May 09

I Lost My Mom, And Gained 3 More

I hate using the word “lost” for what happened to my mom.  She wasn’t “lost” at all but died after a hard-fought, five-year battle with a beast named Ovarian cancer.  I was just about to turn 18 when she died and it was devastating.  I had yet to graduate from high school and I often thought of all the other milestones she would miss.  Those kinds of thoughts were very dangerous, and would reduce me to a whimpering puddle, alternating between tears and screams.  It was agonizing.


For a time, I thought I would be lost forever, not able to climb back out of the hole I was thrown into.  It was then, that so many amazing women came to my rescue.  There’s no other way to describe it.  These women have saved me in every way a person can be saved.  They’ve lifted me up, given me wings and taught me to fly.  Most of all, they have mothered me into becoming the strong woman I am today.  As Mother’s Day approaches, I choose to not be sad for what I have lost but completely overjoyed for what I have gained.


I know she would prefer I use this picture, instead of one of her.  Plus, she made the sign behind them for my second (?) Mother's Day.

I know she would prefer I use this picture, instead of one of her. Plus, she made the sign behind them for my second Mother’s Day in 2010.

I have often talked about my amazing Aunt because without her, I could never do and be all that I am.  That is a fact.  She thinks she does nothing, but she actually does everything. When she first came to help me with the boys (which is literally the day they were born!) I didn’t realize just how much needed a mother.  I hadn’t really been “mothered” in years, and what I felt is truly indescribable.

Here is the tip of the iceberg of what defines my Auntie Carla:

1.  She was with my mom when she died.  My mom asked her to watch after me and my brother and she takes it very seriously.

2.  When I was in the hospital, after the twins were born, she came in with her homemade chicken soup, sent Mike home to get some rest and took over the feedings and burpings and diaper changings of two newborns, while I ate and slept.  She’s like an freakin’ angel.

3.  She does 80% of my laundry.  Seriously.  If there’s a single stitch of dirty clothing in my house when she gets there, she sniffs it out and washes and dries the hell of out it.  Nothing dirty escapes her.

4.  When we came home from the insanity that is Disney World with four-year-old twins, my brother, his wife, their two kids and the grandparents at 11pm on a Sunday night, I opened my fridge to find a fully-stocked array of food – fruit salad, baked chicken, sauce, meatballs, pasta (we’re Italian, come on!), a gallon of milk and a huge sign that read “Welcome Home!” I cried.  Wouldn’t you?

5.  She makes a point of being at every.single.race I’m in.  Now you know – that is a lot of races.  She’s my biggest fan and cheers and takes pictures and cries.  She genuinely loves being there, and seeing all my hard work pay off.  She’s one of the few who see my day to day struggles and my overall journey, from training to race – and most of it ‘aint pretty.  But, she’s always there for me, cheering me on, pushing me to the finish.

I could go on, and on and on but I need to recognize two more “moms:”


Meme has come to love all things Scooby Doo - because her grandkids do.

Meme has come to love all things Scooby Doo – because her grandkids do.

My dad married Joanne a few years after my mom died, when I was about 20 years old.  You can imagine how well that went over.  I have to confess that I wasn’t always very good to Joanne, and it’s one of my biggest regrets.  She is an amazing woman who took this wounded and broken family, and gave us a safe haven with her amazing cooking and selfless nature.

1.  My kids love her more then almost anyone.  I’m confident leaving them with her because she doesn’t take any of their crap.  She has the best balance of loving Meme and prison guard.  It’s perfection.

2.  She has the biggest heart.  She opens her home to anyone and everyone.  Each holiday she will always ask if I have any friends who don’t have any place to go.  She’s more then willing to make more food, although she’s often already cooked enough to feed an army.

3.  I can tell her almost anything and she will never tell a soul.  Joanne is the vault.  She keeps all my secrets and I don’t even have to bribe her.

4.  She’s fiercely independent.  My dad is often away on business trips and she manages her own business (Curves!), takes care of the house, bills, trip planning and anything and everything else.

5.  She has the memory of Rain Man.  You can tell her your cousin’s, wife’s, brother’s kids birthday and those freakin’ kids will get a card and an Edible Arrangement on their birthday.  She knows the name of almost everyone she’s ever met, their blood type and social security number.  Clearly she should be in law enforcement.  Maybe she’s secret CIA and we don’t even know it?  Whatever it is, she’s amazing.


Don't let her smile fool you.  She'll smack you upside the head.

Don’t let her smile fool you. She’ll smack you upside the head.

Auntie Laurie is most definitely the “cool” Aunt.  She’s also the sister who is most like my mother.  I love just being around her because I feel so close to my mom when I am.  She is the ying to Aunt Carla’s yang, in that she doesn’t sugar coat things, or feel badly about things and never apologizes for being who she is.  Who is she?  Just one of the best Aunt’s a girl could have.

1.  When Aunt Carla will text me about my upcoming race in Spain she’ll write something like “You’ve worked so hard but don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  Whatever you do will be amazing.”  And Aunt Laurie will write “You’re going to kick so much ass!”  Gotta love that.

2.  Even though she has two daughters and just recently was blessed with the most adorable granddaughter – – she always makes time for me.  If I asked her to, she would drop everything to help me or talk with me.  Just knowing you have someone like that in your life, makes your life better in every way.

3.  She couldn’t care less about what other people think.  When my husband gifted me a rather expensive hand bag, I told her I felt a little silly using it around town.  She said, “If you like it, just use it!  Who cares what people think?  If you spend your time worrying about that, you’re worrying about the wrong things.”  After hearing that? I wore that bag when I was in sweatpants and a t-shirt to the local grocery store.  I love that bag.

4.  She gives the best hugs.  Olaf has nothing on Auntie Laurie.

5.  She gave Vaughn his first bath when I was afraid to.  She showed me that I can’t break my newborns and no matter what I do, it’s the right thing because I’m their mother and I love them.  She was right.

So yes, my mother dying was the worst thing that ever happened to me.  I suffered.  I still suffer but, having these women (and so many more!) surrounding me, teaching me, supporting me – has made me suffer so much less.  I feel downright lucky.  Some women lose their moms and have no one and nothing and I feel like I have everything.

Don’t even get me started about how ridiculously amazing my dad is

Happy Mother’s Day!



Do you have an amazing woman in your life who isn’t your mom? Tell me about her!

How will you celebrate Mother’s Day?


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  1. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    This. is. absolutely.wonderful. You are one lucky mama and they are lucky to have you! Happy Mother’s Day!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…High Five FridayMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Angela! I’m very lucky…and so are my kids 🙂

  2. Janine Huldie

    Aww, these three ladies sound truly amazing to me and I am so glad they have been constants in your life. I can’t even imagine what you went through or felt losing your mom at such a young age. But I guess the saying ti takes a village does apply here and love how you gave these women a shoutout here today. Hugs to you Allie and wishing you now also a very, Happy Mother’s Day 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Dear Mom…Happy Mother’s Day!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Janine! It truly does take a village. Happy Mom’s Day to YOU!

  3. Tina Muir

    Awww Allie! What a beautiful post! You have truly made the most of things, and I am not surprised in the slightest that you gained three more moms! I know your mum would be so proud of you for your wonderful attitude to life, and your three mums are proud of you too! This is so sweet 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted…The Importance of Keeping a Training LogMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Tina. I know you have a great relationship with your mom and it’s such a wonderful thing!

  4. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    What a beautiful tribute to all the amazing mamas in your life. But don’t forget – they are just as lucky to have you in their lives as you are to have them! Happy Mother’s Day!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…Happy Mother’s Day: 7 Amazing TruthsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Nicole! I hope you are home and happy in the arms of your whole family. Happy Mother’s Day!!

  5. LydiaF

    What an amazing tribute to the women in your life 🙂 I lost my father at a young age and found a new father figure in my father-in-law who was a sweet a man as you could want.
    LydiaF recently posted…Use a Treadmill to Increase Your SpeedMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Oh that is so great to hear! It’s so hard to lose a parent, but when you can find a similar relationship, it’s makes a huge difference.

  6. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Wow- you are incredibly blessed to have such amazing women in your life! Just reading about you losing your mom makes me almost lose it… I just can’t imagine. So glad you’ve felt supported in many other ways. And now YOU get to be an awesome mom, too. Enjoy the weekend!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Off to the beach + 5 by the 5th winnersMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That’s right!! Thanks so much Laura. Enjoy your weekend getaway and Happy Mom’s Day to you!!

  7. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    Truly a wonderful tribute to wonderful women. You are lucky! I still have my mom but don’t have the relationship that you experience with them. Great post!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Grand Island Half Marathon Recap & One Year BlogiversaryMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Kris. As far as I can tell, you are a great mom to your two boys. I hope they celebrate you on Sunday 🙂

  8. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    What a beautiful post Allie and tribute to these amazing women. So incredible to have so much love and support in your life. Lots of hugs to you and Happy Mother’s Day!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Friday Round-Up: A Life You LoveMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much Christine. I am truly blessed! Happy Mother’s Day to YOU!!

  9. thedoseofreality

    What an incredible group of women, all of whom are so important and SO amazing to read about. As a fellow motherless person, I wish I could hug you and them. :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…Pinterest Nightmare #695: The Rollie EggMasterMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Me too!! Group hug! xoxoxo

  10. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Allie what an amazing post! You are so lucky to have such wonderful women in your life. I’m not sure I would have the same support system if my mom were not around. I need her so bad!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Food & Fitness: Summer of Fitness Round 2My Profile

    1. vita88

      That’s exactly why I feel so lucky, despite having lost my own mom. Thanks Brittany! And – next year is YOUR year to celebrate mom’s day 🙂

  11. Jaclyn @ Bumpsweat

    What blessings! I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose your mom, but your life now seems so rich because of the bond you have with these special ladies, bonds that might not have been what they are without your mom dying. Cherish these ladies! I value the women who’re like 2nd and 3rd moms to me, who embraced me when we moved to a new city where I knew no one.
    Jaclyn @ Bumpsweat recently posted…Snapshots From My Week Home + Friday Fitness RecapMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It makes all the difference, doesn’t it? I’m so glad to hear you’re equally blessed with multiple moms!

  12. Lindsey Hein

    I may or may not have teared up reading this – how special each of these women are to you. Your mom knew what she was doing when she told Auntie Carla to take care of you guys. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Lindsey Hein recently posted…500 Festival Mini Marathon 2014My Profile

    1. vita88

      Yes, she did! Thank you so much!!

  13. Michelle

    This is beautiful, Allie. Really amazing. I don’t even have words, that’s how amazing it is.
    Michelle recently posted…Put an End to Distracted Driving: #DecideToDrive TodayMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Aw, thank you so much Michelle. That really means a lot!

  14. Rebecca Risley

    So beautiful! I don’t think I have ever read a post from you that hasn’t moved emotionally in some way, whether it’s motivating me to get moving or just moving me to tears, I always love reading your posts! And I want to say thank you to all these wonderful women that made you the amazing woman that I’m so glad to call a friend 🙂

    1. vita88

      You just made my whole year! Thank you so much Rebecca!

  15. melissa

    this made me cry. What amazing women you have in your life. I’m sure they are just as blessed to have you. happy Mother’s day!!

    1. vita88

      We are all definitely very lucky. Thank you so much Melissa!

  16. Dana

    You really are blessed to have these women in your life, and I can tell that you know that. My guess is that they feel pretty blessed to have you as a daughter, too. Happy Mother’s Day to all four of you!
    Dana recently posted…There is joy in the grayMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you Dana! Happy Mother’s Day to you too – it was a beauty in CT!!

  17. Kim

    My mom is still alive but we don’t speak and haven’t really for years.
    I had an incredible Mema until a few years ago – I’m fortunate that she was part of my life for just over 40 years!!
    Kim recently posted…One of My Favorite JobsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Absolutely! I hope you had a great Mother’s Day with your men Kim!!…not to mention a little race on Saturday…

  18. Tamara

    That handbag you’re referencing.. is that the one I ogled at the park? ‘Cause it’s awesome! And mostly – YOU like it. My purse has a rip in it. I need a new one.
    I’m pretty much crying here. The stocked fridge after Disney. I mean.. seriously. And Laurie’s wisdom and Joanne’s care for a grieving family.
    It’s all so good!
    Tamara recently posted…A Mother’s Day Tell-All.My Profile

    1. vita88

      Yes, that would be the one Tamara!! I’m laughing…:-)
      The fridge full of food was seriously the best gift I’ve ever received – including the hand bag!!

  19. Alison

    You are truly blessed, Allie! Everyone needs an Auntie Carla, Meme and Auntie Laurie in their lives.
    Happy Mother’s Day to them, AND to you! xo
    Alison recently posted…Through The Lens Thursday #19: DreamMy Profile

    1. vita88

      So true! Thanks Alison and right back at you!

  20. Auntie Laurie

    Like you I miss your Mother everyday. She was a very strong woman. She suffered ALOT in silence. She loved her kids more than life its self. You my dear Allie are alot like her in soooo many ways. She was tough on the outside but MUSH on the inside. She had so many happy years, unfortunely her life was cut to short.,but she does live on thru you. She would be so proud of you have become. Yes, me Joanne and Carla are here to guide and support you no matter what, but it is YOU who has overcome many obstacles in your life. Thank you for all the kind words. I love you Allie and you are sooooo going to Kick ASS in Spain.!!!!!!

    1. vita88

      You know this means everything to me. I just couldn’t love you more!!! Thanks Aunt Laurie!

  21. Tara Newman

    Darn you for making my eyes leak! What a beautiful post Allie. You are all lucky to have each other.
    Tara Newman recently posted…SuperMom is DEAD. I killed her.My Profile

    1. vita88

      Sorry!! Thanks Tara – hope you had a great mom’s day with zero sherpa duties 🙂

  22. emma @ be mom strong

    What a sweet post! And so glad God has blessed you so much!
    Happy Mother’s Day!
    emma @ be mom strong recently posted…Cheap Protein & A WinnerMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Me too! Thanks Emma!

  23. Sue @This Mama Runs For Cupcakes

    So sorry for the loss of your mom. We had a scare when I was around the same age with my mom thinking she had ovarian cancer as well, turns out she didn’t thankfully. You are so lucky to have 3 such great ladies in your life! My mom is the most important lady in my life and after her was my great grandma that passed away in January. Happy Mother’s Day to you!!
    Sue @This Mama Runs For Cupcakes recently posted…Who wants to drink? Wait…I mean RUN with me?!!My Profile

    1. vita88

      So glad you dodged that bullet and that you’re so close to your mom! Celebrate all that love and life!!

  24. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    All of this has be so emotional!! You are so blessed to have such amazing aunties!! I mean a fully stocked fridge after Disneyworld?! That is simply awesome…I love that they take such great care of you too. You are so lucky to have them! I love that you have so many qualities of your mom in all three women. So beautiful!
    Also, I was terrified (both times!) to give my newborns baths. Like scared out of my wits!

    thank you so much for coming yesterday! Your presence was so appreciated!! Everybody wanted to know who the girl with the guns are! hahaha seriously big hugs & Happy Mother’s Day.

  1. 12-Step Fitness Program for Out-of-Shape Moms – Multiples Illuminated

    […] I Lost My Mom and Gained Three More […]

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