The Next Chapter, Without Mom

Mom and me, Book Revue, October 2012

Mom and me, Book Revue, October 2012

When I was a little girl, my mother would leave notes for me around the house. And she would always sign them, “I love you desperately.” Three weeks ago, my mom called me at 5:30 a.m. from her hospital bed to remind me that she loved me. And she called it out to me as I was leaving her house two Sundays ago, the last day I would ever see her. My mother died a week ago on Thursday, March 21, after a relatively short, but ugly battle with cancer. It is a sad time for my family and for those who were lucky enough to be a part of my mother’s world. There will never be another person like her.

This morning, WordPress reminded me that today is my three-year blogging anniversary. I can still remember the day I started this blog as a way to jump-start my way out of an awful writer’s block. It worked. I managed to get my first novel written and published, and my mom was there every step of the way. She read Baby Grand as an eBook — the first eBook she’d ever read, proudly downloading the Kindle app software onto her computer all on her own. She  sent emails to all her friends telling them about Baby Grand. This morning, I found this one, sent to an Atlantic City chum and cc-ed to me:

“How are you? R U gong this weekend? Just an fyi. Dina’s book is on Amazon. Here is the link to go on Amazon and request the book either on a kindle or right on the PC. It’s only $1.99 and I have to tell you I read it in 3 days. It’s THAT good. Not because she’s my daughter but because it’s THAT good. I read it off the PC and it was perfect for me. You can enlarge the font if necessary.”

She gave a copy to her Atlantic City slot host, demanded to know why some of my friends and family had not yet read the book, needled my dad, a thriller lover, for taking so long to read the eBook (although he’s a hard copy kind of guy, my mother insisted he read the eBook rather than wait for the paperback that was coming out a few months later). During the last days of her life, I contacted her oncologist to inquire about my mom’s health. When he answered the phone, I said, “Hi, my name is Dina Santorelli, I’m Pat Santorelli’s daughter.” He responded, “I know who you are. I have your book.”

In her pain, my mom carried copies of my book to her doctors’ offices, handing them to her oncologist, her renal doctor, and their office staffs, copies she had obtained in October when she wedged her bloated feet into high heels so she could attend my first book signing at Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y.

Part of the reason I decided to self-publish Baby Grand was because I wanted to share the excitement of my first book with my parents as well as my children, and not wait around for a traditional publishing deal which could take years to happen, if it happened at all. I knew it was a special time for us, and realized suddenly that time was fleeting — my mom had recently undergone a hysterectomy to remove a cancerous tumor, which, in the end, would return and ultimately lead to her demise.

It is very difficult to think about my life, moving forward, without her here. As I wrote in the acknowledgments of Baby Grand:

To my Mom, who has always been my greatest champion and told me she would read my book even if it were written on a napkin. You have made me everything I am and truly are the wind beneath my wings.

I miss you, Mom. We all do. And I will always love you. Desperately.


13 thoughts on “The Next Chapter, Without Mom

  1. Hi, I’m very sorry for your loss. Think that’s very inspiring how you wrote your book, and your mother was cheering you on. Makes me want to write an e-book, but I don’t know what to focus on :)

  2. Our mothers are our biggest champions and fans. Your mother sounds like a lovely, supportive person. It’s so clear you two had an amazing relationship. So wonderful she got to read your book, see your book, and root for you!

  3. Dina – what a wonderful tribute to your mom. I was lucky enough to have been at your book signing and remember your mom well. How proud she was of you that day. Always remember the good times. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  4. Dina this was absolutely beautiful and such a moving tribute to your mother. What a blessing she was in your life. She will always be with you in your heart and be part of
    the very fabric of who you are for the rest of your life.

  5. Dina. I stopped by to check in on you and your blog, and I see this. I’m so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful, supportive mother you had. I’m so glad you got the chance to share your incredible achievement with her. May the incredible gift of being loved desperately by someone live on inside you forever. xo

  6. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. My mother did the same, left little “I love you” notes around the house, in my lunch box. My heart goes out to you; she sounds like a special lady.

  7. Dear Dina,

    I love this picture of you and your mom at your book launch. What a treasure to keep. I loved reading about her faith in you, not only as a daughter but as a writer. What a blessing she was to you and your family. I’m so glad she got to witness your many successes as a journalist and novelist.


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