A Gift In Goodbye: A Legacy of Love

In the past two months, I’ve spent most of my time in Michigan, to be near my 90 year old mother as she lived out her final days.

Let me sleep, for my soul is intoxicated with love and let me rest, 
for my spirit has had its bounty of days and night. 

A Little Background

My mom was an unbelievable, strong woman, passionate about all things family. Her life was deliciously filled with gardening, cooking and service to others.

I’m one of 10 children. She had 32 grandchildren, and 34 great grand children. 

She was bighearted, with a cheery countenance. Her last years were spent in a skilled nursing facility. The path to her room was worn, due to daily visits from tribe members, bearing goodies and flowers.

Mom spread joy, by regifting everything she received, to those around her. Known as the “flower and candy” lady, she lived to give. She became the center of attention without trying.

During one of our last phone conversations mom told me, “I’m dying. I’m ready to go.” The pain of living had become unbearable.

As if driven by an invisible force, I was determined to be there for her, as she had always been for me. I packed my suitcase, hopped on a plane and arrived within 24 hours.

Come close and bid me farewell; touch my eyes with smiling lips. Let the children grasp my hands with soft and rosy fingers.

My friend Julie sent me this text as I left town.

Julie: Be well. Feel all your love. Share it, spread it, expand it…fill you … LOVE…

Her meaningful text became the purpose for my trip.

Her journey home

When I arrive at her bedside, and she can barely speak, she mouthed, “I love you.” I was determined to create a light and serene vigil as I sat with her during her last 32 hours.

Dry your tears, my friends, and raise your heads as the flowers raise their crowns to greet the dawn.

Hearing is the last thing to go when a person makes their transition. As calls came in, I placed my cell phone by her ear so my siblings and her grandchildren could say, “I love you, thank you and goodbye.”

As I did, her breathing became softer and less labored.

Text that touched my heart:

Daughter Kristy: Is she coherent? I want to tell her I love her one last time. How are you doing?

Me: I’m good…memorizing face and smell. The air in here is filled with love and angels.

Kristy: Grandma is all love. Thanks for sharing feelings and environment with me. I just felt her love sweep over me…glad you’re with her.

Friend Lori: U doing okay? I love you, Tess 

Daughter Niki: Can’t sleep a wink no matter how I try. Grandma must be trying to fit that crown loaded with stars on her head!

Growing up we were told we would get a crown in heaven filled with stars for every good deed we did on earth.

Let me sleep, for my soul is intoxicated with love and Let me rest, for my spirit has had its bounty of days and nights.

Lori: You are love. (Just sayin’!) ~xo

Friend Megan: Wrapping your family in light. Let me know if you need anything.

Daughter Shelly: Mom, I think you should pray the rosary for Grandma!

My mother, was a devout Catholic, and prayed the rosary several times a day. I believe in the power of prayer of any kind. For years, during turbulent times, I would call and request rosaries for my family.

It never failed to bring us great comfort.

Me response: I placed a rosary in my mother’s hands. I found another for myself and I said the rosary for the first time in thirty years. I know she heard me as her breathing changed again.

Later, two older siblings joined my vigil. We were in joyful moods as we sang and laughed off-key. We spoke of good times and loving memories. We felt privileged to be there.

Hubs: I love you, mom. Have a great trip!

Sing of the past as you behold the dawn of hope in my eyes, for Its magic meaning is a soft bed upon which my heart rests.

Daughter Kara: Mom, how’s grandma doing? I don’t want her to suffer!

Me: Don’t worry. All is well. Then I place my phone by her ear so Kara can express her love a final time.

When her fever climbed to 105 degrees, a nurse placed a cool wash cloth on her forehead. I clipped a hot pink flower to it, the grim and serious faces of the nurses softened while they continued to care for her, as the day turned to evening.

Light the candles and burn the incense around my bed, and Scatter leaves of jasmine and roses over my body.

A few years ago my nephew, Matthew, gifted my mom with red patent leather, “Christmas shoes.” She wore them, joyfully for the holidays, Christmas and Sundays.

I was reminded of those shoes when my brother’s friend, Pam, whispered and paraphrased from the bible, “You will soon be in heaven, dancing down streets of gold.”

I loved that image! My sister and I found the shoes and placed them on her feet. She was ready to dance!

I have passed a mountain peak and my soul is soaring in the firmament of complete and unbound freedom.

We continued to hold, soothe and encourage mom to let go, follow the light, and fly with the angels. Mom was loved dearly by the entire staff at Heartwood Lodge. Many of the employees came and kissed her goodbye.

They cried as they declared their love and whispered what a joy she was to work with. The light and glow from the love in the room intensified. 

As she took her last breath, with Christmas music playing softly in the background, I thank her for loving me. I stole one last kiss.

I am cloaked in full whiteness; I am in comfort; I am in peace.

We chose to wear bright and colorful clothes to the funeral celebration. My eight siblings and I, made photo collages to be displayed at the service.

Mourn me not with apparel of black, but dress in color and rejoice with me.

Admiring our various collages, I was struck by the rich life she lived. When she wasn’t with my family, she was with another’s loving, laughing and living life out loud. Her cup runneth over. 

Go back to the joy of your dwellings and you will find there that which death cannot remove from you and me. Leave with peace, for what you see here is far away in meaning From the earthly world. Leave me.

In italics, The Beauty of Death XIV, by Khalil Gibran

Sandra, from, Always Well Within, suggests we choose a word to incorporate into our lives for 2011. In appreciation of mom’s legacy, I choose “love."  

{ 121 comments… add one }

  • Keith December 17, 2010, 10:04 am

    Dearest Tess,

    My eyes are filled with tears as I write this. I feel absolutely horrible that I did not know you were in Michigan with your mother, Please accept my love and my most heartfelt sympathies. I would that I could help you share any pain you are experiencing. I know I have never met you in person, but I feel a connection with you. I reach out across the distance and offer you my arms for a hug, my shoulder to cry on if you need it and my love to help strengthen you.

    You really ARE LOVE Tess. You have shown this to me so many times, and I am grateful. I honor your mother, not only for who she was on this earth, but for who she is NOW, at this exact moment.

    Much, much love to you my dear friend.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 7:57 am

      Thank you for your shoulder and hug. I feel your love.

  • Julie December 17, 2010, 10:52 am

    Tess, you and I talked about what a transformative experience it is to witness a passing-over. It is life-changing. Your family is blessed with such a remarkable presence, so much unity, generosity, so much shared love. In the outpouring of all this, you created peace. You created honor. Even celebration. Through the grace of Love, you created even more Love. You brought Love to Life. It’s what we are meant to do. Each of us. All of us. All the time. Thank you so much for sharing such incredibly intimate moments. The gift in this is that you share the beautiful reminder that creating Love is, ultimately, the greatest thing we can do. Your mother’s beautiful spirit is testimony to this. What beautiful Love she created. What beautiful Love she IS. ~Julie
    .-= Julie´s last post…My Song =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 7:58 am

      Thanks for walking this path with me. I’m looking forward to hiking after in January.

  • Andrea DeBell - britetalk December 17, 2010, 11:43 am

    Hi sweetie!
    Love is great word to choose. It seems to represent your mom and you extremely well. I love your words :Mourn me not with apparel of black, but dress in color and rejoice with me. It’s not always easy to do it when we loose a loved one but it’s a great attitude to rejoice the beautiful life they lived.
    I wasn’t able to be with my dad when he passed away unexpectedly. You were luck to be able to share these last precious moments with your mom and your family.
    Thanks for sharing such a personal and touching story with us. Many loving blessings, my dear friend!
    .-= Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last post…Stuck in Life Achieve Big Results with Little Effort =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:00 am

      I’m so happy we met in SF this year. I took your advice RPM. Rise pee meditate. We’ll see how it goes!

  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord December 17, 2010, 12:03 pm

    Tess, first of all my heart goes out to you and your family. Your mom, well from this amazing tribute, sounded like a phenomenally energizing and inspirational woman. So much of what you said about her reminds me of YOU!
    What an honor to read these words — I felt like I was there with you, and like your mom’s energy filled each line in the post.

    I can only hope that when it’s my time to go, I’m able to go in peace, surrounded by laughter, joy, and those I love.

    As lucky as you were to have your mom, she was equally lucky to have YOU as a daughter.

    Loving you lots, beautiful, strong & inspirational Tess!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last post…The Blessings of Each New Moment =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:02 am

      If you set that intention for the end you will have it. Let me know if you need me there. In spirit or physical body, depending on which I am…I’ll join you in your final dance.

  • Lori December 17, 2010, 12:55 pm

    Hi Tess,
    As I read this, I felt such warmth. I feel like I knew your mom through your eyes.
    What a beautiful story and a precious gift you’ve given to your mother.
    I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’ve shared this with us. You totally made my day by doing so.
    As for choosing LOVE for 2011, I can’t wait to see the fireworks. You already light this word on fire, I can’t even imagine what’s in store for you next year.
    Love You, Tess.
    .-= Lori´s last post…An Oblique Walk =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:03 am

      You don’t have to watch the fireworks. You’ll be in them;) Just sayin…

  • Dandy December 17, 2010, 1:12 pm

    Dear Tess,
    You & your family have my deepest sympathies. I understand your grief. It is very hard to go through – I know. Your mother sounds like she was blessed. It must have been a great comfort to her to have you at her side. Your post really has me choked up because I know the place where you are at. It never really goes away at all. My prayers & positive thoughts are with you and your family! God Bless!
    .-= Dandy´s last post…Do you get lost in a relationship =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:04 am

      Thanks for the love you send. I’m dancing in it’s light.

  • Lance December 17, 2010, 3:05 pm

    What a beautiful celebration of life…your words here, your glimpse of soul on this page, your dear mother and the lives she touched, and love….

    May you and your family find peace in this moment, and all the moments to come.

    And may love continue to be a beacon of light in your life…something that shines through here so, so wondrously…

    Much peace and love,
    .-= Lance´s last post…New Rules For Life =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:05 am

      I can always count on your kind words and loving thoughts. Thanks. xo

  • Suzie Cheel December 17, 2010, 3:52 pm

    Dear Tess,
    I came here from your DM on Twitter and I feel so much for you, it brings tears to my eyes as I read this. losing ones Mum is tough I know , sounds like you were blessed to be able to spend time with her in those last days. Your mum sounds a wonderful being and how important it is to celebrate the life of someone so special. i love that you wore color-
    Reading this brought back memories of my Mum who died at 87, 10 years ago on Dec 27th. Sounds like we have mothers in common :)
    Thanks for opening your heart and sharing your Mother with me.
    Love is a wonderful word for 2011 and a word that deserves to be in every year
    sending you love and peace, wish I was there to give you a hug
    .-= Suzie Cheel´s last post…What Makes You Beautifully Different =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:06 am

      Your constant support and beauty warms my heart. Thanks!

  • Pea December 17, 2010, 5:43 pm

    Don’t really know what to say…but wanted to add my support and condolences to your comments Tess.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:07 am

      What you said is perfect. I appreciate your presence.

  • Gina @goodthingz December 17, 2010, 6:59 pm


    What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing those true moments of love.

    Warm thoughts and love to you and your family,


    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:08 am

      Your welcome. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you care.

  • Dorothy December 17, 2010, 8:04 pm

    Thank you for a beautiful post. What lovely imagery you use…! Love and angels filling the room. What a perfect way to die, surrounded by the love we have given through our lives, reflected a hundred times back upon us. It has given me inspiration and hope. Perhaps a life filled with love and angels is truly possible…

    Thank you….
    .-= Dorothy´s last post…So this is Christmas – what have I done =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:09 am

      Love and angels are everywhere. One only has to be open and willing to receive.

  • Farnoosh December 17, 2010, 9:11 pm

    This is the most beautiful and touching piece I have read on dying – and I do read stuff about dying more often than I should! – Dear Tess, I am so amazed at you and your Mother’s grace and amazing strength – I am in awe. This story flowed right from your heart into ours. Thank you for sharing! May her memory live strongly in your hearts! And welcome back. We missed you!
    .-= Farnoosh´s last post…A Manifesto for Meditation =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:10 am

      Thanks for opening your heart to me through your blog. I’m happy I can do the same for you. Thanks for letting me know I was missed. It means a lot.

  • Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) December 17, 2010, 10:54 pm

    Dear Tess,

    Love to you, my friend. What a testament to the transition that is natural and interwoven so deeply into our lives. Your mother transmitted love to all, and your family does the same so beautifully. And her memory lives on through the lives of so many blessed beings. May you all be held tightly in a cocoon of love.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:11 am

      The love all of my virtual friends have sent has created that cocoon. Thank you!

  • Sandra Lee December 17, 2010, 10:57 pm

    Dearest Tess,
    I am so happy that you were able to be with your mother when she passed and that it was such a loving and beautiful time. This post is a gift in so many ways. So many of us deny death and shirk away from it. Once again you shine your radiant light so the world can see a different picture of death and transition. It’s only the body that dies; our pure awareness continues.

    Thank you for this beautiful gift!
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last post…WordPress for Windows Phone 7 =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:12 am

      Thank you for all the inspiration you give through your blog. I feel your love.

  • Aileen December 18, 2010, 12:52 am

    you honor your mother and your relationship with her in this story – you convey her transition with grace and love. 6 years ago my family gathered and held vigil as my father passed on. It was as though the world held still for us to have that time to sing,pray, share and be – it felt odd to call it beautiful – but now in witnessing your experience I no longer find it odd.

    I wish you and your family all love and peace this Holiday, this month, this new year.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:13 am

      Thanks and you’re correct. Time stood still. Life changing and beautiful. I was blessed to be a part of it.

  • Daphne @ Joyful Days December 18, 2010, 3:35 am


    I almost cried reading your post. It reminded me of when my dad died 3 years ago. There is such a thing as a good death, and your love made your mum’s one of these.


    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 8:14 am

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s good to hear from you. Happy Holidays,

  • Lars Dahlin December 18, 2010, 4:56 am

    My condolences to you and your family. I have also lost my both parents and I have also seen the beauty in their last moments. The work have just begun and you have a long, and sometimes, dark road toward the light.

    Keep her memory close at heart.

    My very best regards
    /Lars, Sweden

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 1:59 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience and insights with us. I appreciate you.

  • Alex Blackwell December 18, 2010, 6:13 am


    A remarkable, heartfelt post. The past two months were difficult for you, no doubt, but you are a woman of courage and strength and I’m sure your presence gave everyone more comfort.

    Now, my hope is you give some of that comfort to yourself. On behalf of your mother, and your devotion to her, my word for 2011 will be “kindness.”

    Take good care Tess,


    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:00 pm

      Hi Alex,
      I love it that you chose kindness! Love it…thanks for joining me in celebrating my mom’s life. xo

  • varuni chaudhary December 18, 2010, 8:12 am

    Dear Tess,
    Loads of love! it takes courage to face the death of a dear one with so much love and fearlessness. Thanks for lighting the way for so many of us.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:03 pm

      You’re correct there was no fear and I didn’t realize that until so many of my siblings chose not to be there. I do understand because before this I would have been afraid as well. We do things when we’re ready. Hopefully my experience will help others fear less.

  • Peggy Nolan December 18, 2010, 8:56 am

    Dearest Tess,

    I read this with tears in my eyes. Such a beautiful and loving tribute to your mother.

    Love to you and your family,
    .-= Peggy Nolan´s last post…Ground Hog Day =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:03 pm

      Thank you Peggy! xo

  • Katie December 18, 2010, 9:08 am

    Thank you for sharing, Tess. Love is the only word that truly matters. Much love to you, Katie
    .-= Katie´s last post…Give Yourself the Ultimate Gift- You =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:05 pm

      Thanks so much. I’ll receive all I can and then send it to you and others;) Recycled love!

  • Angela Artemis December 18, 2010, 9:13 am

    Hi Tess,
    I’m so touched that you shared you mother’s last moments with us here. You were lucky that you got to be with her. I think she was an incredible role model for you. I can see where your gift for spreading love and light comes from.

    Take time to heal. She’s with you now and forever.
    Much love,
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last post…How Intuition Helped One Woman Un-Mask Her Lover’s True Identity =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:06 pm

      Yes she was a role model. Especially when I needed her the most but didn’t necessarily want it:)

  • Debbie December 18, 2010, 11:04 am

    Just beautiful. Had me in tears. I was with my brother when he died at 31 of AIDS. Like you created for your Mom, we created an atmosphere of love and joy.

    While it is surely a sad occasion, it can be embraced and warmed and filled with love and light. Makes the transition easier and more natural for both parties, I think. Blessings to you!
    .-= Debbie´s last post…Poison Ivy of the Mind =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:07 pm

      Sounds like your brother gave you a wonderful gift. I think we’re all here to teach each other how to be more loving. Glad we both had our experiences.

  • Rebecca West December 18, 2010, 11:52 am

    You have always amazed me with your gift of words. I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I am saddened for you and grateful that you shared it with us all. What a beautiful story of love. I wish you peace my friend until the day when you see her again.
    Love to you and yours,

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:08 pm

      Thanks so much. Arizona isn’t the same without you. I can’t believe we traded places. Happy Holidays!

  • cj & dan December 18, 2010, 11:59 am

    Dear Tess & Roger,
    We are so sorry for you loss. I am in awe reading this, beacuse it brought me a little closer to a person I never new, but I guess somehow i did know, becuase you are a part of her. Because you shared this amaing journey with me (us) and because I didn’t know you were oing through this. Maybe that’s for a reason too, I belive is devine guidence. So now I can share my love and compassion for you with a louder voice that can encompas you.
    Thank you for sharing this, it was so beautiful to read – what a gift you have.
    Love and hugs,
    Dan & CJ

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing your journey with me. Let’s meet for coffee when I visit again. It’s been too long!

  • Patti Foy December 18, 2010, 12:30 pm

    Oh Tess. My first glance at the photo made me kind of giggle and brought tears to my eyes at the same time. And then I read the words about “Let me sleep…” which says it all, and that was all she wrote. Beautiful.

    And it just got better from there. I was actually hoping you’d share here about your experience. But this is even more: a beautiful tribute to your mom, to your love and that of your family, to your friendships. The way you wove the Gibran stanzas in makes it a work of art.

    Thanks so much for sharing all this with us. Lots of blessings to you.
    .-= Patti Foy´s last post…The Little Known Way to Turn Every Shopping Trip into a Joyride =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:11 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your loving thoughts. A work of art? That’s a pretty cool compliment. xo

  • Lisa Stevens December 18, 2010, 12:46 pm

    Even though I am full into my middle ages, I have yet to be with someone upon their death. Thank you for your open and very personal sharing. It gives me pause to think and understand how I can help make it beautiful when my turn comes to be there for a loved one. Truly, Lisa
    .-= Lisa Stevens´s last post…Clinking in my pocket- the rock story =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:12 pm

      Hi Lisa,
      I’m happy to share my love and hope. All is well.

  • Evita December 18, 2010, 1:05 pm

    Hello Tess

    What an incredible tribute to life, to love and to your mom.

    Tess, I had to fight back tears as I am not in a public place where I felt comfortable to let through the tears that wanted to come down my cheeks. This was so beautiful and most loving.

    What a gift you got to be with your mom like that. What a gift you gave her, and each of us to experience this beautiful moment with you, if only through these words here.

    Love to you and your family – today and always.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:13 pm

      Thanks for giving me courage and inspiration the entire 2010! You matter to me more than you know.

  • Chris Sarris December 18, 2010, 1:06 pm

    Wow loved it, felt my heart open more. felt my mom’s spirit with me, thank you for sharing.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:14 pm

      I’m happy to be a part of that. Thanks for joining us here!

  • ~ bern ~ December 18, 2010, 2:14 pm

    ~ Beautiful ~

    So wonderful Tess to see and feel the recipe of love being served in the buffet of Life and Continued Life Hereafter. In a sense, i can feel your experience circulating through me, touching upon something within me that asks to be further addressed. It whispers to me for a celebration of family and the acceptance of all experiences…past, present, and future. Thank you for sharing your Love in such precious times. I shall remember this door that you have opened for me. I shall decorate it and adorn it with many blessings.
    .-= ~ bern ~´s last post…Junco Eating and Finding Merry in the Brightness Of Seeing =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:15 pm

      I always knew life is awesome and now I know death is as well. I appreciate your gratitude and kindness.

  • Kay December 18, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your powerful experience regarding your mom’s passing, Tess. It truly touched my heart. That certainly was a beautiful gift for both of you! Love is a wonderful word for 2011. I am going to choose a word too.

    You will have a strong connection to her on the other side of the veil. My mom, dad and sister Patricia call themselves “The Terricic Trio” and have assisted me in many ways-

    I love you. I honor you. I am grateful to you, Tess.
    Much love,

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:16 pm

      You have helped me be brave in life. You’re always a step ahead of me…encouraging me a long. Thanks! I feel the same about you. Forever friends.

  • Simon Hay December 18, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Tess, thank you for sharing this beautiful moment with us. I see golden light and feel mom smiling. Love and peace to you and family.
    .-= Simon Hay´s last post…CWSS—Episode 4 & Evolving Beings Article =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:17 pm

      Thanks so much for your love and support. Especially for the picnic lunch you packed and sent over;)

  • Jean Sarauer December 18, 2010, 4:40 pm

    Dearest Tess, thank you for sharing the link to this beautiful tribute to your beloved mom. I’m sending you all my love and an abundance of heartfelt hugs. You write like an angel. You, your mom, and Sandra Lee have inspired me to make ‘Giving’ my word for 2011. Love you and miss you. Jean

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:18 pm

      I knew you would appreciate it with moving your dad and all. I feel the hugs…write like an angel? That’s a new one. I accept and take that compliment into my heart. xo

  • Sarah Lulu December 18, 2010, 5:19 pm

    How blessed are we, that you shared your mother’s journey with us like that.

    God rest her soul and much love to you. xx
    .-= Sarah Lulu´s last post…Coming alive and other Christmas miracles =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:19 pm

      Thanks for the light and love. Your welcome!

  • Barry December 18, 2010, 5:54 pm

    Dearest Tess,
    How wonderful for you and she that you were able to share those last moments in this world together. Birth and dath. Isn’t funny how we call one the beginning and one the end without really knowing which is which? In either case I am sure it was a joy to your Mom to have the support of so much family as she entered that doorway. Something tells me they will be there for you in the days ahead.
    Love Barry

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:21 pm

      Yes isn’t that the truth we don’t know which is the beginning or end, do we? Why do we always have to try and figure things out. From now on I’m going to enter into the mystery and become comfortable with the unknown.

  • Brenda December 18, 2010, 8:36 pm


    I am so sorry about the loss of your wonderful mother…how beautiful that you were with her and she was so surrounded by love…your words crept into my heart like a gentle dawn…I could feel your mother smiling…this was an absolutely magnificent tribute to a glorious woman. How wonderful that sshe is dancing in the light!
    .-= Brenda´s last post…Thoughts on Forgiveness =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:22 pm

      Yes I agree she is dancing in the light. Thanks for that!

  • Michael December 18, 2010, 9:44 pm

    Dearest Tess, Your Mom is dancing & laughing as I comment. I was tearing as your story unraveled of the last hours with your mom. Once again you take life as you understand it in the moment & will come away laughing again. Hearing about your Mother from your perspective I understand you even more than before. The first writing of yours I was exposed to left not only you & your husband in tears but all of those listening to me reading it thru bleary eyes. You bring comfort to me as it relates to those that have journeyed ahead of me. Most of my death experiences have been in the context of one or another of the professions I followed as either a surgical scrub tech or Police officer. They tended to be towards the violent side in one way or another. It will be fun to have this conversation when & if we meet again. Peace to you always Michael

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:24 pm

      Michael yesI do like to laugh my way through life don’t I. I just knew there’s nobody saying otherwise. Ha Even if they did you know I wouldn’t listen!

  • Beth December 19, 2010, 12:31 am

    Dearest Tess,

    The nakedness of your mom’s final hours and your determination to create a peaceful–even playful–transitional environmental for her and your family brings a smile to my heart. I am so grateful that you shared your experience.

    I was more than 600 miles from my mom when she passed in July. It saddens me to know that my family is “traditional” when it comes to life and death so that they missed the beautiful opportunity you had.

    I believe though, that Mom is now a convert to the mystical ways and her energy lives on in the softly falling snow, the gaze of my Jack Russell and the magic of Christmas.

    Bless you and thank you for your grace and dignity and for helping to create heaven on earth.

    In love and light,

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:25 pm

      You’ve got it all down without any help from me. I’m sure you’ll get to send someone off into the light. Yes my mom is with me in the blue sky, the morning air and the green growth in the mountains.

  • Kristy December 19, 2010, 8:44 am

    Mom, what a lovely letter to grandma. She was all love and I will remember her for that as well as her generous spirit. Hugs to you!

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:26 pm

      Rock on you wild granddaughter!

  • Pat December 19, 2010, 9:20 am

    Tess, “Your are the sum total of all who walked before you” (I heard that or read it some time in my past and it has stayed with me.) There were some very special people in your family and you express their love with such powerful thoughts and feelings of your own. I admire the life your Mother lived and the legacy she provided to her family–seeing nature,life,all living things in a special way and somehow knowing we are all connected. I send you and your family our love and positive thoughts so you can rejoice in your mother’s life , living and lessons.
    Allan and Pat

    • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:28 pm

      Yes was blessed with her presence for 56 years and now I’m blessed with her spirit. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your words of wisdom.

  • Adrienne December 19, 2010, 12:52 pm

    Hi Tess, I just wanted to let you know how beautiful and touching this post is! I’m so grateful you were able to be there with your mom and that you took the time to share it with the rest of us. I’m so very close with my mom and can hardly stand to think of going through this with her…but it sounds like a beautiful way to share her last hours…surrounded in love…

  • Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Don’t think of it. Instead stay in the moment and enjoy her presence. Give her a hug from me.

  • Jan Rowley December 19, 2010, 2:38 pm

    I work with Roshelle and followed her link to your blog. You made me cry. Wish I had been able to say goodbye to my mother. Beautifully done

    • Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010, 11:55 am

      Hi Jan,
      Thank you for stopping by. I know it’s not the same but you can still talk to your mom, think loving thoughts and send her good energy. It all counts.

  • Leah McClellan December 19, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful story, Tess, so beautifully written. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, and even though your mom has that crown of stars and transitioning is a part of life, still it must be hard. I’ve never sat vigil for a person, only my beloved dog several years ago, but occasionally I read stories like yours and it helps me for some time in the future when I may be in your position.

    Lots of love and hugs sent your way (((Tess))
    .-= Leah McClellan´s last post…Turned a Cheek Lately =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010, 11:57 am

      Thank you. I do think dogs count just as much as people. It’s all love and that’s what matters. A love for an animal is pure love and your presence mattered.

  • Rand December 19, 2010, 3:40 pm

    Dear Tess,
    Thank you so much for sharing the memories and passing of your lovely mother. It has brought back the warm thoughts of my own. They came from the same mold. Mom saved her dessert for me each evening visit for her last three months . I was with her when the doctor told her she was to die very soon…her reply “It’s nice to be told your going to die”. This she knew was only a new begining.

    Thanks once again and God Bless.


    • Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010, 11:58 am

      Yes they are from the same mold! 3 months of dessert. What love was put into saving those and watching you eat them. She savored the moments as you savored the dessert!

  • Lisa H. December 19, 2010, 5:32 pm

    Tess. My eyes are filled with tears as I write this and remember the passing of my boyfriend’s mom and my aunt. Both courageous, strong, lovely women who wanted nothing more than to live. I remember how sacred it felt to be by both of their bedsides in their final days. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. It is definite reminder that we should cherish the people in our lives because we never know when it will be the last time we will see them.

    I am glad that you were able to be there with your mom.
    .-= Lisa H.´s last post…Are You Attracting What You Want into Your Life =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010, 12:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing your memories. Yes we need to cherish each person, each moment of the day and if we can’t cherish them we can always bless them on their way.

  • Amy Johnson December 19, 2010, 8:56 pm

    This is beautiful. It’s life, love..not much more to say.

    Thank you for sharing your life, love with us in this way.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010, 12:01 pm

      Thanks Amy and thanks for adding your wisdom and joy to my blog.

  • Little Lessons Under the Big Sky December 20, 2010, 6:47 am

    Dearest Tess,
    I am sending my deepest sympathies to you and your family. I did not know the reason until now why you had moved. You are an amazing woman and the world is so blessed that your mother brought you into this world. She epitomizes everything good, gracious, and loving…..and she obviously passed that on to you and your siblings.

    This post brought absolute tears to my eyes. Not just of your sorrow, but of happiness that this wonderful being was so graciously treated for her final journey. The phone calls, the slippers (oh I love that) the rosary and the singing. All filled her heart with absolute peace as she left this world. What an amazing gift you gave her Tess, and hopefully knowing that you will be able to bring that LOVE into your new year to help heal the sorrow of her passing.

    My heart is with you. May all the holiday lights you see this season remind you of the beautiful light your mom shared with you and the world.
    Love always,
    .-= Little Lessons Under the Big Sky´s last post…What child is this =-.

  • Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Your words have had a powerful effect on me. I’m grateful. Thanks for being a part of the community here. I appreciate you.

  • Hilary December 21, 2010, 2:54 am

    Hi Tess .. this is a wonderful page full of amazing thoughts and I can feel the love from here – I know you’re home now .. but these times will be with you for so long – and give me comfort as I tread a slower path.

    The love of life is such an important part of our time here – that we all need to know and appreciate it … and I am sure your words will ring out to others for many a year to come – providing succour and comfort for their final partings.

    A wonderful tribute to a magical mother .. with love and thoughts from here to you especially and all your family – the rainbow bridge danced over in red patent shoes, singing carols with choirs of angels waiting .. what more could we want – a life fulfilled.

    A big hug from a teary Hilary xoxox
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Christmas Past and Christmas Present =-.

  • John Sherry December 21, 2010, 10:39 am

    Tess, you are so brave in spirit and warm in heart to share such a personal story. I felt the tears as my mother passed away last year but they leave love written all over our hearts. Just as your post has on mine. Your mum would be so proud of a daughter whose light and soul shines bright across the world. Be blessed this Christmas and feel the peace of knowing she always looks over you and lives within you. May love be with you always and may she rest in beautiful peace for eternity.
    .-= John Sherry´s last post…Why The Most Special Christmas Presents Will Always Be Your Presence =-.

  • Christopher Foster December 21, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Such a beautiful post Tess. You did your mother proud. I agree 100 percent with John — your mum will always be with you in spirit.

  • Betsy at Zen Mama December 22, 2010, 10:10 pm

    Aren’t you lucky to have had her with you for so long! My mom has told me you never get used to having your mom gone. I’ll be thinking of you!

  • Robin Easton December 24, 2010, 1:31 pm

    Dearest Tess, this is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. WHAT A GIFT you give us all by sharing it. And what a gift you and your mother shared. There is little I can say would not desecrate such intimate and sacred beauty. But i did want you to know that I felt touched by god reading this. I cried. I am hugging you, loving you and honored to be even a small part of your life. You are truly a one of a kind soul. I love you, Tess. Robin.

  • Teri Williams December 26, 2010, 9:30 am

    Yeah! I finally took a day off to catch up on the pages I have saved this month. Thank you for sharing your love and brilliant light, Tess. I can feel your mother shining brightly through your words.

    Yes, I blissfully choose to incorporate the word “love” into every part of my life for 2011. Am sending you and your family an abundance of love now.

    Blissings, Teri Williams

    P.S. My mom is also known as Candy Lady. My father was Gummy Man. They were an incredible team.

  • Cathy December 28, 2010, 7:11 pm

    What a beautiful post. Our moms are so special to us and it is difficult to watch the aging process. She will be with you always, as I’m sure you know. Your writing is a wonderful tribute to her.
    .-= Cathy´s last post…7 Great Authors Who Have Inspired Me =-.

  • Jean Burman December 29, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Dear Tess… I am so late coming to this post… but couldn’t leave without commenting how wonderfully brave resilient and loving you have been throughout the process of allowing your mom to go.

    I lost my mother right before Christmas five years ago… and so many memories came rushing back in reading your heartfelt words here.

    Thank you taking us on this earnest and loving journey with you. There is trust and faith [in us] in doing so… and I for one appreciate this beyond words. Thank you.

    Warm and encouraging hugs from the other side of the world..

    Jean x

  • Ginger December 30, 2010, 11:28 am

    Tess, thank you for sharing this with us. As I’m sure it did with everyone else reading this, it made me cry, yet I was upliffted by the passages and the outpouring of love and support by your family and friends. The entire post was touching and while I know you are dealing with this yourself, I hope it helps you to know that the hearts, thoughts and prayers from those of us reading your posts are with you. Thank you again for sharing your life with us.

  • Clearly Composed January 5, 2011, 8:33 am

    Moms never really leave. We are born of them and when it is time, they live inside of us. May you feel her love with every breath. *big hugs*
    .-= Clearly Composed´s last post… The Word For 2011 Is… =-.

  • Laurie Pappas February 11, 2011, 9:23 am

    Oh Tess, I am so moved by this post. Your mom was such a wise woman and so full of love! And to transition so beautifully with all of you near her, if not in location, present with texts, voice, spirit etc. This is the way everyone could transition if they knew what you did. It truly can be a joyous experience for all. Tess, I can see why so many have commented on this. It’s very powerful and a wonderful reminder of spirit in action! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • christine May 7, 2011, 5:48 am

    oh Tess, you and your words have touched my heart today. Thank you!
    on such a beautiful saturday morning, i sit here with tears streaming down my face.
    thank you!
    christine xoxo

  • Vidya Sury March 1, 2012, 8:01 pm

    I am drenched in the love coming off this post. What a wonderful experience.

  • Nikky44 May 5, 2012, 12:58 am

    That is So beautiful and so touching!!
    I wrote two posts on my Blog last months about saying goodbye to my mother
    And the previous one.
    I hope you will like them too.
    Thank you so much for sharing those very touching moments with us

  • Elle December 6, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Oh my gosh Tess, this brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. What a beautiful memorial to your mum…it was truly moving and reminded me so much of my mother’s last hours when like you at your mum’s bedside, I was blessed to be with her.

    What an lovely reminder of the connection we have with one another…we are all one after all.

    Love Elle

  • Tess December 6, 2012, 12:55 pm

    Hi Elle,
    Isn’t life grand? I’ve received so many signs from my mom in the past two years. You?

  • Ha;rriet Cabelly December 6, 2012, 2:14 pm

    A most beautiful tribute to the natural process of life and it’s transition. You are fortunate to have been a part of this and to be able to see it, feel it and put words to it in a magnificient way. You’ve made this rite of passage a gift. Your mother was one lucky lady and she clearly bestowed upon you her beauty that you carry and exude in your wonderful way. What a blessing! What an example! Thank you for sharing this. We all need to know of this in such a positive way.

  • Tess December 6, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Thanks so much for the lovely comment. I appreciate your support. Always! xo

  • Evelyn Lim December 7, 2012, 7:25 am

    I am so touched and uplifted by your post. What a beautiful way to send your mom off on a new journey. She was very blessed to have you next to her. You are also very blessed to be surrounded by your lovely daughters and friends!

  • Tess December 7, 2012, 1:49 pm


    Thanks so much for your nice note and coming over from Facebook. I appreciate you!
    Tess xo

  • gina rafkind August 23, 2013, 7:52 am

    OMG Tess, I’m tearing right now……what a beautiful post……so touching…..thank you for sharing this……your mom sounds like an amazing soul…………

  • Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) August 23, 2013, 9:39 am

    Powerful. I am humbled and honored to have read this. Thanks for sharing it with us on Jodi’s FB group.

    Love and blessings,

  • Jodi Chapman August 23, 2013, 10:42 am

    What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Tess. I’m so glad you were able to be with you mom and help her soul make its transition. She sounded like a wonderful woman, and I’m so happy that she knew you were there and she knew how loved she was. I know that we both know that she’s never left you. She’s loving you just as much and always will. I love you! XO

  • Crystal December 6, 2013, 5:50 am

    Oh Tess, what a beautiful post! I could feel the love and light leap from the pages and nestle into places within my own heart where sadness tries to take up residence as I edge ever closer to this moment with my own mom. Just yesterday I was told, “it could be any day”. Reading this brings me great comfort as I consider that my mom will be surrounded by many other beautiful souls like your mom, with whom I’m sure she’ll become fast friends. Thank you for sharing these precious moments and memories with the rest of us…I think in doing so your mom’s light, as well as your own, grow even brighter. Thank you….

  • Tess December 6, 2013, 8:54 am

    Thanks Crystal. I know your mom will take your love and light with her and she’ll be in good company on the journey home. Be blessed.

  • Sam J Shelley December 6, 2013, 9:25 am


    The love is strong on this page, wonderful post.

    Thank you,

  • Melissa July 25, 2014, 7:06 pm

    So beautiful Tess. You are an amazing soul and how blessed you are to have had such a wonderful giving Mother. I can only hope I can be there for mine when the time comes (hopefully a long time from now) Bless you sweet friend.


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Welcome! I'm Tess Marshall and I’m Passionate about supporting people who want to lead a fearless and bold life.
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