Deborah Karen Little – a Tribute to my mother

me and my mom 2012

I’m looking out my bedroom window right now and watching as the world is slowly consumed by white. Winter storm Jonas has gripped the eastern coast and particularly the north eastern states since late last night. I’m watching the bench in the front yard slowly drowning in snowdrift. The entire front yard looks like a pillow I could jump into from the second story, and maybe in a few hours’ time maybe it will be deep enough to do so. We’re already looking at 2+ feet of accumulation, and if the pace of the snowfall continues in this manner we’re likely to be snowed in under 4 foot drifts.

I know my mom would absolutely be loving this day. She was always fascinated with the way our backyard looked blanketed in the puffy white stuff, and though she never was a big fan of the cold there was something about the silence accompanying a blizzard that moved her. Maybe I’m assuming too much there, but I know snow storms have a calming effect on me, and my mom and I are more alike than either one of us ever admitted.

Unfortunately she wasn’t able to meet Jonas as she had lost her battle with cancer Friday, January 22, mere hours before the first snowflakes had begun to spiral downward from clouds pregnant with the stuff. She went in peace. She left us in the warmth of our home and she was as far away from being alone as you can imagine. She was comfortable. She was loved and she always will be.

There has been a storm ongoing inside me since yesterday, and it’s certainly not as peaceful as the winter weather outside. I feel so many things and while I’d rather not specifically say what those things are I can say that an overwhelming sense of relief has washed over me recently. I didn’t get to see my mom suffer and I didn’t see her taken away to a hospital where we’d only be able to visit and, theoretically — with the snow and the wind absolutely pelting the area in what could become a record-breaking storm — possibly not see her for days at a time at which point it might have become too late. No, given all of the possibilities, I’m actually pretty okay with the way things turned out.

At this point in my life I’m yet to find a reason to believe that there is a higher power looking over us and working us like puppets but I do believe in fate. I’m cringing because of the cliché but things absolutely happen for a reason. I don’t think it’s any coincidence my mom had passed and this weather swooped in on the same day, providing a welcomed distraction from the grieving. It could have been any old storm the northeast routinely finds itself caught in but there’s something special, something newsworthy about Jonas that has been cause for excitement and something akin to celebration. (Yay, it’s the first snowfall of the year!)

My mom and I didn’t have a particularly close relationship but I always have considered myself something of a ‘mama’s boy;’ I don’t really know how else to describe it. I think it’s all too easy when people pass on for those left behind to romanticize their relationships with that person, and that’s a phenomenon I completely get. It only makes sense as one is trying to process something as incomprehensible as death.  I don’t want to do my mom a disservice by lying about our relationship. We were less close in the years after I went to college in Tennessee and they moved to New Jersey. Separated by some 700 miles, it was all too easy (for me) to lose track of the time and that is one of my biggest regrets. I didn’t stay as in touch as I could have and should have. I won’t beat myself up over it but I can’t ignore it either.

What my mom was was a brilliant homemaker. She gave us everything me and my brother and sister needed. She was there for every major life event and she was there for most of the mundanities as well. She was just there. Always. Supportive, helpful, kind, interested. She has always supported my writing and I’m not sure how long this blog would have lasted if she never told me she was a regular reader. She was one of my biggest supporters and while I have an incredible following, losing that one really hurts. All of this is of course to say that DSB is going to continue. I was contemplating disembarking from this adventure but I find myself with a renewed purpose. And if not purpose, I need to maintain some sense of structure in my life right now. Never mind the fact that movies offer escapement.

With all of that in mind, I will be dedicating the next several reviews/posts to my mother. I don’t know if that is ever going to be adequate repayment for all  she has done for me, but it’s at least something. I love you so very much mom. Rest well.


And now — a Little galleria! 😀

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somewhere in Washington (I think)

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exploring the epic Cascade Mountain Range

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Very pretty.

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lounging in the snow.

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Christmas 2012, right before I left for Knoxville again

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Mom and my brother

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my mom always had a passion for art

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mom, dad and dog Casey

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with my nieces and her grandchildren, Chloe (on the left) and Tessa

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The Trip to Italy 😉

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. . . and yes, yes she was sitting right in front of Dennis Quaid.

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with my sister as she started school at Arizona State University

the Littles

one of my favorites

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54 thoughts on “Deborah Karen Little – a Tribute to my mother

    • Eddie, thanks a bunch. Very tough to reconcile what’s happened, but everyone’s thoughts here are really helping .

  1. Hey Tom. It must be really hard for you right now, but stay strong mate. My deepest condolences. A very nice tribute to your mom, I’m sure she was a great woman. May she rest in peace.

  2. Tom, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I haven’t been blogging over the past year while I’m in school and working a couple of jobs, but I do try to read friends’ sites on occasion and this one caught my eye. What a beautiful way to remember her by writing about her. Any words I or anyone else says can’t heal the pain you’re experiencing, but I pray that in time you’ll feel less and less pain and as you so beautifully described in her in this post, that you’ll remember the wonderful memories you shared together.

    You’re in my thoughts and prayers, Tom.

    -Kristin

    • Great to hear from you Kristin, very kind of you to say. It was difficult to make this post but in the end I really had to.

    • My heartfelt thanks to you Charles for reaching out. It’s been an extremely difficult few days but I’m hoping things get a bit better in the ones to come. Cheers sir, thanks for stopping in here.

  3. Tom, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. There really aren’t words to describe the pain of losing a parent, but yet you managed to write such a beautiful piece about your mother. I still struggle daily with my father’s passing, and I can’t promise you that it is going to go away, but I can tell you that it will get better. My thoughts are with you and your family in this difficult time.

    • It saddens me that we have this in common Natasha, but such is life! I want to thank you for your kind words and thoughtful comments, this is such a weird time right now for all of us and every bit of support I get makes the days easier. I think just continuing on the journey here is going to help me return to normalcy, somewhat. 🙂

  4. Ah, Tom 😦 Again, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing, and my deepest condolences go to you and your family. This was truly a beautiful piece to read, and I loved the pictures you added. Your mother looked like a happy, fun, adventurous lady!

    • That she was Zoe, she was an all-around great person. I’m going to truly miss her but thank god I have a blog so I can honor her! She’ll never be gone in my memory. The love I feel on this post has done a lot to help me stay strong in this trying time. Thank you ever so much for your support and with any luck things may start returning to normal sooner rather than later.

  5. Beautiful piece, mate. I’m so sorry for your loss but I’m glad to hear to some positives from this awful experience. Moving on and doing you’re mom proud is what I’m sure she would want. My condolences buddy!

    • Cheers good sir, thank you. Staying positive really is the only option here. In times past I almost enjoyed dwelling on the negative but that would be more than I could bear in this situation. I’m overwhelmed by the response to this post. It really moves me. Thank you so much for being there and giving me words of encouragement in such a dark time.

  6. Incredibly heartfelt post mate. Beautiful writing. I can’t imagine what it would feel like if I lost my mother, I dread the day. I am a massive mama’s boy, heh. I also consider you a buddy since I started blogging, and it is good to hear you sounding positive. My condolences mate, may she rest in peace.

    • Thanks a million Jordan, and indeed I consider you a good friend as well, more than just a blogging friend. It’s been great reading all these responses here, I’m really touched. Unfortunately yeah, this is all too inevitable this kind of stuff. At least we were lucky in a sense that there was very little suffering for my mom. She looked so beautiful. Wouldn’t have had it any other way. I will say though that it’s pretty fucked-up I even have to write this but hey, what can you do?

      • I’ve always found putting something like this into words can help, though I can’t imagine how your are feeling. It is a beautiful tribute mate, really. I’m sure your mother would be proud of the way her son can write 🙂

        take care mate

  7. Beautiful, tender, and incredible heartfelt. What a lovely tribute my friend. Unfortunately I work around this type of thing and it is so difficult. But you’re right, chance is too easy. Things do happen for a reason. It may not be immediately obvious but keep looking.

    So sorry for your loss and incredibly moved by your tribute.

    • Wow the outpouring of love on this post is really incredible. I have such wonderful supporters and it’s been greatly uplifting. Thanks to good people like yourself Keith I have had a bit easier of a time revisiting this post. It’s a painful one but one I had to do. What is it that you do, if you don’t mind my asking?

      • Well, I actually work in the funeral industry. None of the back room stuff. I take care of families when they come in for arrangements. I then see them through the process until the end of the service. It isn’t a fun job but it is rewarding. I live in a smaller town and know many of the people that come through. Knowing that I can take care of them and make sure EVERY concern they have is taken care of is the only reason I still do it.

        As for you, face it man, you have made a wonderful impression on the movie blogging community. That’s why when you hurt, many of us do with you.

        • Thanks for saying that Keith, that’s lovely to hear.

          And your line of work certainly seems challenging but challenging things often reap the biggest rewards. very interesting to know about what you do, thanks for sharing that!

  8. We’ve never met Tom, but I count you as a buddy and not just in the blogging sense, which is why your piece has left me so sad and heartbroken for you. Your words are demonstrably from the heart – as they should be – and are beautifully written. I’m quite sure she would be very proud of you and your decision to carry on with DSB, although difficult I’m sure, will be what she would have wanted judging by the sort of person you have so poetically described. Remember, there’s a whole community of bloggers across the world, all of whom are in your corner and wishing you all the very best. May she rest in peace.

    • Same to you my friend, of all the people I have met through this endeavor I count you as one of the few true friends I’ve gotten out of it. I feel very lucky in that way. And that’s certainly one major reason why this blog must continue. 🙂

      I have been abbsolutely overwhelmed with the response to this post. It really breaks me up inside. Words will never be enough, but I suppose it’s the essence of what’s being said that counts more than anything, and that also applies to the way my fellow blogging friends have made me feel in the last few days. I’m really moved by it all. Thanks so much for your kindness.

  9. Sorry to read about your loss, Tom. I don’t know what to say other than you’ve written a lovely tribute. Take care and I hope the coming weeks and months go as well as they possibly can.

    • Stu I know you recently have gone through this hell and I have to say now with experience I know the depths of despair you must have felt. I’m very sorry for your loss as well. This is truly a test for all of us but we Littles are pretty tough so we won’t be down for long. 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words, it’s truly appreciated by me and my family

      • It’s a tough thing for anyone to go through…I don’t think anything can prepare you for it, so you have my sympathy. I was glad to read you’ll still keep that routine of watching movies and writing though, as that was something I found really helpful myself.

  10. Tom, I am sorry for your loss. Promise you won’t give up the writing because you are really good at it. Your mother’s eyes are beautiful–you share them, too, I see. Your sister goes to ASU–right down the road. I hope she is doing well. Thank you for sharing the private side of you. Take care.

    • Hey Cindy thank you from the bottom of my heart. My mom certainly was a beautiful woman and she was so peaceful as she went. I hate to keep saying it but I’m glad the week is coming to a close. Time to start attempting to move on, as difficult as it’s going to be. One way to do that I think is to keep this blog running. I feel very strange right now but I guess that’s normal?

      My sister actually had to leave ASU for personal reasons but she was there for a couple of semesters in 2009. Beautiful looking campus.

    • Hey Mutey — thank you so much, I really mean it. This has been a nightmare of a week but it’s at least over now. Part of me wants this to be the last post on this blog just as a way to remember her but another part of me, a bigger part wants to keep going. I need something to keep me distracted! Haha! I’m just glad I’ve got such amazing support from everyone here, it’s really powerful stuff

      • Well, like everyone else I of course want to see you continue here as I love your blog and you’re an absolutely fantastic writer. But do whatever is best for you right now – everyone would understand. You know we’ll all be here for you whatever you decide. You’re a great guy, Tom, and you know you have the support of all us crazy bloggers.

    • No you’re right it’s impossible. But in the end I’m glad she is out of pain but I shall miss her dearly. Thank you so much for your comments Marta.

    • Hey Carly, thank you very much for your kind words. It means a lot to all of us. This was a difficult post to put out but in the end I absolutely had to.

  11. Hi Tom, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Being a mama’s boy myself, I can relate to what you wrote. I am also glad you are handling this in a positive way. Thank you for sharing the pictures, you got a beautiful family. My thoughts are with you.

    Sincerely,
    Mesh.

    • Those are wonderful things you’ve said Mesh, thank you. I’ve been surprised how positive I’ve been, this has been a rough week and I’m usually not so good at handling things when they don’t go my way! Haha. It’s OK though. I know my mom is truly at peace now.

  12. sorry for ur loss Tom! My words can offer little condolences, but at least she went peacefully. May u always remember the best of times with her. RIP 😦

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