A Different Kind of Christmas Story

I’m going to try and keep this story short and sweet. I’ve got to get some rest before a busy day at work tomorrow and then I have an early day of travel on Saturday to make my way to Connecticut for the holidays. For everyone who wished me luck with my Doctors appointment today, thank you. The GI thinks I have an intolerance to some type of food or a digestion issue, thankfully nothing more serious. I had to get some more blood work done and when I get back from CT I have a colonoscopy scheduled to check for (and hopefully rule out) things like Crohns and Colitis. Here’s to a happy, healthy gut in 2013!

This Christmas story has nothing to do with digestion or Doctors, it has to do with my mom and Christmas and the precious gift of life.

You guys can probably recognize my dad by now, he’s been featured on my blog a lot. It’s crazy how much he still looks the same after all these years! (Although he now has a little less hair and is a lot leaner.) The woman on the right is my mom, Jeri, she was 24 years old. I don’t think I’ve ever shared a photo of her on here before.  The beaming girl  in her arms is my sister at 2, and the little glo-worm looking baby on my dad’s lap is me. This picture was taken on Christmas Eve. I was three months old. It was our last picture as a family, and the only one I have of all four of us. My mom died a few hours later on Christmas morning from a brain aneurysm. She woke up with a headache, went to take a nap after breakfast to try and sleep it off, and was found unconscious a few hours later. By the time she got to the hospital she had passed away.

I really wish I had gotten to know my mom. Everyone said she had a huge heart, and an even bigger personality. She was spontaneous and fun-loving and full of life. Growing up when I was told how adventurous she was, and how she could be a little bit of a rebel I always laughed trying to imagine this woman, and wishing I could be more like her. My sister got my mom’s rock and roll genes. I got my dad’s love of country music, anxious personality, and cautious demeanor. I have been told I have her stubbornness though. And her eyes.

I am so thankful to my Dad. He had to take on a lot and he raised my sister and I so well. He took on the role of dad and mom and made it so that I never felt a hole missing in my life. I also had my grandma and Aunts who always were there for me when I needed a female figure. Now I am blessed with an amazing step-mom and an incredible future mother-in-law in my life who are sources of guidance and inspiration for me.

Jeri Erin Mom Baby Christmas GirlGoneVeggie Girl Gone Veggie

I never felt anything but joy at Christmas. My family of three was all I ever knew, I never felt like I could miss or be bitter about something I never had. Every year I look forward to family and friends getting together and celebrating the season with Christmas songs and food and presents. But every Christmas I also make sure to take time to reflect on the woman who gave me life, who was the first person to ever love me, and who I know I would be so close with if she were here today. I may have never gotten to know her, and I may not have a lot in common with her, but she is someone I aspire to be like in so many ways. She grew up with epilepsy and never let it hold her back from having a normal life. She was determined to do everything a mom does for her kids, if my dad couldn’t get off work and we had doctors appointments she would take the bus so we wouldn’t miss them. She made the best of every situation and she lived her life to the fullest.

I’d love to have more of her fearlessness, her courage, and her bravery. I’d love to have her advice as I’m getting ready to be married. Her and my dad were so happy together. I’d love to have her someday get to hold her grandkids. She loved her family more than anything. I would have loved to get to see her live longer than 24 short years on this Earth. It’s really not long enough. While I can’t change those things, I can love every day I’m given and make it count for her. And that’s just what I plan to do.

Merry Christmas Mom, I love you. <3


  1. says

    Your mom sounds like an amazing and wonderful women. Thank you for sharing your story about your mom. In regards to you colonoscopy best of luck I have crohns and have had 5 colonoscopy’s since I was 12, (I’m only 29!) If you need any guidance or support on that front please feel free to reach out to me.

    • says

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! I’ll definitely be contacting you once I hear back from the Dr with more info. Today is the first day I’ve felt like I have an appetite again and it’s an amazing thing. I’m just confused how I can have an upset stomach and digestive problems for three weeks and then it just starts to go away. Does that happen with Crohns?

  2. says

    What a beautiful post. It sounds like you have such a wonderful family and the short time that your mother was on Earth was filled with happiness that remains with you.

    • says

      I am so lucky to have the family that I do. I wish I could have spent more time with my mom, but I know the time I did have was so filled with love.

  3. says

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing with us this little piece of your life. Your mom sounds like a great woman, and it’s great that you’re incorporating some of who she was into your life as well!

  4. says

    Such a beautiful post about your mother. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s s tribute to your father (and grandmother and aunts) that you grew up never feeling like anything was missing!

  5. says

    I’m in tears reading this. What a beautiful Mother you had and the way you express your love and gratitude for her is so amazing. I might expect to read bitterness, or anger however, your words have style and grace to them. She is so proud of you, watching over you, protecting you with her huge angel wings.

    • says

      Thank you so much Lisa. This really meant a lot. I just wish I could share with her how much she means to me. A three month old can’t really express a lot.

    • says

      i am truly so very moved by your words.my mom is my best friend, so this is very dear to me. i know that your mother is so proud of the beautiful, loving person that you have become today. thanks so much for sharing this with us, and i hope you have an amazing day!! <3 spa love

    • says

      Thank you so much Carrie. My dad is amazing, I feel so lucky to have him in my life. I wish I could share this post with my mom, I would love for her to know how much I love her.

  6. Laura S says

    I only recently (two days ago!) started reading your blog, but I’m very glad I found it. Thank you for being so honest and real. Your story is amazing and inspiring. Your feelings embody the true spirit of Christmas…love, joy and greatfulness :-)

    • says

      Aw Laura I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog! Thanks so much for the comment. I always want my blog to be a place of honesty, my favorite blogs are the ones that are real, I want to be the same way.

    • says

      Thanks Heather! I wish I could have shared this with my mom, I just wish she knew how much I love her. I’m so thankful for my dad, he really is incredible.

  7. Pam says

    What a beautiful tribute to your Mother. She would be so proud of you Erin. I immediately saw the resemblance in you two.

  8. says

    What a bittersweet yet beautiful story. Although your mom’s physical time with with you here on earth was short, she will live forever in your heart.

  9. says

    Wow. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. We really do have to be thankful for family. I know your mom would be extremely proud of who you have become. You are a piece of her. Marry Christmas.

  10. says

    Thank you for sharing this. I know you wish that your mom could be here now but know that she is always watching over you and how proud she must be of you and your family for having such a close bond.

  11. Konnie Mazur says

    Merry Christmas, Erin! I found this story on Facebook where it was posted by your Aunt Kathi. She and I have been friends scince we lived next door to each other in RI when we were 10 years old. Your mom was just a toddler then, and my mom would babysit her while your grandparents went to work. Jerilyn was the cutest little imp and we all enjoyed having her in our home. I wish I could pick my mom’s brain for some memories she may have of your mom, but she too has passed away. Perhaps they are visiting each other in heaven. :)
    Wishing you and your family a beautiful holiday season!

    • says

      Aw Konnie thank you so much for reaching out and leaving this comment. It means more than I can tell you. <3 I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Thank you so much for sharing some of your memories with me!

  12. says

    Love this post. Your words show it really comes from the heart. It must have been hard to grow up without your Mom but you don’t dwell on that. Your Dad obviously did a fantastic job raising you. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.

  13. says

    Love your story! Its so nice that you are so grateful for your parents and show them LOVE! Your Mom sounds like an amazing woman! I lost my father when I was young and I always think of him and am grateful to him for creating me :) Love and Shine CourtStar

  14. Carol says

    Admire you Erin. What a great tribute to your parents. You have so much LOVE within you. Your father is the best to teach you so much so young. I know your Aunt Kathi in Honolulu, she and I became friends in Virginia so many years ago-while she was taking care of our best friend Sandi Serino. I know how this special “Love”, caring faithfulness, runs in your family. You are a very lucky woman who is greatly admired. I wish you the best with your health. The unknown makes us stronger.

  15. says

    Oh my goodness Erin, I never knew this about you and never realized your family had suffered such a tragedy. How wonderful that you take the holiday as an opportunity to remember her, even if you do not LITERALLY remember her. Your father must be such a strong, amazing man and I can totally see the resemblance between you today and your mom in the first photo! I hope you enjoy your family time in CT because you deserve nothing but the best, chica. <3 you!

    • says

      Aw Caitlin thank you so much! This was so sweet of you! I’m so glad you had such a great holiday season! Next time I’m in CT we need to hang out!

  16. says

    Wow, tears in my eyes. Your mom sounds amazing and your dad does, too– if he’s made it so that you enjoy Christmas and it’s a time of joy for you, I think he’s done an incredible job.

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