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Sheila Quirke
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Sheila Quirke writes under the name Mary Tyler Mom for ChicagoNow. Trained as a clinical social worker, Sheila works as a freelance writer, is married to a real catch, and is the mother of two. Her oldest child, Donna, died of cancer in 2009, and while cancer can suck it, it is also what brought her to writing and the founding of Donna's Good Things, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that honors her daughter, Donna.

You can and should hang out with her on a regular basis at her Facebook page.

Entries by Sheila Quirke

Chief Keef Hits the North Shore: Two Chicago Perspectives

(8) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 1:43 PM

South Side POV (Evan F. Moore):

You can take someone out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of them. Or so I've been told.

Last year, Englewood's very own, Interscope Records recording artist Chief Keef, moved to the north suburban enclave of Northfield.

Apparently, he's...

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When Facebook Sucks

(7) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 2:06 PM

Are you a "Sex and the City" fan? I was. I always wanted to be a Carrie, but was instead a Charlotte, with a sprinkle of Miranda to cut the sweetness. Being a Charlotte is a little bit like height -- it just is and you can't really change it....

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What I Know About Motherhood Now That My Child Has Died

(138) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 6:22 PM

Being the mom to a child who died means that Mother's Day is never, ever the same. The cloying commercials encouraging manicures, jewelry, brunch, bouquets, and all things pastel are like sucker punches that start in April and don't stop until the day itself is over. I breathe a long...

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Angels and Warriors and Cancer, Oh My

(211) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 1:11 PM

Having a child die before you is not easy. Everyone can agree on that. It is universal knowledge that parents are supposed to die first -- sometimes too soon, but they still die first. Then the kids. Sadly, it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes children die before their...

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Teaching My Son to Appreciate the Glory of Spring

(3) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 12:40 PM

This past weekend was Easter, which also happens to coincide with Passover -- two of the highest of Holy Days in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For many, these days hold extreme relevance; for others, they are just another day on the calendar. For me, well, it's complicated.

I was raised Catholic....

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The Hole in the Middle of the Bed

(276) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 10:38 AM

I was tucking my son into bed for the night when he asked me to make a circle in his bed.

"What do you mean, a circle?," I asked.

"Well, there is a circle in my bed and in the middle of the night I fall through the...

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4 Life Lessons From My 4-Year-Olds

(14) Comments | Posted January 12, 2013 | 9:12 AM

This week, my son turned 4. This made him immeasurably happy, despite the touch of angst about his impending age change. The night before his birthday, he could not fall asleep. Initially, I thought that was about excitement over gifts, gifts, gifts! Cause, you know, it had been a full...

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Cheating Christmas

(2) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 12:42 PM

Tick tock, tick tock. TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK.

That ain't my biological clock you're hearing, folks. That is the sound of the clock furiously racing towards Christmas, hurtling through time and space at breakneck speed that only is possible this time of year. There is no denying that Christmas...

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A Good Day in America

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 11:14 AM

Yesterday was Election Day. I am a democracy dork, so that made it pretty special in my home. As long as I can remember, I have been interested in the larger world and how politics impacts our little worlds. I have fond memories of hanging on to my parents thighs...

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Make Your Own Damn Dinner, Mitt

(40) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 1:31 PM

In last night's presidential debate, Governor Romney managed to offend me and other women in both new and creative ways. It was astounding, really. He made these seemingly throwaway comments that, twelve hours later, are still gnawing at me.

Full disclosure: I am not of any concern to Mitt...

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Donna's Cancer Story: So You Want to Help

(8) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 10:49 AM

Yesterday's post, the last of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, was titled "The End," but when I shared it on Facebook, I wrote, "The End is not the ending." =The End was the end of Donna's Cancer Story, but, clearly, not the end of Donna's story, because...

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Donna's Cancer Story: The End

(39) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 10:23 AM

This is the final installment of Donna's Cancer Story, which appeared daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post covered one month of Donna's thirty-one months of treatment. Read now or start from the beginning here.

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Donna's Cancer Story: Choosing Hope

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2012 | 9:00 AM

This is the thirtieth of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of treatment.

Cancerville is full of subdivisions and part...

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Donna's Cancer Story: Whiplash

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2012 | 9:02 AM

This is the twenty-ninth of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of treatment.

Last month ended with Mary Tyler...

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Donna's Cancer Story: The Bubble

(1) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 12:43 PM

This is the twenty-eighth of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of cancer treatment.

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Donna's Cancer Story: Terminal

(95) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 10:05 AM

This is the twenty-seventh of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of cancer treatment.

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Donna's Cancer Story: Infection

(24) Comments | Posted September 26, 2012 | 10:30 AM

This is the twenty-sixth of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of cancer treatment.

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Donna's Cancer Story: Blooming in Bloomington

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 10:39 AM

This is the twenty-fifth of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of cancer treatment.

We found a rhythym in Bloomington, which...

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Donna's Cancer Story: Proton, Here We Come

(3) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 10:52 AM

This is the twenty-fourth of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of treatment.

Quickly after Donna's surgery, plans fell into...

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Donna's Cancer Story: Surgery 4.0

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2012 | 9:27 AM

This is the twenty-third of thirty-one installments of Donna's Cancer Story, which will appear daily in serial format through the month of September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each post will cover one month of Donna's thirty-one months of treatment.

A professor of mine once described survey...

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