When it is 1998 and your mom dies by suicide, you really don’t have much time to think. You definitely don’t have time to thoughtfully consider what you want her obituary to say. You go along with the standard because anything more would leave you paralyzed and unable to take a step forward. The guilt, and shame prevent you from being able to say more about her death. It has been 24 years and as I think back, I wish she had gotten a better obituary… one that really paid tribute to who she was and how she loved; because boy did she love. So a few years ago my sister and I wrote a new obituary for our mom.
Cecilia J Bigbee
Cecilia Bigbee was born on October 14, 1953, in Hamlin, Texas. She grew up adoring her father, Bill Frost. She often said he walked on water because he was her idea of perfection. She was also raised by a strong and loving mom, Wanda Frost. She had one younger brother, John, who she called Frosty even before he was born. Being the daughter of an oilfield man, she changed schools every year or two. This led her to experience living in many different places. Her favorite memories growing up centered on the two years the family spent in Brazil when she was in first and second grade. She often told stories of loving the culture and learning the language.
She married Edd Bigbee on August 12, 1972, and spent the majority of her time as a housewife and mom. On July 7, 1977, she gave birth to Amanda Marie and two years later on August 21, 1979, came Amy Leigh. Her world revolved around her family and she dedicated her time and passion to making sure Edd, Amanda, and Amy were taken care of and felt loved.
To know her was to know her infectious smile, joyous laugh, and tremendous heart. Cecilia never met a stranger and could make anyone feel welcome. While she loved being around others, often her kind heart was revealed in very private ways. She would take bread to individuals in town seen as the outcasts. Her heart for the lonely is not often found and she did not do things for credit, but merely because it was the right thing to do.
Cecilia’s love for her daughters shined the brightest. Amanda remembers countless nights Cecilia would stay up with her as she was fighting her asthma. She would rub Amanda’s back or merely make sure she did not feel alone. Amy remembers when she was in first grade her mom bringing her Burger King for lunch. After Amy left for school, Cecilia realized Amy would not eat what was for lunch that day, so decided to bring her a treat. While such things might seem small, they are gigantic when you put all of Cecilia’s small tokens of love together.
Cecilia also showed her daughters how to enjoy life, laugh, and love. Between movie nights, dance parties, and times cooking together, laughter often filled the house. She had a way of making them feel more than special and loved. The beach was one of Cecilia’s favorite places, especially Galveston. She loved to craft, bake, and cook. At various points, she was an assistant in schools and all the students (from first grade to high school) adored her. When she wasn’t working, she took great pride in helping the teachers Amanda and Amy had.
Unfortunately, Cecilia gave so much love to others, that she did not have any left for herself and often struggled to fight depression at different points in her life. Eventually, she lost her battle with depression on August 22, 1998. To not remember Cecilia for her years of loving others is not to remember her at all. Her life should not be marked by her death, but by the life, she lived.
If you want to honor Cecilia, love others without condition, laugh with your entire body, and make family a priority. If you want others to not suffer in the same way Cecilia did, consider donating to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org. If you can’t donate, walk in one of their many community walks. Please speak freely about mental illness and remember that it has a face and name.