Sunday 26th June 2022

About That Smile. Mum & Memories. 28/2021.

About That Smile. Mum & Memories. 28/2021.

Why pink?

Why not…actually because remembering Mum, who died 14 years ago this week, bright pink was one of her favourite colours. Not being too maudlin about it, this was the best photo of her in her last months, taken at my parents’ Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversary Lunch with family, and it was the outfit we chose for her final journey. The photo which sat atop her coffin, is in Dad’s place and is one I feel privileged to have taken. It was of “just” Mum edited from this photo.

Why memories?

On 5th March 2007 Mum finally died following a relatively brief illness based on a January 2007 diagnosis of secondary brain tumours. For a couple of years before that however, things began to shift and change for Mum in her body and her demeanour but none of us, including her G.P. of many years and neurologist treating her for a parkinsonian-type condition knew what was actually going on until a CT scan followed by an MRI. More details here. It was, an awful time for her, Dad and those of us who loved her as Mum, mother-in-law, grandmother and great grandmother.

Why smile?

It’s her smile, I believe, that I have inherited from her and although we are/were totally opposite in many ways, we were both able to find something to smile about when with family, friends and especially when meeting new grandchildren!

Circa 1969.

When I Could NOT Smile.

I know I have much to smile about now and will always appreciate getting my smile back after head and neck cancer. But I know when I was anxious and sad in the years 2014-2016 I would do what I could to summon a smile…especially when I was with my grandkids, and this one in particular. Miss J. has, I say, inherited my smile and that of my mother. We say this anyway!

With Miss J late 2016. Before my cancer was found “under those fake teeth”

A visit from J always included a selfie post my cancer surgeries.

My first social outing following my 2017 cancer surgeries: to Miss J’s 21st!

And now.

SMILE is my Word of The Year. 

I wrote about why it is the word of the year for me here. I remain glad I have!

So you smile naturally or is it troublesome?

I know I was more self-conscious in earlier times when I felt my size and the way my teeth looked affected me, but I had to change that internal story somewhat or there would have been NO photos of me at all!

Thanks for the memories and the smile, Mum!


Joining with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life linky on Thursdays.

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.



  1. I am thinking about you remembering your mom, Denyse. My mom passed 13 years ago and I think about her a lot. Her color was purple. Your mom had a beautiful smile and yes, you did inherit your smile from her. And now you can see that beautiful smile in your granddaughter!

    • Thanks Laurie, sorry to read about your mother’s death too. I had a not so close relationship with Mum but feel a lot more understanding for what she dealt with in her life and have chatted with my father quite a bit to gain that.

      Love that I share her smile …and that J does too.


  2. It certainly looks like it’s an inherited thing in your family 🙂

    • I know! It’s funny now though that Mum may be gone but J and I say to each other, we got that smile alright! I am glad we can talk like that about Mum as J did know her quite well.


  3. That’s a lovely post – and you do all have the same smile! Sweet! I think your grand daughter looks a lot like you in the B&W shot! Isn’t it strange how it all falls together in faces…?

    • Ah yes, the family resemblance. We have “that” smile and it’s good to know we are passing it on so to speak. “We” can always smile for a photo too whereas other family members, not saying who, just can’t!

      Thanks Lydia.


  4. Your smile will always be an inspiration.
    Your journey and its retelling inspires and challenges me to think of all the things I have to smile about. I came out of the ICU a few years back with a missing front tooth (as a result of intubation), and it took a while before I dated literally smile again. Now, with the aid of denchers and a transformed attitude, I can also smile.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much for both your kind words AND sharing your story of getting back to smiling!

      Well done Ju-Lyn. That was a huge thing to conquer but you did.


  5. Denyse, A lovely tribute to your Mum and I can see the family resemblance of the smile in your photos. I smile every morning to greet a new day and express my gratitude. Thank you for linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare. Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks so much Natalie. Your morning ritual sounds spot on!

      Glad your weekend coffee share it taking off with such success.

      I will pop over later and read others’ posts.


  6. I think it’s lovely you have so many selfies of the two of you smiling! And it is also nice to see your smile progression (the post surgery return of a big smile!). I rarely take selfies or photos of myself in general. I guess that’s why I have a hard time with putting a picture of myself on my blog.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Patricia.

      I learned, once I had the pretty serious cancer to take care of, how much I missed smiling as an expression of my emotions and communication so I made it my mission Every Day to take photos of myself.

      It was a challenge that I set because I knew I needed to confront the many changes in my appearance but that I wanted a record of MY life!

      Consider taking some photos of you.
      You will never look like you do today, tomorrow so why not capture the images….

      I mean that kindly and sincerely. Being behind the camera is easy. Being in front (or taking a selfie) is a challenge that over time, you may be glad to took up! Let me know if you do.

      There is no other human like you in existence. Your image is worth preserving and sharing. Love to you.


  7. Hi Denyse,
    Great review above of many great reasons to smile.
    I don’t think I realized that you too are a cancer survivor. Bravo!

    I’ve not fought this battle myself but plenty in my world have. I lost both parents to different forms and once managed a team of people who stepped up to help a young single mom with her battle.

    Forgive me if I’m really forgetting, but I try to share this story with anyone who has been impacted by cancer just to let everyone know about how proud I am to have been part of that team.

    This story really happened and many of these folks are still with the same company as am I.
    I hope it blesses your day to know there are so many amazing people out there.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much Gary, I believe blogging is such a great way to share our stories no matter where in the world we may live.

      I appreciate your kind and caring words and will check out this blog post.

      I am honoured that you have commented and share this story too.


  8. Your smile is beautiful Denyse and your memories are so valuable and a part of you.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you Debbie. I am glad to blog for this very reason. Cathy, a blogger who links up on Mondays pointed our my son has ‘my’ smile too…and so I added a pic of him with his girls.


  9. This was beautiful…and so is your smile and your moms smile. I lost my mom 17 years ago, she was only 54….miss her everyday and love remembering what an amazing lady she was.

    • Thank you so much kirstin. I am so sorry to read about your Mum. I love though, how much you love her, miss her and remember her. Beautiful tribute.


  10. I can see so much of your in both your parents. But yes, the smile and the twinkle in the eye seems to be your mum! You can just “feel” it.