Tradition is important to high school student Savannah Inthalangsy. That’s why she has taken the same photo with her mother semester after semester since she started high school. After her mother died, she carried on the tradition in her honor.
Yesterday was my last day of high school. For 4 years I’ve taken pictures with my mom on my first and last days of school. She wasn’t able to make it for the last one, but her strength motivated me to stay strong during this time. All of my hard work is for her! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/pDGlOEoxod
— sav-age (@nanatat07) May 23, 2018
Inthalangsy shared a now viral tweet consisting of seven photos of her and her mom and one of herself alone. In all the photos, the women are holding a drink or ice cream, and in some they are making goofy faces. “For 4 years I’ve taken pictures with my mom on my first and last days of school,” Inthalangsy said on Twitter.
Unfortunately, after a seven-year battle with cancer, her mother, Phelana Foster, died before Inthalangsy finished high school. So on the Mesquite, Texas, resident’s last day of senior year, the tradition turned into a selfie. “She wasn’t able to make it for the last one, but her strength motivated me to stay strong during this time. All of my hard work is for her! ” The series of images show Inthalangsy getting older — and her mother getting more seriously ill. In the second to last photo of the two together, Foster has lost her hair, and in the last one, her hair is growing back.
The tweet struck a chord with users and resulted in 125k retweets and 606k likes.
Inthalangsy told a local Fox affiliate that her mother died in December of a brain aneurysm. “It was kind of a combination of that and ovarian cancer that she went into a coma. And then she passed away,” she said. But as the photos show, Foster’s spirits remained high throughout her struggle. “All throughout her cancer, she didn’t really cry or get upset in front of other people about it,” the teen told local news.
“I wanted to be strong for her because she was strong for me the whole time,” Ithalangsy told the Wichita Eagle. Which is why she visited her mother’s grave, with Foster’s favorite Starbucks drink in hand, to snap the final photo for the series.
Inthalangsy says she can feel her mom’s pride in her, telling the Fox affiliate, “I’m glad she’s proud of me.” Why wouldn’t she be? The soon-to-be graduate is going off to college in the fall and plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue a career in education (Foster was a preschool teacher).
Thanks to Inthalangsy’s picture, many others on social media are sharing memories of their own mothers lost in similar ways. “I lost my mom last year, which was also my junior year of high school. I understand completely. May your mom Rest In Peace,” one wrote. “I lost my mom to cancer my junior year of high school and just wanted to say that I’m sending you love and peace. It’s hard to keep going with the normalcy of school when something so abnormal is happening elsewhere in life, but you did it and this kindred stranger is so proud,” said another. “I lost mine to leukemia. May your mom continue to Rest In Peace,” shared a third.
Inthalangsy is in awe of this outpouring of love. “Thank you for all of the kind words and support, it means a lot!” she wrote on Twitter. “The replies have me crying because I never noticed our close bond showed through like this, and I’m so glad it did.”
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