Editor's Letter: My Heart Is Breaking Today, Because We've Lost a Very Special Member of Our Tribe by Elisa Schmitz

Editor's Letter: My Heart Is Breaking Today, Because We've Lost a Very Special Member of Our Tribe

I don't know what to say, other than my heart is breaking. We've lost a very special member of our tribe.

But being a part of 30Seconds was just a tiny part of Tanya Kuzmanovic, and her very full life. First and foremost, Tanya was an amazing mom of three beautiful kids, and wife to her beloved husband. I think her bio says so much about her:

"Perpetually frazzled writer/mother/movie lover who enjoys doing laundry, cleaning house & driving kids around in her spare time."

Yes, Tanya was funny. But she was also a really deep thinker, who observed the world with a keen eye and savvy understanding. We were fortunate that she contributed 22 posts to our site and, although they were all excellent, I had several favorites.

She explained why we should stop talking to our kids, and have a conversation instead. 

She wrote about raising compassionate kids, and how to help siblings bond. Her reflection about the mean girl, who wouldn't leave her daughter alone, was truly powerful.

Tanya was a whiz in the kitchen, and her recipes always made me hungry. Her lazy day cabbage rolls recipe enabled me to make a dish that tasted like the one my old-world grandmother made, in a fraction of the time.

But Tanya's most powerful writing was on her personal blog, Pencils and Popcans. After she was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, she started a series called Cancer Culture, in which she shared her journey through this horrible disease.

She wrote: "On Monday, April 26, 2021, my life changed forever when I heard the words: 'You have cancer.' This series is entitled Cancer Culture, and revolves around my personal experience surrounding this devastating diagnosis."

On November 26, 2021, just seven months after her diagnosis, Tanya shared her final post, titled The Family Room. She wrote of her Cancer Culture series: "This is my 11th and my final post. My diagnosis has changed to an extremely rare and unforeseen one called Nut Cancer is pretty much all palliative. So I’m spending the rare and precious time I have I have with everyone I love. Thank you all – Bless you a,,"

Tanya's final reflection is so ... Tanya. It's powerful, sad and hopeful, all at once. Please read it, and remember a very special woman who contributed so much to the world, to 30Seconds, and most of all, to her family, friends and community.

Tanya, we know you are in a much better place, but you will always be in our hearts. Thank you for the gift of your words, that give us so much to think about and hold onto. You made the world so much brighter, and you will not be forgotten.

Rest in peace, Tanya. You and your family are in our prayers.

Photos: Tanya Kuzmanovic

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Donna John
I was devastated this morning to learn about Tanya's passing. My condolences and prayers to her family, husband, kids and friends.
Elisa Schmitz
All of us at 30Seconds feel the same way, Donna John . Tanya Kuzmanovic was a very bright light in the world, and we mourn the loss of her. Sending so much love to her family, friends, and all those touched by this special woman.
Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN
I am truly sorry for your loss of a friend, colleague and who seemed like all around great person. Sending my deepest condolences! xo
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you so much for your kind words, Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN . We were honored to be able to amplify Tanya's important messages. Whether they made us smile or made us think, her words always made a difference.
Kelli Porcaro
My heart just breaks reading this. Really makes you stop and pause. Sending love to Tanya's family, friends, and community and praying for God's peace and comfort. xo
Elisa Schmitz
I know what you mean, Kelli Porcaro . It puts everything into perspective. Many thanks for your very kind words and prayers. Sending you a very big hug! xoxo
Such a tragedy. Rest In Peace, Tanya. 🙏🏼
Mike Prochaska
Omg I didn’t know she passed! I loved talking with her on Twitter even before I know about 30Seconds. Her blog was amazing. She was an amazing person. I sad she is gone. :(
Elisa Schmitz
I know, it's a terrible tragedy. A bright light in this world that was extinguished too soon, Mike Prochaska .
Ann Marie Patitucci
What a tremendous loss and what a beautiful tribute to Tanya, @elisa. Thank you for this. My heart goes out to her husband, children, and all who loved her. I'm so glad she was able to be a part of our community here at 30Seconds where her words will live on.
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you so much for the kind words, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead . It is a terrible loss. And you're right, so grateful that her words will live on. Hugs!
Chef Gigi
Nooooo! I just read this— Im so sad to learn this happened during my absence. A huge loss.

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