Not Fully Baked

English: pink ribbon

“When you lose your mother at 18 years old, you’re not fully baked. That’s what we do with our daughters, we baste them,bake them and roast them.”


The above statement came from the Master of Ceremonies, Candy O’Terry, at the All4One Alliance “Dress for a Cause” fashion show I attended last night. It was part of her story, a poignant story about a stoic mom who had advanced stages of breast cancer. Her daughter watched her body fail from metastatic disease and sat with her in a bleak hospital room during her last four days of life. Because of this single event in her life, she is committed to a cause – that of helping increase awareness and funding for breast cancer research and support for women with breast cancer.

Watching moms at the event because of their daughters and daughters because of their moms was moving. The mother/daughter bond is a unique connection. I’m the only girl in a family with four boys and so my mother and I spent a lot of time together. Imagining my life without my mom is like imagining winter without Christmas, or days with no sunshine. She always makes things better. She always serves tea. The two seem to go hand in hand.

I was baked and roasted in a different way because of the surrogate mothers called housemothers at boarding school. Some were not very good cooks. Others were outstanding and my mom was grateful. It’s hard to give up your kitchen to someone else. Hard to let other people try their recipes that are probably not as good as yours.

Last night’s event was just as I imagined in the post I wrote yesterday – there were many hurting people in a beautiful setting. A lot of loss was represented in the room. Loss of friends, moms, daughters and grandmothers. But this was a group of women who were not going to be defeated by the death of someone they loved. They were there for a reason, for a cause.  In honor of their friends, moms, daughters and grandmothers, they came together to raise money so the rest of us don’t have to go through the sadness of losing the cook before we’re fully baked.

Having a worthy cause to fight for gives meaning during the times of loneliness and questioning “Why?”. These women were examples of true friends and warriors. They could have wallowed and wearied in loss. They have chosen to be active and live effectively despite loss.

In many ways the setting was a world removed from much of what is comfortable to me. As much as I love to dress up and go out, I am more emotionally comfortable in a village dispensing malaria medication. But both places teach me valuable lessons about living with a purpose and recognizing even the hard days as gifts.

What about you? Have you lost someone to breast cancer? Is someone you love going through the grueling process of chemo and radiation? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

11 thoughts on “Not Fully Baked

  1. One of my grandma’s died of breast cancer when I was a young girl…too young to be really impacted that much by it. I, too, am really close to my mother and can’t imagine being apart from her so I feel strongly for people who lost their mother at a young age. :(


  2. 19 years ago, God called James, my husband, home, after he lost his battle to Leukemia. We went through emotional turmoils and glimpses of hope after each chemo cycle, and at times I thought I could no longer get up and endure the pain. Nowadays, I remember the special moments — spending quality time in tiny hospital rooms and noticing how valuable each second was that we were granted to spend together. Loosing a loved one to any form of cancer teaches one to not take anything for granted in life. I praise my Lord and Savior for the wonderful gift I have in my daughter Jacqueline. She is the sweetest gift my husband left behind.
    To all who know what it means to loose a loved one to cancer or any other tragedy. Let us all remember that in eternity we will dance and sing together again.
    Love, Petra


    1. Every time I hear your story I feel like I am there with you, seeing you as this young married woman, in a strange country… Jacqueline is indeed a gift from God. Thanks for sharing the story in the comment section.


  3. My step-daughter, Sue, lost her Mum when she was 15. She was out on her pony, her grand-parents were visiting and a picnic was planned. When she returned home (no cell-phones in those days), it was to the news that her mother was dead.

    She and I have a lovely relationship, but it took a lot of time. I was hurt she had her children call me Wilma and then thought, perhaps there isn’t so much in a name – they always saw me as a grandma.

    It was when she was about to become a grand-mother herself that she said to me, “I wish I’d had my children call you grandma!”. She had been, understandably, jealous of her mother’s place. I am glad I could see how hard it had been for her and yet how she so much wanted her dad to be happy that she did her best to welcome me.


    1. Oh what a story Wilma. I read it over and over again. Thank you for sharing. The early days must have been a challenge…to love this man so much, and be so happy and yet to know that children are another part of the equation. It sounds like you were able to build the “grandma” relationship without the name, and relationship is what counts.


    1. Such a good question Lissa – and I remember when your mom died, feeling so sad even though I didn’t know her and hearing Annie talk about you, thinking about Annie and Stef and all my kids and how no mom should have to prepare their kids for their premature death. I have heard from women who were 40 years old when their moms died and still felt like they were in the “oven”. What the MC went on to say last night is that she ended up having adopted moms to “fill the gap”. That she sought them out, and they sought her out. Thanks for reading.


      1. This comment made me sad and is also a reminder that we are never quite ready to lose our parents. Whenever it comes, it’s a bit of a shock. Thanks for commenting.


  4. Happy Birthday to your mom! Thanks for the time reminder. I hate it when the busyness of life moves in and I bow to it, suddenly realizing I have not seen or phoned my mom in a while. Hope you and your mom have a great time celebrating life.


  5. I feel like “not fully baked” is a perfect analogy of losing your mother too soon. I’m very fortunate to still have my mother with me, but I think I take that for granted because we don’t see each other as nearly as often as we should. To my friends who have already lost their mothers at such a young age, I know what they would tell me–MAKE TIME. And having read this post….I will. Today is her birthday :)


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