mama bear


When you choose to leave a dream career, a home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, your family, and travel the world for such a long time, people often ask you “why?” Some of them ask it with a tone that tells you what they are really thinking; “why in the hell would you do that now? Gosh, I mean,by the time you get back, surely your baby making factory will have started to get rusty. What a calamity!” Those are my favourite.

I smile and chuckle softly, “Why not?” I reply, “Wouldn’t you love to see the world?”

“Well, of course, some day.”

I smile.

“Guess what? Today is some day.”


Thirteen days ago my mama passed away. Valentines day, 2013, she did not wake up.  It was sudden; one moment she is alive, breathing, touching, thinking and the next moment, she doesn’t wake up for her morning coffee. She would get up and have her coffee out of one particular mug. She would let her dogs out. She would stretch, yawn, breath. She would move and talk. She would love and laugh. Today, she does non of those things herself. She does them through her children.

Now, when people ask, “why,” I will turn to them and say, “so my mom can see the world.”

Mom wanted to be cremated and so she was. I like that because now each of her children and the love of her life can have a piece of her. That’s how it was when she was alive; she gave each of us a piece of her. She visited me three times before I reached my one year mark of living in the West. That was one proud mama bear. She would drive to Nova Scotia to see my brother and her granddaughter. She would drive to and from Toronto to see my other siblings and her grandson. She drove and flew to see each and every one of us, all the while making us feel like we were the most important, funniest people on the planet. And of course as children do, we gave her all of our emotional spew; when I had a bad day or was sad, I would call her to tell her about it so I could hear her say, “Oh baby girl, that must be tough. Listen to your gut, what does it tell you?” She was one person who made up a whole lot of family to each of her children.


Mom doesn’t have to drive anymore, or book a flight, or take on any of our emotional times. Mom gets to lay back, enjoy the scenery and see things, go places, and listen to the strange noises that one experiences while traveling the world. She gets to go to castles in Spain, hike mysterious forests in Germany, smell pizza in Naples, Scuba dive in the Philippines, trek to the base of Mount Everest. She will be with me and I will put her ashes all over the world so she too can experience it all.


My strength comes from my mom. My craziness definitely comes from her. Now what I will need to tap into is my courage; she was the most courageous woman on this Earth, embracing life, even in the darkest of times. There will be moments where I am petrified during my travels, but I will have mama by my side and like when she was physically on this Earth, she will give me courage and strength that I don’t even know I have yet.

Mama, you are now my “why.”



7 Responses to “mama bear”

  1. Heather B February 28, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    Beautiful. You’re already more courageous than you know. Whenever I was with her, she always made me feel like the most important and only person in the world-you nailed it! Xoxo

  2. Jessie February 28, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    No better reason than this. I love you so much. What a great gift you will be giving to your Mom.

  3. Teresa February 28, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    Wow Tana! Amazing emotions you have passed on to me through your words. Can’t wait to see you and to hear about all of your travels. Love you!

  4. Tay Hanson February 28, 2013 at 4:58 am #

    That is beautiful beyond words. Love.

  5. Therese Hebert February 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    What a beautiful perspective. Tribute to your mom brought tears to my eyes, and a big swell to my heart. xo

  6. Naomi Mitchell March 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Zoe and I read this together: You will always have the courage,love ,strength and yes the silliness of your mom with you. It is a beautiful tribute to your mother’s mothering. As Zoe and Ethan say “watch for the brightest star as you travel the world and your mother will be watching your every moment.”

  7. Deadly March 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    You have and will always make your mother proud.

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