The response to my Fine and Beautiful Millie blog, which honored my mom's birthday, was overwhelming to say the least.  The amount of people who took the time to share their wonderful memories and thoughts touched and warmed my heart . . . people that knew my mom, knew my family and even newcomers that had simply just heard about her.  

Remembering Mom on her Birthday, 11/7/13
Remembering Mom on her Birthday, 11/7/13

In fact, my sisters and I read many of them aloud on our annual conference call, honoring Millie's birthday, this past Thursday evening November 7th. It was one of the most enjoyable calls we've had.  The call began as a way to help us in our grieving process, but over the years it has morphed into much more.  It has become a way of keeping her memory alive along with all the beautiful treasures that she instilled in us.

 My thanks goes out to everyone for your love and support this week and throughout the years.  I'm so moved by this tribute to my mother.  I'd like to share the comments on this week's blog.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

  Thank you.

Judi Vitaliano- Wow!!! Truly beautiful or should I say fine and beautiful tribute to our Mom …. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face…

Yes, we are so blessed to have had such an amazing mother. She taught us that life is not always fair but it is fine & beautiful…I often hear one of her sayings in my head: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Although I feel sadness that her presence is no longer here, I feel joy in knowing that her spirit is always with me. When I was young, while fighting with one of my sisters, I can remember her saying: “You should be thankful to have each other” and boy, she was right. I am very grateful to have my sisters. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. Mom taught us the importance of “family” and as you said Dori, (dysfunction and all), we are and always will be close; and there for one another. Even our children look forward to and love our big family gatherings. Mom would have been proud. I know in my heart she is smiling down upon us saying: “That’s my girls…” - Fine and beautiful Millie...I remember you as a fine and beautiful mother always there for your children...I have a fine memory . . . at your home for a grand birthday party for one of your daughters I went to school with @OLOL.... a slumber party in the mid 70’s . . .  hamburgers, cheese burgers and hot dogs in a warming drawer to eat all night long..

Cheri Wynn - Beautiful Dori! You are so blessed to have such fine and beautiful memories. Your mother sounds like such an incredible woman and you are carrying on her legend. I am sure she is smiling down at you and watching what a warm and loving mother you are. XO

Kay Dee - Love the pictures and the beautiful tribute to your mother! Maternal love transforms us and makes us attentive and compassionate. Your words helped me to slow down and think of my own mother and her importance in my life. Mothers are generous, loving, and our very first teachers. I can tell that you have internalized your fine and beautiful mother by watching you mother your own son with that same love, kindness, and grace.

Sophia Papa - So sad I never got to meet Aunt Millie, but every year Dad always tells Bianca and I of her famous thanksgiving dinners and how it always brought the entire family together. I am thankful that I have at least gotten to know my dad's beloved "Scarano chicks." Much love!!

Observer - What an awesome tribute to your fine and beautiful mother D! She sure raised a group of fine and beautiful daughters :-)

Melissa Boris - To have a woman touch your heart without ever meeting her is truly saying something. I have never met you Dori, or your mother, but I became close friends with your sister Katilina shortly after her passing. Over the years I have heard so many uplifting stories, that I feel like I know the whole family that Millie raised. Millie continues to be an inspiration to me through Katilinas life. What a beautiful gift to the world to have raised positive women who keep passing that down through the generations, and the many people they meet throughout life.

Katilina- Oh've written quite an accurate narrative of the truly Fine and Beautiful mother that we were so very blessed to have. It brings tears to my eyes, but I'm okay with that because they're tears of joy...Joy to have been blessed with her inner beauty, her joy for life and her absolute love! Almost everyday I find a reason to be grateful for my upbringing and "lucky" always comes to mind when I think of my sisters. There's no more satisfying notion than knowing my family will remain Fine and Beautiful forever....but I sure do miss my mom!

C. Trokovich - I can’t believe it’s been nine years, crazy how time just keeps on moving no matter what. You have a lot of great pictures here, good memories :)

Jeff - Certain people have the ability to leave impressions whether present or not. It’s incredible to me that after nine years your mother still has that ability…to influence others. 

Today I watch and listen to newcomers revel in the “Millie Mystic” and instantly become captivated like the rest. I see them become connected to those threads that has connected your family and friends for decades.  For me, there’s no finer or more beautiful memory.

Maryann Ramagna- Millie, I miss you so much but I feel your presence.  I want to shout out a Happy Birthday to you.  I know you are fine and beautiful as you celebrate your 39th Birthday!  Your friend always,  Mary Ann

Mary A - Dori:  I just dried my tears. You could not have said it better.  Love, Mary

Krik Salaya- Really lovely Dori, I'm sure all your sisters will agree. And are fine and beautiful.

Steven Clayton - I think a lot of people say things like..."as long as we remember her, she'll always be with us", but, they don't actually work at it and incorporate it into their everyday lives. Time marches on, and promises to keep the memories of our loved ones alive fall by the wayside.

I think we all need to take an example from you and the rest of your family. Honoring and remembering takes effort. It takes a commitment. It takes real work. What you guys have done for 9 years is inspiring and your Mom would be so very proud.

Keep it up. I'm not much of a spiritual person, but I am truly convinced that keeping your Mom's memory alive so vividly has a deep impact somewhere and somehow.

Barb Lyons - Too much to write here: suffice to say she was/is/will always be a profound and eminently positive influence on my life. Wearing my diamond earrings today in her honor! Love forever to my second mom and sisters.

One other thought: didn't realize until last night that her birthday is Bob Knelle's birthday in Heaven. Amazing how two of my beloved ones share this day......

Lynn Voorhees - I am always "fine and beautiful"!!!  And "everyone is crazy except me and thee - and I often have doubts about thee".  Your blog is great, insightful and just all around beautiful - your mom is so proud.  I especially love the 50th wedding photo!

Rachel Freeman - Of all the days in the world and of all the people I know.. We do have some special odd connection... Nov 7th was also my dad's birthday.

Cheryl Phillips - Well said Dori! Your mom, my "Aunt Millie"was my mom too for a while when my family moved to Arizona and I stayed in Jersey to finish college. I am forever grateful to my Aunt Millie and Uncle Bob for allowing me to move in for those last few years of college. Your mom knew that I enjoyed long conversations with my mom. I would make us a cup of tea and we'd sit in your dad's office chatting a while each night when I'd get home from work,(after a full day of nursing classes at Seton Hall University). I treasure our time together and her unconditional love. Her laughter was always plentiful and both she and my mom were known for their easy going love of life and people. Walking down memory lane, as our two families were raised side by side: Easter baby peeps in the back yard in Old Bridge, All those Thanksgivings together! Sleep overs, story telling, dance contests, Dalenbacks, (spelling?), etc. I'm especially grateful that my Aunt Millie tailored my moms wedding dress so I could wear it in her memory on my wedding day. AND she made all the seven dresses of my bridesmaids!!! So talented! We are blessed! I know I learned about family from my mom and your mom.

Judy Papa - Just read the blog and it is wonderful, She was just like that.  We all love her and miss her, but she is never out of our thoughts, but in a great way.

MaryEllen Quigley - Happy birthday Mrs Scarano.... Love from Maryellen "Kligley" as I recall that is the way Doreen used to pronounce  our name.

Krystal Galiczynski- Well wasn't this just the most heart warming, well-needed, and well said blog that I really appreciated reading on my break from truly are living out her memory through this blog, especially during the time of her birthday which I appreciate, because I do not want to ever forget the spirit of my grandma during me, melissa, and anthony's birthdays :) ... I love her so much.. 39!

Melissa Trok Yakamithis- I think having a "tradition" for a lost loved ones birthday making going through the process much easier. That way in some way you are still celebrating and can feel a piece of them with you. If there is a running family tradition, keep it, or start a new one like you talked about in the blog. Both are really helpful tools for grieving on a birthday of someone who has passed, especially if they were very close to you.Being part of a beautiful family birthday tradition myself I can understand the loss when part of the equation is no longer there. My entire life I celebrated my birthday with my grandma. Being the eldest girl grandchild and born only 4 days after my grandmas birthday, I always felt so special to celebrate with her. She was my favorite person, and this only added to loving bond between us. It has been a long time since I've shared a birthday cake with my grandma, but every year the sting is still the same. The tradition carries on with my cousins and myself. However for me, it is more about celebrating her life and being with my family, because that is what gets me through.Your blog was beautiful Dori. Thanks. Hugs.

Lexi - This is just so perfect! Happy Birthday to our Fine and Beautiful Mom! What an awesome blog Dori! The pictures are the best! I can't believe the memories are so real yet so far! Our family is so special (dysfunctional and all:)) and we are so blessed to have each other. All the love and comments on this blog are amazing and make me so happy! I love the comment on the warmer drawers LOL! OMG what great memories and parties at the Scarano's house on Fresh Ponds Road! I'm looking forward to the conference call tonight too. We will laugh and probably cry a little as we remember our fine and beautiful mother who taught us to be who we are and the importance of family traditions! xo

Katie - Missing her today. I know she is smiling down on everyone on this fine and beautiful day. xoxox

Stephanie Harris - Dori, from the moment I met you and your family, there is no doubt that your mom set the tone for the amazing women you all are. Loving, open, unconditional, loyal and you treat those that you love like family. She was a remarkable woman with a tremendous legacy in all of you. Happy Birthday, Fine and Beautiful Millie. We miss you.

We are family . . . I got all my sista's and me:-)
We are family . . . I got all my sista's and me:-)

Kacie Drury Mxn - Your mother was such a unique woman, and had a profound effect on me growing up! She was this efficient home engineer who kept this huge brood all moving forward all the time, so much exciting activity, constantly, yet she encouraged individuality and allowed you all space to become who you really were, with so much silent support. I wanted to be just like her as a mother. I remember leaving belongings at your house and she would return them to me later spotless and repaired, in better shape then when I had left them, as if she didn't have enough children to care for! I learned so much from her, and I LOVED when she said "fine and beautiful" all the time. She inspired me no end!! Remember she took me to buy my prom dress?? Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently Dori! Beautifully written. So well written in fact I think it must cross that invisible barrier so she can hear it, as well.....heaven is union, i think, her energy can never dissipate, only change form....

Sherry Gardner- Dori that was so fine and beautiful...happy birthday to ur mom....

Lynda Fedor - Fine and beautiful job:)

Heather Paul Featherman - FINE & extremely beautiful!

Peggy Boyle Kobe - Wow beautiful n fine..... My mom sang that sunshine song to my son lol.

Mary Kim Clark - What a wonderful tribute! How your mom opened up her home and her heart to everyone! I'll never forget!

Robyn Correia – Wow, She was like an angel to me. Always guiding with that warm smile. I look up to her. I remember her fondly.