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Missing Mahlon

Grandma Donna, Mom, Mahlon & Me Behind the Camera

“ . . . our collective picture of what makes us happy is more about relationships, and less about things.” ~Science Daily

Shortly after we moved into the tiny house in October 2011 my Mom and step-dad, Mahlon, drove to Portland to see the house and to hang out with us. They spent a week in Portland and they helped us do so many things. Together, we cleared out our apartment in Northwest Portland and we moved the last of our belongings into the tiny house. Plus, we ate amazing food together, walked through pumpkin patches on Sauvie Island, and visited friends.

At the time, Mahlon’s health was declining, however he seemed better on this trip. He was on new medication and as a result he had more energy and he wasn’t as forgetful. I felt hopeful that something bad wouldn’t happen to him. Unfortunately seven months after the memorable Portland trip, Mahlon died.

I miss Mahlon. I miss his laugh and I miss his smile. And I miss talking to him on the phone. I still pick up my phone thinking of calling him; to share the latest news and realize I can’t.

The pangs of grief I experienced during Mahlon’s illness and after he died aren’t as intense, but they are still there. Grief is a tricky thing. On one hand, it’s painful. And on the other hand, grief has given me so many gifts. Losing Mahlon reaffirmed why I simplified my life and why I continue to keep working for myself (even when it’s hard).

Life isn’t perfect and it isn’t easy. But there is always room to practice gratitude and to pay attention to your loved ones. Today, I challenge you to reach out to one close friend or family member and . . .

  • Make a phone call
  • Write a letter
  • Send a care-package
  • Or give the person a hug

It’s the people in our lives that matter the most, not stuff, money, or trivial worries. Intuitively, I know this to be true and recent happiness studies suggest something similar. Don’t waste the opportunity to show your love, today.

Be well,

Note: Pictured above is my Grandma Donna, my mom, and Mahlon. We are on top of the Statue of Liberty and I’m behind the camera.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Miranda October 9, 2013, 5:37 pm

    I can really relate to this post. My mother died in May of this year. I still pick up the phone to call her, or do other things before I remember that she is gone. Even 8 years after losing my father, I still have moments where I forget. I am blessed, though, because I had nothing unfinished with her. Everything I wanted to say, I had said. Everything we wanted to do and could do, we did. I have a great sense of peace because of that; I have no regrets.

    After my dad died years ago I made it a point to life my life that way, and it has been challenging at times to push myself, but it has been very rewarding. After he died I also made it a bigger point to pay more attention to the little things in life I am grateful for each day, and this has helped me deal with the loss of my mother. Losing both my parents so young has really reinforced the idea that we don’t know how long we have on this Earth. I want to ensure that the time I do have is as great as it can be. Even in my grief, as I make time for my tears, I also make time for laughs.

    • Tammy Strobel October 11, 2013, 11:33 am

      I’m so sorry about your folks Miranda. I don’t have regrets either. I’m grateful that I made time to be with Mahlon with he was here. And, I know he’s still with me. He’s in my memories and I think of him everyday.


  • M October 9, 2013, 9:41 pm

    I wish I was on good standing with my mother. I know my dad’s time will come soon, after two strokes I can see him slipping further and further away each year. I just don’t have a good relationship with my family and it fills me with so much regret.
    You are so lucky to have had caring parents. 🙂

  • Darris October 10, 2013, 10:13 am

    What an awesome guy and what a gift to have him in your life . . .

    Beautiful, poignant post Tammy . . . at times we all need reminders that our time here on earth is limited . . .

    • Tammy Strobel October 11, 2013, 11:34 am

      Thank you Darris. Mahlon was a wonderful man. I’m so grateful that he was part of my life. Have a good day!

  • Rusty October 10, 2013, 1:23 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss & thank you for this post. I can never have too many reminders to keep my focus on what really matters.

  • Anne-Marie October 10, 2013, 6:31 pm

    I can totally relate to this Tammy. As I believe I mentioned in another comment, my mom passed away in July this year. We had been talking on the phone every week for the past 16 years since I came to the US. It feels a bit odd not to have those conversations any longer. But time moves on and you adjust.
    People who have passed still live inside of us and we can connect to them. 🙂 And I also believe that our lives are not ending because we leave this dimension. We go on and maybe come back to earth or do something else.
    Hugs to you!

    • Tammy Strobel October 11, 2013, 11:38 am

      Thanks Anne-Marie. I’m doing much better now. It’s been over a year since Mahlon died, but it’s still hard sometimes.

      I loved this portion of your comment:

      “People who have passed still live inside of us and we can connect to them. 🙂 And I also believe that our lives are not ending because we leave this dimension. ”

      That’s so true. Mahlon is still with me; in my memories and in my heart. Again, I’m so sorry about your mom. I hope you are taking care of yourself.

      Be well,

  • Barbara October 11, 2013, 4:43 am

    What a beautiful picture and definitely a reminder of all that is important in life. Amazing people are even a blessing after they’re gone away from us … like Mahlon. What a great Man.

    • Tammy Strobel October 11, 2013, 11:39 am

      Thanks Barbara! There is a long story behind that photo. We had such a fun day together. I should write a post about it sometime. Mahlon was a wonderful person and we all miss him.

      Thank you for reading!

  • Lisa Black October 12, 2013, 1:42 am

    Tammy, your picture is heartwarming. Everyone looks relaxed and happy. I keep pictures, copies of cards, notes in a folder titled ” Warm and Fuzzy”. When life is pressing in on me, or I am missing my Dad or other family and friends who have died….. I go through the “Warm and Fuzzy” folder. I am reminded of moments I am grateful to have shared with others. Practicing gratitude …..just one simple act reaffirms others value and our own. Life is so much more than things…it is time spent with the ones we love!
    I hope your Mom is well. Thank you for sharing your Warm and Fuzzy moment and for reminding us to practice gratitude, Lisa

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