Lana Thrailkill Mason 1957 – 2006

Three years ago today I lost a dear friend.  And today I want to say her name out-loud to honor her memory.
Lana. Thrailkill. Mason.
Diva Lana coming in for a chemo treatment.

Diva Lana coming in for a chemo treatment.

I called her Lana Lana Lana.
She answered back Paula Paula Paula.

Lana was a wife for more than 20 years, devoted PTA and team mom, wonderful singer, boisterous laugher, lover of life, generous lemonade stand supporter, loyal friend, gracious hostess, giver of gifts, gentle soul, life of the party.  Would you believe that the day she went into the hospital for surgery to remove part of her lung that she arrived in a tiara, hot pink feather boa and magic wand???  When I think of Lana, I think of passion and cantagious laughter and a smile that crinkled her eyes into little slits.  She was in no way perfect, but she was perfectly fine for me!

She didn’t smoke but was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2004.  She fought with all her might, displaying grace and dignity along the way, but the end came on July 2, 2006.  Her mother’s birthday.

Ruling from her throne.

Ruling from her throne.

During her illness I kept a website for her at  Do you know about caringbridge?  It is a free site dedicated to helping folks with terminal/chronic illnesses and/or receiving treatment to have one central place to disperse accurate information.  During the year and a half of Lana’s illness, interested parties could go to her site and find out the latest on Lana’s treatments, how she was feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, if she felt well enough for phone calls, etc. When she died I was able to put out an alert almost immediately so friends all over could be informed at once instead of having to make dozens of phone calls.  She had over 12,ooo hits on her site when she died, which tells you how many friends she had and how loved she was.

Go Girls for Lana.

Go Girls for Lana.


There were several friends and family who wore the Go Girl Ring for Lana.
That’s another post for another time, so stay tuned. 




I think one fear many of us have about dying is that no one will notice that we are gone, or that we were ever here.  Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.”  Lana, attention continues to be paid.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you.  That your dear friend Jan doesn’t think about you.  Or Evie, or Curtis, or Patrick, or Trey, or Gay, or Kathy, or Brenda, or Paula W……………………………….

I miss you, Lana Lana Lana.  I hope you, your dad, my dad, Brother Cox, so many other loved ones, are having a joyous sing-a-long today.  I can just hear ya’ll.

To read more about Lana’s journey:

To see videos I made in tribute to Lana:
Lana scarf  queens3  hello2  goodbye 
When I Get Where I’m Going
Brad Paisley (feat. Dolly Parton)

When I get where I’m going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I’m gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

I’m gonna walk with my granddaddy
And he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I’ll hug his neck

[Repeat chorus]

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I’m going
And I see my Maker’s face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of His amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I’m going
Yeah when I get where I’m going
(written by Rivers Rutherford)

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.


10 Responses

  1. Well said! I think of her everyday, sometimes several times. She was truly larger than life!

    I did want to add a few
    I miss … hearing her say “Piddle!”
    … counting her sneezes (not unusual to get into the teens)
    … laughing at her latest weight loss trick
    … seeing the newest, loudest nail color
    … my phone ringing at 11:00 (pm) or later
    … sharing my problems with someone that knew they really weren’t big problems, I was just venting
    … such a good friend!

    Curtis and Patrick recently told me about the “13 rule”, maybe it was 14….anyway, you couldn’t jump from the upstairs balcony on to the couch until you were 13! Curtis also found a tape of her outside laughing at he and Pat shooting bottle rockets at each other’s bare butt about 3 am! What a mom!!

    Thanks for the videos and the wonderful words! We are lucky folks to have had such a friend 🙂


  2. Lana was certainly one of a kind who made everyone she encountered feel as if they were the most important person in the world. We could all fill pages of the wonderful memories of laughter and fun with Lana in our lives. I can honestly say my life is brighter and better because of Lana. What a wonderful example, legacy she left for us to uphold!

  3. Lana had a presence about her that just made you laugh. She was always “on”. Maybe it was a cover for lots of pain or just her way of giving back or maybe her escape.

    She has left us all remembering this day and all the “life” that just seemed to leave in one last breath. WE all exhaled with her and are still trying to come up for fresh air.

    God is good. Today we remembered a dear sister in Christ and dear friend.

    Blessings to all.


  4. Perhaps one day I will get to meet her on the other side. I’ll be looking for the smile in a feather boa! Lovely tribute to someone who obviously didn’t pass through this world without leaving feathers for all who were lucky enough to have known her. Debbie

  5. In reading all of the comments here I just had to laugh, because I went to elementary, jr high and high school with Lana and she always said “piddle”.. I just cracked up in hearing that. It just never dawned on me that it was just, well “lana”. Even though we all grew up and moved away and had families, I had the priviledge to see her in April of 2006 it was as if we were still in high school, talking about classmates, laughing about things we did or other classmates did. Wow the laughing we did was so awesome. Then when Paula started including me in the caringbridge logs, well i shared them with all of Lana’s classmates. Some even went on caringbridge and logged their own messages, but most just reached out to me to thank me for keeping them updated. Lana, you had so many friends in your short lifetime and many of those remained your friends. I wish i am as lucky to have so many caring friends and supportive family as you. We will all miss you, my friend. Here’s thinking of you always.

  6. DEAR (PAULA), Thank-You So Much For Sharing The Memory Of Your Precious Friend With All Of Us. I Never Knew (LANA), But, I Feel As If I Knew Her In Some Way, Just By All Of The Joyful Pictures, Videos, Music, Stories And Love That You Have Shared With All Of Us On-Line In Memory Of Her. You Have An Awesome Gift (PAULA) Of Organizing And Sharing So Many Wonderful Memories, And I Take Great Pride In The Fact That You Share Your Gift With All Of Us Including Me. I Am Indeed Blessed To Have You As My Friend And To Have Been Blessed Enough To Have Become Friends With (LANA) Within My Heart Through The Many Memories You Have Shared With Us Where This Undoubtedly Awesome Woman Continues To Live Not Only In Spirit, But, Within All Of Our Hearts! My Only Regret Is That I Was Never Able To Actually Meet Her In Person. I Look Forward To That Day However, When I Am Able To Sit Down With All Of You At The Bridegroom’s Table And I Get To Finally Meet Her At The Spectacular Banquet That We Will All Attend As (CHRIST) Welcomes Us Home! With Much Love, (GOD) Bless You!…BEN~

  7. […] of BC’s Go Girls was our college friend Lana who lived in Memphis. In the fall of 2004, Lana was diagnosed with lung cancer. She never smoked so this was a total surprise. Those of us with Go Girl rings who knew Lana put […]

  8. Paula, you put a smile on my face this morning. You were a dear friend to Lana and so many others. It is great to read comments about Lana and her family. They will be remembered as long as her friends share the good memories and laugh together. Just thinking of her makes me laugh. The sound of her voice was like no other, she had a way of warming a room by simply walking in with her warm smile or a word or laugh. As the old saying goes, to know her was to love her.
    I have many fond memories of her, I suppose the last one was the day she came to visit Mom, just before Mom died with cancer Lana learned she had cancer soon after.
    Just before Gene (my husband) died with cancer Lana, baked cookies for Tim(my son) to take back to school. She made his leaving his dad a little easier. When Gene died, she and Mike came and spent time with Tim. Those memories will always be special to Tim and to me.
    Thank you for sharing with us and those that did not meet her, we are blessed to have known her.
    I feel she brought another great lady into my life. You were a true friend and I see why you were close. You have many of her special traits.
    Thanks again, Anita

  9. […] when I heard a song he sang with Dolly Parton.  When I Get Where I’m Going  When my friend Lana was ill with cancer, one way I processed what was going on was by walking and walking and listening  to the same […]

  10. […] to me.  I look at it and it brings a multitude of emotions and memories to mind.  My friend Lana was fighting lung cancer and another friend and I went to Nashville to surprise her after […]

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