Goodbye, Mommy

I’m sorry to tell you all that my mother Elena McCreight passed away today after a yearlong fight with ovarian cancer. If you are friends with the family, please email me at blaghagblog at gmail dot com for funeral information. In lieu of donations and flowers, please donate to the cancer charity of your choice.

I will miss her more than I can put into words at the moment, but I’m glad she’s no longer suffering. I know her kindness, passion, and creativity will live on in me and my family.

I love you and will miss you, Mommy.


  1. OverlappingMagisteria says

    I’ve been running a 5K every September for ovarian cancer since my sister-in-law died of it (despite my inability to run more than a mile). Now there’s one more reason.

    Sorry for you loss.

  2. Pteryxx says

    I’m so sorry. Here’s hoping for solace for you and yours.

    Also, damn all cancers forever.

  3. Sean Boyd says

    I am so sorry for your loss. Best wishes from the 253 for you and your family.

  4. psychodigger says

    I lost my mother to cancer. It was terrible.

    Grief is a personal as relationships are, so I do not for a second assume to know how you feel, I only know that it hurts.

    My deepest condolences with your loss. Take care.

  5. primevilkneivel says

    I’m so very sorry to hear that. Stay strong, this will become easier to deal with.

  6. rq says

    Sympathies and condolences. :( I hope you all have each other’s kindness and support through this difficult time.
    I hate cancer.

  7. Numenaster says

    So sorry to hear this: cancer got my mom too, 11 years ago. Take care of yourself, you’re cherished even by people you don’t know (like me).

  8. drivenb4u says

    Was hoping to see a blog update soon but not quite like so… Stay strong and don’t fall into the pit.

  9. blondeintokyo says

    I’m so sorry, Jen. I lost my dad to cancer nearly 20 years ago, and it still makes me sad. When he died, I had the same feeling as you – at least he’s not suffering anymore. Cancer sucks. Hugs to you, sweetie.

  10. Sideshow Bill says

    Sorry for your loss. Wish you were writing more too, but I understand why you aren’t. Remember to take care of yourself.

  11. John Horstman says

    Oh, that’s so sad to hear. Jen, I wish you the best path possible through your grieving process, whatever it may be.

  12. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    So sorry for your loss, Jen. I lost my mom to peritoneal cancer (very similar to ovarian) in Aug of 2012. Hang in there and be good to yourself. Check out Grief Beyond Belief on Facebook for a good place to mourn/grieve away from God-talk and such. It was very helpful for me.

  13. Andy Groves says

    I’m so sorry, Jen…… you and your family are in my thoughts. My mum died of cancer 26 years ago when she was just shy of her 48th birthday, and although the passing of time has made it easier to deal with, I still miss her. Thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way.

  14. playonwords says

    Your loss is terrible; may the good memories will remain whilst the bad fade.

  15. leftwingfox says

    I’m so very sorry to hear of your loss Jen. Best wishes to you and your family.

  16. swampfoot says

    So, so sorry, Jen. I hope your pain can eventually be transformed into fond memories that will make you smile when you least expect it.

    I lost my own mom in 2011 to lung cancer at age 70. My other two siblings and I found it somewhat therapeutic to compile a list of things she had done and what kind of person she was. It was a surprisingly long and impressive litany of things that made us appreciate what kind of life she had, even if at first thought her life might have seemed uneventful. I suspect that if this were carefully done for almost anyone, it would make for an interesting epitaph. Here are a few (very few) examples from the list:

    -Opera Aficionado
    -Fluent French Speaker
    -Empathetic Hospice Volunteer
    -Classical Pianist
    -High School Truant
    -National Merit Scholar (I know that seems incongruous)
    -According to her principal, “The Smartest Girl in the History of Byrd High School”
    -Private Pilot
    -Voracious Reader

    I hope your best memories of her will remain the strongest, and thanks always for your blog and your wonderful writing.

  17. cicely says

    *hugs, or other acceptable-and-non-intrusive gestures of comfort, sympathy and support*

  18. Steve Caldwell says

    I’m sorry for your loss. Remember to take some time to take care of yourself — “self-care is not selfish.”

  19. mnb0 says

    I know how you feel as I lost my father 6 years ago. I wish you all the strength you need.

  20. Nakkustoppeli says

    My condolences. My father died four years ago and exactly as in Your mother’s case, I miss him, but I’m also glad he isn’t suffering anymore. Us, the living will go on living, but it’s never the same anymore.

  21. spitefulfox says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My grandmother just received results from a biopsy confirming breast cancer, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to go through a similar ordeal in the near future.

    Cancer sucks. :(

  22. katybe says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It may be too soon for you to think about reading this kind of thing, but when I had to choose a reading for my grandfather’s funeral, I put a lot of time into finding a completely non-religious poem, and this one helped me immensely, both then and in the following few years. The sentiments within it say everything I’d like to say to express my condolences if only I were more eloquent at these times.

  23. kaboobie says

    Jen, you and your family have my deepest sympathies. May your happy memories of her be of comfort to you.

  24. opposablethumbs says

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I still miss my mother and always will; all my sympathies are with you. I hope you and yours have all the support of family and friends.

  25. Peter the Mediocre says

    My deepest sympathy. It’s very sad to lose someone, especially to a slow and painful illness. My thoughts are with you, FWIW.

  26. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss Jen. My mother died of cancer seven months ago and my father has been gone since 1980. I wish I had some way to make it all better but I’ve yet to find any kind of universal from my experiences. Grieving seems to be one of those things that is so subjective as to be intractable to advice, at least for a layperson such as myself.

    I am going to repeat some of what I said* at my mum’s funeral simply for the sake of sharing one perspective on the grieving process. Nothing proscriptive is intended.

    Picture a very new-agey Anglican Church. The priest has a rainbow pin on his lapel and we spend some time discussing how they bless same-sex marriages. I mention that I’m an atheist and he says he doesn’t care. This is my mum’s congregation. I’ve never met them before and I immediately like them.

    In the front pew sits my brother and his family. They are not new-agey. No, they are evolution denying, “bible believing”, speaking in tongues, Uganda mission tripping fundamentalists. We tolerate each other, mostly through the expedience of living on different continents.

    In my speech I talked about some of the hardships my mother faced. I wanted these people who only knew her at the end of her life to understand just how far she had come. And I talked about how I as an atheist delt with grief:

    ….If I’m right about my beliefs I will never see my mother again. And if I’m wrong about my beliefs I will never see my mother again.

    I love my mother. Notice the tense, it’s love not loved. I love her even though she’s no longer here to receive that love.

    I grieve. How can I not, for grieving is love transformed by absence. My mother will always be absent and I will always love her, so what do I do about that grief?

    All I can do is recognise that I am not alone. I can recognise that I’m surrounded by people who love and are loved in their turn. We are surrounded by a vast web of loving relationiships, inivisible yet real for all their intangibleness. And to be clear: I’m talking about real human emotions here, not some metaphysical notion of god is love or suchlike. I can do everything in my power to support and sustain those relationships, to increase the peace and joy in the world, to make the world a better place so that people may love each other unfettered. And in this way I can perform a strange alchemy of the emotions; I can turn my grief back into the love from whence it came…..

    The looks on the faces of my brother and his family were priceless. I was so far off script from their notions of atheists that they clearly didn’t know how to take it. I’m not gloating about this, despite thier beliefs they are good people. But will admit to a certain satisfaction in how clearly the cognitive dissonance was displayed in their struggle to make sense of what I had said.

    Then we ate cake, and we all went home.

    *A paraphrase only, I didn’t write any of it down and frankly some of what I said was lost in the emotions of the moment.

  27. gussnarp says

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Jen. Take care of yourself and do what you need to do. My condolences to the whole family.

  28. says

    My deepest sympathies for your loss.

    My mother died when I was five years old, and I miss her to this day. Your mother will live on in you and your family.

  29. Scr... Archivist says

    Jen, please accept my sincere condolences. I never met your mother, but since you have written about her several times on this blog and your Twitter feed, this news nevertheless is making me sad. One more reason I hate cancer.

    Remember to take care of yourself, and consider sharing our best wishes with your family.

  30. says

    Thank you all for this outpouring of love and support. My dad and I are doing about as “okay” as we can be. Don’t worry, we’re sleeping and eating and taking care of our own health. I’m lucky I arrived home in time to speak with her so we could chat and tell each other how much we love each other, because by the next day she was incoherent, and for the four days after that she just slept without waking. The past week of watching her in a medical bed in the living room of my childhood home, waiting for death to come and bring her peace, was harder than her actual passing.

    We’re preparing for the funeral, which we’re going to keep simple and have a lot of photos, say some fun stories, and invite others to share stories as well. My mom wanted it to be a happy event, because that’s all she ever wanted for anyone – to be happy. Even at her worst when she looked like she had been in a concentration camp, all she cared about was that we would remember to still enjoy every lucky day we have on this earth once she was gone.

    In reality, I feel like I really lost my mom a year ago. She suffered so immensely that you don’t even know, so I am glad that has ended. And I am glad to have some closure so I can start to heal and move on.

  31. imnotspecial says

    So sorry for your loss. I am happy to read though that you are in a good place. Go on loving. It is the best medication.

  32. laurencocilova says

    Jen, I’m so sorry to hear this. My mother died in 2012, after a long battle with what started as breast cancer. It is just so fracking unfair and so difficult, for everyone. My heart goes out to anyone who has to struggle with this bullshit awfulness.

  33. sakzn says

    Hi Jen. So sorry. My mother, aged 75, passed away yesterday quite suddenly. I share your grief. No matter when in life you loose your mother the pain is great.

  34. pensnest says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish you a hoard of happy memories to comfort you when you are ready for them.

  35. leigh says

    Oh Jen, I’m so, so sorry. I just lost my dad to cancer about a month ago. *hugs*

  36. procrastinator will get an avatar real soon now says

    My condolences to you and your family. I’ll echo the I hate cancer.

  37. Martin Williams says

    Sorry for your loss. Cancer took my mother-in-law 18 months ago and my wife still hurts.

  38. satanaugustine says

    I am so so sorry, Jen. Losing a loved one, especially a parent, is one of the worst things in the world. I feel for you and hope that you have plenty of support for your healing process. This just makes me so sad. I love you as a friend and fellow human being who suffers the same kind of pain the rest of us. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. If there was anything I could do to lessen your pain I would. I feel an extra amount of empathy for you because my dad is 86 years old and is suffering from chronic illnesses.

    Jen, I hope you make it through this OK.

    Frank Wall

  39. catlover says

    Oh, Jen…….I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you. Please take care of yourself and know that there are many of us out here who care deeply about you.

  40. brakemanz says

    I too am so sorry for your loss. I wish to leave a word of encouragement though.

    Your mother lives on within you. You are genetically 50% her and 50% of the man your mother loved, your dad.
    You are the time capsule that she created by filling you with her wisdom and love. She will be alive as long as you are.

    I’m sure she was very happy and proud of what her life had accomplished, and you represent her very well.


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