The other day was my mama’s 70th birthday!
She is an incredible, wise, and courageous woman, with such incredible energy and youthful spirit. I had dreamed up a beautiful celebration in Croatia for her but, right now, life is a bit challenging (on many different levels).
She always taught me to be strong and think positive thoughts… So, I won’t lament what we don’t have (thanks a lot 2020!), but I’ll celebrate with her over a facetime call 🙂
AND by sharing a little piece of her with you 🙂
At the end of (un)Broken, I wrote:
My Mom has a huge burn scar on her right arm. Her left arm was severely broken in a car accident, leaving her with more scars and immobility. But she always wore her ‘visible’ brokenness with confidence. It never prevented her from being a healer, a nurturer, a source of love and comfort to her children, grandchildren, and countless friends.
As much as my Dad influenced my music, my Mom gave it air to flow through, vibrate and heal.
In a second, I’ll share a story I wrote about my mom’s healing hands. I originally wrote it in Croatian – for the Franciscan magazine I write each month.
But first, here is a song she picked as her favorite: “Cuj nas Majko” an old folk song to Virgin Mary (English translation: Hear us, oh Mother).
My mom grew up in a village just northwest of Zagreb and she would often talk about the Angelus bells ringing from the little church and her mother singing this song. I recorded it with my sister in 2000 for the Now and Forever album.
My mom is a healer. She’s always been one.
She puts her hands on the place where I hurt and the warmth radiates out of them, penetrates my skin, and relieves the pain underneath. When I was a teenager, I contracted rheumatic fever and my ankles, elbows, and knees ached so badly that I cried in pain. Nothing would help except my mother’s hands.
Last summer, when she came to be with us, she would check on the flowers and our vegetable garden beds each morning. Our neighbors were asking what we were using to treat the ground because the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and everything else were exploding with fruit. “It’s all in my mom’s hands,” I’d smile.
My mama Stefy
When my sons were little and they played with their baka (Croatian for grandma), I observed how they never paid any attention to the fact that she wasn’t able to stretch out her hand to catch a ball, or to stretch to reach a Frisbee caught in the branches of a tree.
To this day, they don’t hesitate to arm wrestle her, even though the muscles on her right arm are covered with a burn scar from her childhood. They only noticed her scars after I had told them about the stories they held: of pain, healing, strength and the ability to always find joy in life no matter how hard it got.
“What happened to Stefy?” a friend asked me once after we had coffee with my mom.
I told her how, as a 7-year-old girl, she fell into a pot where her mom was cooking food for the pigs. It was Christmas Eve and in her small house in Zagorje the warmest place in the house was a sturdy mantel above the wood burning stove. My mom sat there with her sister until her mom called them to watch their little baby nephew.
Little Stefy slipped and fell into the pot. Hot grease coated her arm, burning through the layers of her skin.
No one realized just how bad it had been. She endured the pain without screaming because she didn’t want to scare her mom. The next morning she was transported by a horse-drawn sleigh to the train that would take her to Varaždin, the nearest city with a hospital.
Somewhere along the way she lost consciousness.
Although all of the medical procedures were free, her father sold the family cow so that they would be able to come to visit her often. The treatment lasted for a year and was very painful. The entire time she was alone and separated from her mother, sisters and little brother.
Only her father and brother, who worked in Varaždin, could come to visit her. After a long time and lots of suffering, the wound finally healed and became a scar that would carry her story and deep suffering through life – but would never crush her strength, joy and love, or disfigure her beauty.
In high school my mom entered a beauty pageant. She walked proudly on a runway, until the swimsuits segment. Then she withdrew, realizing that her wound would be considered as something ugly.
When she was 31, a family friend offered to pay for a plastic surgery, but my mom declined. She likes to remember how I told her that I woulnd’t be able to find her on a beach because she’d be like all other ‘ordinary’ moms. In that moment, for her, the scar on her arm became a crack filled with gold.
A few years later my mom was in a car crash. She suffered a concussion and fracture of the left elbow. The doctors that operated on her said it was fortunate the accident took place near a Slovenian hospital where there were specialists who knew how to save her arm without amputating.
Another fortunate circumstance was that the fracture happened on her healthy arm. The surgery was very complicated so physical therapy could only restore 60% of the mobility. My mom never complained about it. She was too focused on being grateful that she had survived.
Here are some questions to reflect on this week:
- In what ways have your parents/loved ones influenced you? How does that show up in your life today?
- Are there times when you get pulled in the direction of your parent, rather than your own?
- What’s one thing in your life (past or present) that you can reframe by looking at it with gratitude?
- How can your brokenness become a crack filled with gold?
Have a wonderful week!
Tatiana “Tajci” Cameron is an award-winning music artist, published author, inspirational speaker, and certified transformational and spiritual life coach.
She has many passions and is dedicated to helping others while also creating an enriched life for herself and her three sons.
When Tajci is not on the road performing gigs, she volunteers with local organizations dear to her heart, spends time with loved ones (often involving music!), and collaborates with other artists to bring creative projects to life.
Tajci’s most recent projects include a meditation CD, an annual retreat & sea cruise in Croatia (that she organizes and hosts), and a multimedia CD/book (Un)Broken: Songs My Father Taught Me.
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