I didn’t know when I wrote my first entry that this blog would soon become the cornerstone of my grief process.  After my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma in July 2010, my world was fundamentally changed.  I am an oncology nurse, and felt completely inadequate and helpless during her illness. I couldn’t save my mother, but I could write.  So I did. 

She passed away in late 2011.  I’m still trying to find my way in this new life without her.  And I’m still writing.

This blog is mostly about grief.  If you have read this far, you are probably doing some grieving of your own, and I wish you healing and health in your own journey.   May we be like the river, flexible and adaptable in all that life brings us, born anew in our challenges and opportunities.

Thanks for visiting! 




50 thoughts on “About

  1. playeatsleeprepeat

    I didn’t know your mom, but i knew one of her best friends and I ended up here because I saw a picture of your mom on my friend’s facebook page. Too many coincidences—not accidents—brought me to your blog. I went to your mom’s caring bridge site to see how she was doing as my father had survived the same exact cancer later to die falling down some icy steps in Minnesota two years ago…I felt like I had just gotten him back, then I spent 10 days watching him die. (He was interned on Jan 6, 2010, more irony). My friend who was one of your mom’s best friends was my best friend’s big sister. She died 12 years ago of breast cancer and I miss her so intensely—she looks so much like her big sister—that I often visit her sister’s (your mom’s friend) facebook page just to look at her photos and imagine what my friend would have looked like if she was still with us. She and her sister were nearly identical looks wise, though much different in other ways. More irony….I lived in Tucson for 10 years, earned my masters in journalism at UA. And left not long after I lost two people I loved very much there. My niece, who incidentally was also born in Minnesota, was hit by a car crossing Tanque Verde one night. And another Minnesota transplant, my friend Barb, a professor at the Nursing School at the UA, was killed in her classroom by a gulf war vet. I am also a writer and a cyclists. And I just want to tell you that your writing is absolutely beautiful, thoughtful and well-crafted. I can tell your mother’s spirit is soaring toward the light. And you can be sure, she will be with you. Always.
    I would love to subscribe but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it…..

  2. themotherside

    Wow, I saw you looked at my latest post and I was interested in who you may be. I immediately thought I was looking at myself in your thoughts about your mother. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been so lost and confused over the last year and you have given me hope. I also have a The Motherside page on Facebook and would love it if you looked it up and “liked” it if you are on FB. It is a page focused on, but not 100% limited to, to the Mother/Daughter relationship and specifically dedicated to my mother. I am finding some sense of purpose in blogging and managing this FB page when nothing else seems to make sense. I really do not know how I will make it without her and again I thank you for giving me a tiny glimmer of light in this darkness I am experiencing.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      Thanks for sharing your words with me. I’m glad you found some hope… perhaps one of the only good things about losing our Moms is we have lots of company 🙂

    2. Cait's Pace

      I share this walk of life we call grief with you, although my grief is not for my mother, but rather it’s for my husband and son. My mother passed away 24 years ago from emphysema. I still miss her, and I wish she took better care of herself. My husband was killed in action in Iraq 6+ years ago and my son committed suicide 4+ years ago. I am now left with just my daughter, her husband, and their 3 kids. That alone is such a blessing to me. I was able to be married to a great guy for 27 years and I had a great son for 23. So I consider my life pretty darn good considering what I’ve lost. It could be a lot worse. I’m just thankful for what I have. My mom was awesome, and I’ll miss her until the day I die. My husband was my life and my son was my heart. I’ve loved much, and I’ve grieved much. What I had was awesome, but my life now is getting better every day!

  3. Fashion101

    thanks for dropping by my blog. I also had a parent who died from cancer and the yoga kept me sane and continues to give me such a strong sense of perspective 24/7 and keeps me in touch with how important it is to treasure my body to keep me living. keep strong!

  4. kittymlh

    Thank you so much for stopping by Providencefirestorm. I am so sorry about the loss of your mother. I lost mine many many years ago and still can smell her wonderful perfume and hear her sweet voice. You write about your story beautifully. BLess you on your journey of recovery.

  5. Chatter Master

    Thank you for reading my blog, and liking it, and leading me back to here. I am appreciating your work, your emotions, your writing. And I am reading more. Living, it is certainly a continuing process of learning, experiencing and dealing, isn’t it?

  6. Amy H.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I lost my mom this past summer to breast cancer and it’s just brutal … my thoughts are with you. ❤

  7. sahityalikhna

    What an inspiration you are. Thank you for visiting and following my blog as well. Hope to see more of you and from you.

  8. rococonnor

    Thanks for your blog! I know the journey – it’s sorrow and beauty, extreme pain and extraordinary spiritual healing … your blog is lovely – and thanks to finally_write for putting me onto it! x

  9. Kathy

    Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I am a medical writer. I knew when I heard the words “Mom has pancreatic cancer” that it was the beginning of the end. My brother, knowing little about cancer, thought this was just a big bump in the road, that my mom would survive. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss, that is until you learn the real truth. Like you, I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do for my mom, no way to save her. So I just spent as much time with her as I could. I lost my mom on Nov 16, 2008, and started a blog 3 weeks later on my husband’s domain, eventually moving it to WordPress. Writing has been my way of grieving and healing, and hopefully helping others who are on the same journey as I am. I wish you all the best, and know that you are not alone. Take care.

  10. JC

    I started my blog as a therapeutic tool to express my feelings as as my mom and I grappled with her dementia and all-of-a-sudden declining health toward the end of last year. Like you, my blog took on another voice as I now use it to work through my grief and loss process following her passing in February. Thank you for reading my blog and allowing me to discover yours.

  11. Loni Found Herself

    I’m so, so very sorry for your loss. I remember so little about my mother – her voice is gone to me, her smell, her mannerisms. I wish I had something like this, though I’m now trying to recapture some in my own blog. Thank you for sharing. XO and big hugs.

  12. Veggie Kate

    Katy, I’m a SO glad you happened to have found my blog, so that I was able to come and see yours!! You have a beautiful writing style in the few posts I looked at so far, and your reminders to look at blessings are so needed in life. That is something I have been working on myself – even when life is “good” I forget to notice it – to turn off the “auto pilot” and wake up to the glory in our every day lives. To live, instead of just exist. Thank you for the reminder 🙂

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  14. blessedbebeth - Middlescapes.com

    Hi there. My apologies for creating additional work for you but I nominated you for the super sweet blog award. I could not let the inspiration you provide go by without letting you know how great I think you are. you will find it on room by room the latest post on middlescapes.com

  15. cancer4me

    You write beautiful prose. Like looking at an interpretive painting in a gallery, I am fascinated with how you choose your words and arrange your thoughts to show what’s in your heart.

    May your grief bring growth and compassion.

  16. jenn

    It is so ridiculously hard to lose your mother. I am fairly new in my loss, but I feel her absence acutely everyday. My mother, who was also my best friend, died in September 2012, from a suspected pulmonary embolism/heart attack (no autopsy was done, but I have always felt it was a heart attack). I am so very sorry for your loss. You have been in my thoughts since you first commented on my blog and I decided to see what your story was on this cold February morning. I was surprised to see that we have both lost our mothers. This is not a group I would have ever thought I would join when I still need her so much. Thank you again for your kind words!

  17. Nextie

    Your writing is lovely and on topics I need and love. My dad died in 2008, when I was 29, from some sad combination of cancer, drug addiction and cardiac arrest that the emergency room doctor’s didnt care much to elaborate on. At any rate, this link is to a blog I started as a part of my healing process and I thought I’d share it. http://foodfuneral.wordpress.com/.

  18. Lucia Maya

    I can’t remember how I found your blog (maybe you’d found mine?), but I love your writing and we have much in common, both living in Tucson, and my daughter died of lymphoma at age 22 last September – what your write about parallels my experience in many ways.

    Today I was reading more of your posts and was drawn to learn who you are, and realized we’ve met! I was volunteering with the UMC Reiki program several years ago (long before my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, synchronistically, as she ended up at 3NW at UMC where I’d spent a lot of time) and encountered you a few times there.

    It’s such a small world! I am grateful to have found you here in this world.

    blessings, Lucia

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      Lucia, forgive me! I’ve been meaning to make a comment on your blog to share our mutual connection. I immediately recognized your picture on your blog and remembered you from 3NW. I remember when I saw you with your daughter at the Cancer Center and went “oh shit.” I was so sorry to learn of her passing. Her writing is incredible… what a talented, wise, brave woman she was. You too have written such a moving tribute to the special person that was your daughter, that is your daughter. I’m honored to read your words and have you read my own. Two wonderful women, taken from us too early by terrible lymphomas, one far earlier than the other. We have some tragic synchronicity, but I find it so easy to connect with your writings and feel less alone when I reflect on our shared connection . Much peace and love to you.

      1. Lucia Maya

        Yes, glad to have this made more clear.. I’ve been reading your writing and thinking “I wish I knew this woman”, feeling such a connection with you. I, too, feel less alone when I read your posts. Thanks for your lovely response. With blessings and love.

  19. Dennie

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed. I found you there.
    I’m always conflicted when I come across blogs and replies on this topic. My mom also has cancer, but so far, seems to be doing well. However, she has already been lost to me, for over a decade now, since she and my father decided that a life changing decision and choice I made at that time was, in their eyes, shameful enough to cut the ties between us. What I thought was once an unbreakable bond was shattered beyond repair. Do I have regrets? Only that through this experience I learned that my parents were not who I thought they were; loving, supportive open-minded human beings. Instead I discovered self-righteous, judgmental and fearful people, who would rather turn their backs on their daughter than face the misery which caused her to change her entire life.
    I acknowledge that my choices were not the best, but they were the best I could do at the time. Breaking free from that parental tether has helped me to grow enormously in ways that I never would have been able if our relationship had remained the same.
    Never-the-less, I miss them.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      Dennie, thanks for stopping by. I do feel my relationship with my mother was unusual. Most people have more ambivalence or conflict with their parents. I hope you will find your way back to a relationship with them- or not, whichever is best.

  20. ninamishkin

    I’m so glad I discovered you here. When we begin, mother is the center of the universe. What do we do when the center no longer holds?

    My own mother was probably the great (failed) love affair of my life. She died in 1993. Eventually the pain fades. But it never really passes.

    You write beautifully about things that are hard to write about. Please continue. 🙂


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