missing Mo January 28, 2010

How do you turn to writing to make sense of something when the event itself is completely senseless? Without any rhyme or reason. So far beyond your comprehension that no words fit the bill – no matter how hard to hold my breath and hope they come out.  

I've started this post in my head every day for weeks. I'm sitting here today with tightness in my chest and some tears welling up…fighting to tell you about my friend Maureen Allaben. We met through work – I assisted her when I first started styling. As both of our careers grew, we would work on jobs together as a team. If I was booked on a shoot and couldn't take another job, Maureen is the person I recommended – and vice versa. Our busy schedules kept us from seeing each other as often as we both would have liked – I saw her in December while out at lunch. We kept in touch and spoke often – calling one another to ask for tips or trade styling secrets, industry gossip or stories about our (frighteningly similar) families. 

Maureen was killed in what can only be considered an episode of domestic violence the first week of January. The specifics of what happened are unclear to those outside her family. I know enough to know that what happened to her was unexpected – I spoke with her the Sunday she went missing – to everyone. The rest…I can't think of. It breaks my heart to imagine something like that happening to someone so wonderful. There will never be an explanation for it. Never. For the rest of the details, I'll remain unclear.

What I can soundly say is that the gifts that Maureen brought to the world are – and will continue to be – sorely missed. Insanely creative, brazenly smart, wickedly funny – Maureen had a laugh that was just infectious. Her talent and presence filled up a room…and she could rock a short and sassy haircut like no one I've ever met. There was nothing that Maureen couldn't do…and if she didn't know how to do it, she learned. She was also fiercely devoted to her two children who have now lost both of their parents in this senseless tragedy. 

So I sit here…pouring my heart out to this blog as I've done many times…on the day of her memorial service…with just one wish. I can only hope for peace and healing for Maureen, her sister & the rest of her family, her colleagues and friends. That wish is amplified tenfold for her two children. Let them know that their mother was such a strong force in the world. She made a positive impact on everyone she met and I just wish for that positivity to surround them as they go through this journey of growing up, learning and healing. 

We miss you, Mo. <3

The photo in this post was taken by Evan Bartleson, a photographer and friend of Maureen's. I love this shot – it shows Maureen in her element: working on some wacky, challenging project and loving every minute of it. Also shown in the photo is her assistant Camille, who she always spoke so very highly of. Thanks you for letting me use this photo. 


The Broke Socialite Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

I’ve worried about you and how you were coping with this all. I didn’t want to seem intrusive; so every time I’d wonder(which has been often), I’d say a little prayer for Mo’s family (especially those babies), her other friends and for you.
Mo seems like she was my kinda girl. If you liked her, I know I would have loved her. What a beautiful tribute.

Maria Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

Sorry for your loss. Beautiful tribute to Mo. Hugs and love!

Rose Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

I am so sorry for the loss of such a tremendous woman. My thoughts are with all those close to her.

Helen Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

What a wonderful tribute to her and who she was. A wholesome person, like you.
Thinking about you always but a bit more lately. Hugs.

Kate @ Savour Fare Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

Oh man Tami, I’m so sorry. I heard about this story and it just breaks my heart. This is a lovely lovely tribute to a friend.

Sandie Jan 28, 2010 02:01 pm

I don’t know you or Maureen, but I sense your love & appreciation of her. I’m sorry to only become acquainted with her through this post, but that doesn’t lessen my own appreciation of the person she was or the gifts she left behind. Thank you for sharing a bit of her life & spirit here, and my condolences to you, her friends & family.

NUrit Jan 28, 2010 03:01 pm

I have no words. I don’t know you, I don’t know her, but my heart is you, so sad.

chris Jan 28, 2010 03:01 pm

Such a lovely and heartfelt response/tribute to and event so heinous. Like TBS, I worried how you were dealing. My thoughts are always with you.

Jen Yu Jan 28, 2010 03:01 pm

Oh Tami, I am so very sad and so very sorry. It is senseless and painful and terrible. But your memory of Maureen keeps this wonderful woman alive. My heart goes out to you and to all of the people who loved her and never expected they would have to live without her :( *special hugs* xxoo

Caitlin Jan 28, 2010 04:01 pm

What a wonderful tribute to such an inspiring woman. Tami, my heart goes out to you – both you and she are in my thoughts and prayers. xxoo

barbara Jan 28, 2010 05:01 pm

Such a sad ending to a woman who was a much loved and special person to her chilren, her family and her friends. I am sorry for your heartbreak Tami. Domestic violence is unwelcome in any family, and even more so when children are involved. Hugs.

Jason Riedy Jan 28, 2010 07:01 pm

I’m so sorry. What a horrible thing for her family, friends, and extended family. I saw your mention of a memorial service earlier but had no idea… She sounds like someone whose life and impact should be celebrated. Best wishes to all, and may all of you who shared some experience with her carry her spark forward.

Jim Hunter Jan 28, 2010 07:01 pm

What a total shock. I never met Maureen but we were friends on Linkedin and a number of other social networks. We had some nice chats on line on several occasions.
Thank you Tami for posting this, otherwise I might never have known. And please accept my sincere condolences.

Lynn Jan 29, 2010 04:01 am

I am so sorry to hear about your friend, Tami. What an awful thing. I lost two co-workers to domestic violence and it is life shattering.

Tony Clark Jan 29, 2010 03:01 pm

Well written. We are better because of knowing Maureen. I remember seeing her at lunch, her fun observations and encouraging others to follow their dreams. We should all pass on those memories and say a prayer for her children.

Monster Librarian Jan 29, 2010 09:01 pm

I am so sorry. That sounds devastating. Keeping you and Mo’s family in my prayers. <3

Joe Jan 31, 2010 01:01 pm

hang in. as evidenced by the long list of comments, you seem to have the support of many wonderful people.

Stephanie Clements Feb 2, 2010 12:02 pm

You don’t know me but my heart goes out to you. I also knew Mo and was her assistant for a bit. She was truly a wonderful person and will be greatly missed.

jmk Feb 5, 2010 10:02 am

I live right near the family in Virginia, and only heard about this thru my neighborhood buzz. Those poor children. So sorry for all of you! A tragedy like this really changes you.

Sarka Feb 5, 2010 10:02 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! Such a tragedy. What a wonderful tribute to her.

Dandy Feb 5, 2010 07:02 pm

I am so, so sorry for your loss. You’ll all be in my thoughts.

andrea Feb 7, 2010 06:02 pm

Just found out about Maureen today. Maureen worked for me for many years in my pet shop in her teens and while she was going to college. She was the best employee I ever had. I reconnected to her just a few years ago when I became friends with her mother. She was everything you say. Intelligent,dilagent,fantastic person. Like you I am heartbroken.

gretchen Mar 30, 2010 06:03 am

I have been reading your blog for a few months now … and, decided just yesterday to scroll through some past posts … the title hit me first. I know someone named “Mo” who used to style food for packaging photography in Arkansas … I was the creative director and Mo was one of the few that was able to get inside my head and deliver exactly (if not more) than what I asked for. I never really had very personal conversations with her, but she brought in her portfolio for me to look at … and, her talent was amazing. I knew she had children, but she didn’t talk about her husband. I was devastated yesterday after reading what happened. I hope her 2 children can endure this terrible loss …

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