to them everytime you write about your sweet Mother on your blog. And gifts to us out here that you have never met personally. Everytime I read Wednesdays with Wanda I have to call my Mother and tell her how much I love her and apprecaite her. Thank you for these beautiful posts!

  34. Traci, First of all, may this year ahead enable you one of finding who you truly are - even more so than at any other time in your life, and may you understand how precious you are in your Father's eyes. My eyes are dripping, I >blinked< while reading this...over and over and over again.

    I know how you felt, 100%. What a blessing to have sisters and aunts to hold your hand through these feelings so tender. We are a funny family, I have no sisters but my mother had one. She and I are so much alike - we hold hands in our hearts. Even though we only live a short distance from one another, I believe there is not one day that goes by where we haven't lifted one another up, felt a touch from or thought of each other.

    Beautiful post, heartfelt - so much, by me. You are one precious girl. Woman. Daughter. Sister. Mommy. Friend. Child of The Almighty.

    Bless you.

  35. Traci,
    This post has me in tears. I can only imagine what you are going through. I am glad you have such a wonderful extended family and siblings to help you through this time. I hope you find peace in knowing your Mom is waiting for you in Heaven.

  36. Traci-I just found your blog today via Shanty Chic. I teared up all the way through this entry. I lost my mom suddenly, six years ago, when I was 23. Your own birthday certainly is hard. My sister, whom I am very close to, has an extremely hard day on her birthday. Hang on tight to your sister and your moms sisters. I am fortunate to have both as well. As time passes, things will get easier for you. I love that you dedicate one day a week on your blog to your mom! I have added you to my favorites!!

  37. what a beautiful, well written post,, you're very lucky to have your sister and your aunts. I love that figurine,, do you have any information where to buy them? Thanks

  38. Happy Birthday, Traci.
    I can only imagine how tough it must have been without your mom. Lucky you to have such a wonderful sister and 2 such loving aunts to take care of you!


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