A Tribute to my Mother


Nancy Jean Mills , 54 of St. Petersburg, Fl passed away January 5, 2011 at home. She is survived by her husband,and her three loving children, Melissa, 35 Jarrod, 30, Nicole, 25, as well as her six siblings and two young grandchildren. 

Nancy was born May 21, 1956 in the town of Milton, Massachusetts to Roger and Marion Mills. Growing up in a large, close knit family, Nancy was surrounded by love and good humor from her six siblings and parents, which allowed her to grow into the compassionate, warm-hearted, and funny woman that all adored. She was genuine in spirit and quick-witted with a love of cooking for her family and reading for enjoyment. She could strike up a conversation with anyone at any time, and she often did just that.

A private service was held in her honor at Fort Desoto where she loved to sit back, relax, and soak up the sun.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the SPCA of Tampa Bay.

Poems read during her memorial service.

From my sister:
I bought a card with this poem for my Mom the night before she passed away. I shared this poem at her memorial service.
"The Oak Tree"

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree's leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, "I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two,
Carry every leaf away,
Shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger than my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew."

Mom was so much like the oak tree in this poem. I think that we can all agree that Mom had a lot of windy days and storms in her life, but when the winds stopped and the storms cleared. She was always still standing...and smiling.

In the poem when the wind dies, the oak replies, "until today I wasn't sure how much I could endure, but thanks to you , I'm stronger than I knew." I think that Mom would have added, "Really is that all you have?" or through gritted teeth "You're going to have to try harder than that to knock me down."

Mom was like the mighty oak for a long time but sadly even the oak's strength eventually fades.
One of the greatest gifts that Mom left to us was her example of this strength.

We are her roots.
Growing up, whenever we faced an obstacle that seemed insurmountable, our mother would encourage us with simple words, "You can do it, I know you can. There's no doubt in my mind" Her belief in us was enough for us to tackle any obstacle that life threw our way.
We will continue day by day to face life's challenges with strength and conviction because you showed us how, Mom.

Thank you for this gift. We love you and we'll do our best to continue to make you proud.

From my aunt Bev:

When tomorrow starts without me and I'm not here to see....If the sun should rise and find your eyes filled with tears for me,

I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today...While thinking of the many things we didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you....And each time you think of me, I know you'll miss me, too.

But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand...That Jesus came and called my name and took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready in heaven far above...And that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love.

So when tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart....For every time you think of me, I'm right here in your heart.

-David Romano

From me:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
So Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I do not die.

Music played during her memorial as a medley on guitar by Mirza ...

"Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
"Let it Be" by the Beatles
"Tears in Heaven" by Clapton
"Here comes the Sun" by the Beatles

Many years ago, my Grandpa, Roger Mills (RIP) sat down with a tape recorder and recited some of his favorite poems. These two were played during my mother's memorial service. "Remember Me" by Christina Georgina Rossetti and a poem that my uncle Gary wrote years ago.

Below you will find the two typed out, so you may read along...

REMEMBER me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay. 
Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand 
It will be late to counsel then or pray. 
Yet if you should forget me for a while
 And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
 For if the darkness and corruption leave
 A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, 
Better by far you should forget and smile
 Than that you should remember and be sad

Gary Mills (my uncle)

It's hard to be strong when you're fighting back tears
If you think of past memories as just wasted years.
Life can seem cruel and very unfair,
But you can't change the past; it will always be there.
Days may look darker, nights may feel long,
Things may seem different, but you have to be strong
The knots in your stomach may hurt deep inside,
The tension, and the anger, the hurt of your pride.
You try to be strong and keep it together,
But things just don't seem real and time takes forever.
Thousands of thoughts just whirl through your mind;
Your life, your future, you try to unwind.
Answers seem hard to the questions you ask;
You think to yourself how long will it last 
The present begins as the past slips away.
It lasts only a moment, it's not here to stay. 
So look to the future and learn from your past.
The future starts now, 
But your memories will last.
So try to be strong when you're fighting back tears. 
Because memories are memories, and not wasted years.

Playlist of some of her favorite songs featured after the memorial...

Still the same-Bob Segar
Moondance-Van Morrison
Margaritaville-Jimmy Buffett
Love will keep us alive-Eagles
Let it be-Beatles
Fireflies-Faith Hill
Cheeseburger in Paradise-Jimmy Buffett
Dreams-Fleetwood Mac
Bennie and the Jets-Elton John
And it stoned me-Van Morrison
American pie-Don Mclean
Against the wind-Bob Segar
Wonderful tonight-Eric Clapton

Edited May 26, 2011.


On May 21, 2011, my Mother would have turned 55. It was the first birthday she missed since her untimely death.
To celebrate her birthday and life, my sister planted a lilac bush in her backyard, along with a beautiful stone to commemorate our mother. All of my Mother's brothers and sisters joined together in celebration and remembrance.

Recent post on my Mother:  Motherless Daughter