Saying Goodbye to Mom


Two weeks ago today, my beautiful mother passed away at the age of 51 from her third battle against cancer. They say the third time is a charm, but in this case, it’s a bitch. For six months, I watched her health decline to a bed-ridden life where she eventually stopped eating completely, became incoherent, and was on a sporadic regiment of morphine just to take the edge off the pain. And excuse my French, but for those of you who have been through a similar situation, tell me that watching your loved ones die doesn’t fuck with your head for life. Needless to say, it has been a taxing year.

Throughout May and June, I had a house full of family members come in from out of state to help me see her through to the end. It was and still is a time of last words, endless tears, overwhelming nostalgia, and ruthless questioning about what could’ve been done differently. There isn’t anything I could say out loud or write on paper that would cover how grateful I am to my family, friends, and Souldiers for their love, prayers, and flowers (SO MANY flowers). You’ve quickly begun to fill a huge void that will take time to heal. Above all, I feel very grateful for the legacy, wisdom, and kindness my mother has left behind, and I’m relieved and happy she isn’t suffering anymore.


My cousin/brother from another mother and his wonderful boyfriend Zach playing with bubbles at the celebration. Zach spent 3 days concocting the perfect mix to make huge bubbles. All of his hard work was a great success.

On Father’s day, per mom’s last request, we held a celebration of life rather than a traditional funeral. The day was complete with gorgeous weather, good friends, stories, balloons, bubbles, and silly string. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect sendoff into heaven. For those who weren’t able to attend or expressed interest in helping but didn’t know how, here’s what you can do. Click this link to make a donation to the Energy Medicine Institute. After you enter all of your information, scroll to the bottom and be sure to check the box that says “My contribution is to the Barbara Sugiyama Memorial Scholarship Fund.” Before mom passed, she was just transitioning into a full time alternative energy practitioner. Though that dream never saw its day, it’s not too late for other aspiring healers. To get a better understanding of what energy medicine is, check out the following websites:,, and of course, Wikipedia. Most importantly though, what you can do is spend time with your loved ones, be kind to those around you, LOVE & LIVE with your entire soul. Do so now and often before it’s too late.


Flying to Phoenix earlier this year.

Future Travel Plans
On a happier note, I’ve been dabbling. With frequent flyer programs that is. The day after my mother’s celebration, all of my family members went home, and I promptly booked myself a trip to Calgary/Banff. The mountains have been calling, and I’ve put off answering for long enough. In my American Airlines account, I had 35,000 miles that were set to expire at the end of the year, and I’d be damned if I let all of that go to waste. I knew where I wanted to go so I went ahead and booked the cheapest flight I’ve ever paid for. $68 round trip from Detroit to Calgary. You know that feeling of success in trying something new that it makes you want to do it over and over again? That’s exactly the space I’m in right now.

With the first half of the year gone (freaking out just a little bit), I’m quickly running out of time to make my annual trip to Japan. I’m moving forward with the fullest intentions, however, and hope to book plane tickets in the next couple of weeks, finances and work schedule permitting. As I continue to accrue more American miles and Qantas miles, I feel Mexico and New Zealand on the horizon as well as some stateside travel. As plans solidify, you’ll be the first to know.

Regardless of everything that has been going on, I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular rhythm of writing again. See you on the road!

Where are you traveling this summer?


  1. So sorry for your loss, lady. But it sounds like you have A LOT of wonderful things ahead! Your so strong, and your mom will always be with you 🙂 Love the designs ANDDDD sooo wish I was coming with you to Banff!!! Have an amazing time.

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