Just the other night, I was going through old family photos with Jade and came across this Polaroid – a picture that says “I love you!!!” a million times over. As my eyes welled up with tears, I looked at Jade and said, “Wasn’t my Mom so pretty? You got your adorable cheeks from her.” And she said, “Really? I did?!”, and then smiled proudly.
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                     (My Dad, me and my Mom hugging tightly in our backyard.)
 
I often think about how I wish my Mom could have held my babies in her arms, how she would have sung to them as she did to me, “You Are My Sunshine”, or how she would have loved to stand by my side, watching my kids as they set off on their first days of school. Because I lost my Mom to cancer well before my kids were born, these dreams never became a reality. While I knew she couldn’t be with us in person, was there a different way to bring her along my journey in life? In time, I’ve found out that the answer is a definite and very strong “YES!”.
 
A few years ago, I explained to Jade my love for dragonflies and how they remind me of my Mom. I read her the story that ignited this love and we talked about it frequently. She caught on quickly, as she now picks t-shirts to wear with dragonflies on them, she will point a dragonfly out and say, “Hey Mom, there’s your mom!” and if she sees one when I’m not with her, she has another adult take a picture to send to me so I’ll know she too is thinking about my Mom. In these moments, it makes me feel like we’re all together – it’s beautiful.
 
Talking about my Mom with my kids has been and continues to be a huge priority. Not only does it help them understand how important she was to me, but it helps them feel as if they’ve met her. I know this because one day I made the mistake of saying something like, “You never got to meet my Mom”, to Jade, and before I could continue, she sternly interrupted me by saying, “Yes I have, I know her!!!”. This was a monumental moment for me. It told me that everything I had tried to do to make my Mom a part of my kids lives was working. How this has warmed my heart, words cannot explain.
 
All of these thoughts come at a precious time of year, two days before our family and friends come together as Team Camille’s Wings for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 5k run/walk in downtown Chicago. It’s a tradition that means so much to me, my family and friends who’ve also made it their annual day to celebrate a fabulous LADY. And I write LADY, because if anyone defined the word “LADY”, it was my Mom. This Sunday, we will walk for her, run for her, smile for her, cheer for her and just simply enjoy life together for her. It’s a truly wonderful day and I’m so thankful to everyone who helps make it so special.
 
So, it goes without saying that while I understand how hard it can be to keep people we’ve lost present in our lives, I urge everyone to try to do so. I urge you all to find your “dragonfly”, your “Camille’s Wings”, or whatever it is that you hold close to your heart, and embrace it. The power behind doing so may just surprise you.
Cheers and love go out to all of those who have loved and lost. As the saying goes, “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” – Charlotte
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(My sisters and I holding our Mom while on one of our annual family vacations to Isle of Palms, South Carolina – my most favorite place on Earth.)

21 thoughts on “

  1. I know I tell you this all the time but I really hope you understand how proud your Mom would be of you. You are strong, kind, generous and beautiful inside and out. It’s what all Moms want for their daughters. I will be there next year no matter what! Love you and I hope you and your family have a great day 😘

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  2. Dear Charlotte, Your story about your mom was sooo special. I was so moved by all that you shared….You have such a gift expressing your emotions and love —-just beautiful! And to teach Jade about your mom and “share” her with your daughter is wonderful… Honestly you should be an author! Loved it all —-YOU are quite a gal and I’m sure your Mom is so proud looking down. May God bless you for your strength and love all these years..So proud of who you are—- Love you, Wishing you a successful fundraiser on Sunday…. Karen

    “God’s grace is a rainbow against even the darkest sky.” ( unknown)

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  3. One more thing… may I share your story on facebook? It is a story that bears reading to all who know the Haase family….

    Karen

    “God’s grace is a rainbow against even the darkest sky.” ( unknown)

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    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlotte- the tribute to your Mother is beautifully written. She was a very special person to me- the sister I never had. Her generous and loving heart lives on through you and your sisters and your sweet children. We were all blessed to have her in our lives! Love you all- Karla 💕

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  5. Now that my eyes are dry…..I loved reading this! Your Mom will always be with not only you but Jade and Griff as well!!! She would be beyond proud of the woman, mother, wife and friend that you have become!

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