Editor's Letter: My Heart Is Breaking Today, Because We've Lost a Very Special Member of Our Tribe by Elisa Schmitz
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.
— tanya kuzmanovic | pencils and popcans (@tawnyk22) April 29, 2021
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."
That's the thing about Mondays . . . they dawn on us . . . whether we want them to or not. This is the latest post in my journey. https://t.co/XahaVMwHlI #Cancer #fuckcancer #blogpost pic.twitter.com/WE8xBBQftZ
— tanya kuzmanovic | pencils and popcans (@tawnyk22) July 19, 2021
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.
— tanya kuzmanovic | pencils and popcans (@tawnyk22) May 17, 2021
Photos: Tanya Kuzmanovic