Thursday, October 6, 2011

Remember Me

October is here and so is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  It's been 11 years since my sister-in-law, Debbie, lost her life to breast cancer at the age of 33.  At one point in her 3 1/2 year battle, she told us that she hoped she would not be forgotten.  So today, once again, I am dedicating this post to "Auntie Debbie".

Debbie, with our daughters on the right and niece on the left.

The picture above was taken on December 24, 1999 which was to be Debbie's last Christmas.  That night, she gathered her many nieces and nephews together and presented her "teen sex talk".  While it may not be the topic of conversation at most Christmas Eve celebrations, no subject was off-limits to Debbie.  You see, she was a teacher and coach, and although she did not have children of her own, she had hundreds of "children" she mentored each and every a most entertaining way.

Later that same night, Debbie shared with us a video her students helped create to be played at her funeral.  The song you hear on my playlist (Landslide by Stevie Nicks) was one of the songs Debbie chose for the slideshow.  When it was over, she turned to us and said, "Wasn't that great!  Doesn't it just make you want to cry?"  We sat there in silence trying to choke back our tears.

Debbie's funeral was held in the gymnasium of South St. Paul High School.  On an unseasonably warm and sunny March day, we walked the mile-long road to the cemetery where she was buried overlooking her beloved school.  When we reached the top of the hill, somebody said, "Turn around."  We did, and what an amazing sight!  A sea of friends followed behind to pay their last respects to Debbie.

Debbie will not be forgotten at South St. Paul High School which she endowed with a perpetual scholarship awarded each year to a female athlete.  She will not be forgotten by her supportive friends who were there for her in her time of need.  As for her family, we have videos to watch and pictures to look at, but mostly, we will remember her sweet smile and kind nature.

This month, The DIY Club  is hosting an on-line auction to raise money for breast cancer awareness.  I am donating a special Studio 911 sock monkey I created just for this occasion.

She is wearing a vintage chambray jumper, accented in pink.  Her hat is also vintage, but she carries a new designer pink handbag.  Her pink breast cancer pin was given to me by an oncologist I worked with for a short while.  Even her wrist and ankle pom-poms are a lovely shade of pink!   

And that's not all.  I'm also including a very limited edition signed copy of my "Five Little Monkeys" book.

For details, you can log on to The DIY Club here.

This little monkey would love to sit on a shelf in a little girl's room, or decorate a corner of your office.

And, by the way, her name is.......



  1. Ohhhh....That was such a sweet post. I am at work...crying again.

    Love you, Auntie Debbie! She would definitely love to see she was being written about. And pictures, too!

  2. While so sad this is also a beautiful tribute to your sister-in-law! I have lost a good friend to this awful disease and she was also a very beloved teacher. Your wonderful sock monkey should raise some funds for cancer research for sure.
    hugs, Linda

  3. what a sweet post. im sure youre going to bring in lots with that little gal!

  4. What a wonderful way to love and honor your SIL Debbie. How sad that her life was lost so young. Your sock monkey and book are adorable. I am sure that they will bring a smile to whoever ends up with them.


  5. Such thoughtful and special post. Thank you so much for contributing to the 31 Days of Hope fundraiser at The DIY Club! So special!!

  6. What a beautiful and inspiring tribute to Debbie! Love your sock monkey!...hugs...Debbie

  7. Very touching post and tribute for your beloved SIL...

  8. Such a lovely post in memory of your beloved SIL, Debbie. She has left a legacy and many funny memories, too. I enjoyed reading about her.

    God Bless you and your family,


  9. What a very touching post. Although I'm sure it hurts, you are so lucky to have such great memories of someone who obviously touched your life so richly. Your autumn photos are beautiful. I would love to experience such autumn beauty some day.


  10. This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for being a part of the DIY Club's online auction and for sharing your story and talents with us.
    504 Main/DIY Club


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