Burntlip Smile

I was worried about it, as any mom would be.  I even kept a measurement of it, so that I could know firsthand if it was growing. It was as easy to miss as it was hard to miss. Splashed on his bottom lip was what looked like a dark ink blob that simply became part of the beautiful landscape of our son Ian‘s face.

No, it wasn’t bestowed as a beauty mark from birth.  This doozy came to Ian after the world’s worst case of chapped lips.  He was probably in middle school and was just beginning to discover his extreme love of the ocean. After a long weekend of fun in the sun, Ian developed miserable dry, cracking chapped lips that hurt like heck and made it hard to smile.

For some random reason, once his lip healed and natural moisture returned, a permanent dark splotch remained as a reminder of the painful incident.


We figured, in time, it would simply go away. It didn’t.

A doctor told us that there was nothing to worry about unless it started to grow.  It didn’t.

It must have been at about that same middle school age that Ian asked me if he could sign up for something called YouTube.  Ian’s interest was to learn more about body boarding and surfing, something he studied and strove to master throughout his short life.

He used my email address to create an account, as he didn’t yet have his own email back then. When it asked him to select an account name, that goofy kid must have been thinking about his painful sunburned lip incident.  He picked the name Burntlip.

Using quirky pet names and nicknames for himself and others was a theme in Ian’s life. His Instagram name was #thecoronaseel. I could write an entire post about all the names he assigned to me over the years. There was usually a fun back story. There was always a lot of love bestowed.

Even as a grown adult, in the privacy of our own home, my name was simply “lady” and his girlfriend Lei was “girl.”  It’s hard to explain why, but we loved being called those names. Not sure if it was his special tone or the amusing drawn-out manner in which he would say them, but it was a term of endearment and we both treasured our pet names from Ian.

Fast forward to October, 2016.  At the age of 23, tragically, Ian ran ahead to heaven after an 8-month battle with cancer. Needless to say, life has been an indescribable struggle for those of us left behind.

Soon after his passing, I discovered that listening to podcasts and sermon messages were helpful aids to falling asleep. It helped keep my mind from spiraling out of control in grief.  I quickly realized that YouTube was chock-full of encouraging messages from some of my favorite pastors, grief speakers and even some TED Talks helped.

One late night, as I struggled to fall asleep, I decided to create a YouTube account so that I could subscribe to channels and save videos.  Surely, this would make things simpler. I typed my email into the system and YouTube promptly told me that my email was already associated with an existing account.

Hmmm … had I opened an account before and forgotten about it?  Lord knows that was possible, though I didn’t remember doing so.

So, I requested a password reset and soon I learned that my account name was Burntlip.

It took but a second to connect the dots. Then, I smiled.

Of course, I kept the name.

10 thoughts on “Burntlip Smile

  1. I laughed at loud when I first read “burntlips” and then smiled at the end – how perfect 🙂 Much love to you, my friend!


  2. Sooo heartwarming Sherry.😘
    I hope you and Dave are doing great during this distancing thing. Can’t wait to be over so we all can hang out soon.


  3. Ahhhh. Sherrie! Love how Ian continues to find ways to keep his tie with you alive! Thank you for continuing to touch our hearts with your gift with words. 🌈♥️🦋


  4. you have a great gift of writing Sherrie it shows all the strong Love that’s in you God Bless the Family love you guys….uncle and aunty


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