Mia Marlowe
Mia Marlowe

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Mia Marlowe

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Mia Marlowefrom Mia Marlowe

No, I’m not talking about any of the fictional ladies I’ve read about or even the ones I’ve made up myself. I’m talking about my real life heroine, someone I respect and love very much. At the risk of sounding maudlin, it’s my mom.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing between us. I was terribly jealous of her when I was a chubby pre-teen. At that time she had a successful modeling career and her picture appeared in the Des Moines Register almost every week, demonstrating the correct form for an exercise column. She was so lovely, so slender, so . . . infuriatingly perfect! It was very hard to be a spotty-faced adolescent with such feminine excellence in the house.

I consoled myself with the thought that beauty is only skin deep.

624018797However, I learned in my mother’s case that beauty runs clear to the bone. Unfortunately, it took a health crisis to pound that into my head. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. When the rest of us were threatening to fall apart over it, my mom was a rock.  This was during the time when Walter Payton was in need of a transplant and looking for a donor. As my mother was wheeled off for surgery, she sang out, cheerful as a lark, “If anything happens, give my liver to that football player!”

Then came almost a year of chemo and radiation. She lost her glorious hair, but she didn’t let that stop her. She went out and bought enough wigs to wear a different one every day of the week.  Cancer was no reason to give up her love of bling. She always dressed to the nines when she left the house. Through the weakness brought on by her virulent treatments, she stayed strong on the inside. Her courage and faith gave the rest of the family strength. Even though she was the one whose life was on the line, she was always concerned first and foremost about how we were doing.

And I realized I’d always underestimated her. I thought her physical beauty was her defining quality. Instead it’s her indomitable spirit, her good humor and her will of iron.

Mom's Headshot

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I’m thrilled to report that she’s now 14 years cancer free and best of all, today is her birthday! So please send my mom a mental “Happy Birthday!” and make sure you’re current on your mammograms. She’d be the first to tell you to take care of yourself and that early detection is the key to a cure. Her “other-centeredness” is one of the many reasons she’s my favorite heroine and always will be.

Now it’s your turn to share. What woman (real or fictional) has influenced you and made a difference in your life?  Who’s your favorite heroine?


14 thoughts on “My Favorite Heroine

  1. catslady says:

    I too have to say my mother who celebrated her 90th birthday this year. She’s been the one to hold our family together. And she’s worked hard most of her life with no complaints. She never wants anything for herself and is always thinking of others. We do our best to spoil her now when we can and we had a wonderful party for her last birthday which she really enoyed.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Your mom sounds wonderful!

  2. Connie Fischer says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mom and congratulations on being cancer free! I am celebrating my 19th year of being cancer free after breast cancer in 1994. I have my annual mammogram in a couple of weeks. I always get nervous around that time and admit that I fret until I get the results. It is a nerve-wracking time, but I am thankful to have had this time as cancer free.

    I lost my Mom when I was 26 after her 10-year battle with cervical cancer. It was a very, very stressful time and I have many scars from it all. However, the medical community and research have made tremendous strides in finding cures. Let’s just all support this research not only to save our own lives but also those of our children.

    All the best to your Mom!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Connie, first congratulations on beating cancer. I’m four years out from a colon cancer diagnosis and two weeks ago I had a clean screening. In another year, my oncologist will hopefully use the other “C” word–CURE. I feel incredibly blessed.

      I’m so sorry about your mother, my dear. You’re right. We all need to support research that will end this disease that impacts so many families.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful blog, Mia! Happy birthday and congratulations to your mother. She sounds like a fabulous person.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      She really is, Kristan. And you know, she was the first one to put a romance novel in my hands.

  4. Liz Flaherty says:

    How beautiful your mom is. Happy birthday to her. My favorite heroine changes all the time, but right now it’s author Diann Hunt, who is fighting ovarian cancer with more faith, courage, and humor than I can even imagine. We share a birthday, and I feel blessed to know her.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Liz and thanks for sharing Diann Hunt with me. I popped over to her website to check out her work and it looks wonderful! DiannHunt.com

  5. Shana Shana says:

    Wow! What a fabulous tribute. I have always looked up to my grandmother, who is 94.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Shana. I was blessed to have my sweet little grandma till she was 94 too. She was such a loving presence in my life.

  6. Deb says:

    Your mother is beautiful….but, so are you, Mia! I have read many of your posts and blogs and comments on here and other sites. You are also a beautiful person, physically and spiritually.

    My hero is also my mother. She is the rock in the family when big or little things happen, good or bad. She also has to deal with my dad because he has Alzheimers. He repeats many things, doesn’t know simple things (such as losing his ability to do simple subtraction/borrowing), and sometimes forgets the grandkids’ names. She, a typical housewife of the 50s and 60s, has now taken over all of the finances and major decisions. She somehow makes my dad feel he is still making decisions, but, ultimately, she does all. She doesn’t have great physical health, but plugs along. God is good and I thank Him for both of my parents…..They will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary in May, and it will probably be the last that my dad will remember.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Deb, you’re so kind. Sounds like your parents are both wonderful people who know what love really is.

  7. You mom sounds fabulous, Mia! What a wonderful tribute to her. I hope she had a great birthday. Here’s to many more!

  8. Carol L says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your Mom Mia. She’s beautiful. I hope her day was filled with endless joy and happiness.
    Believe it or not it’s my 25 year old daughter who is my Hero and my champion. AT seven and a half she was diagnosed with Bone cancer. Spent almost one year as an in patient. Here’s the Mom falling apart little by little (in the bathroom where she couldn’t see) and here she is telling me everything we’re gong to do when she gets out of the hospital.She showed me a strength in someone so young that it actually kicked in my Warrior mode. :) Today my baby is 16 years Cancer free. :) So very Blessed we all are.
    Carol L.

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