For me, it’s hard to find the words to convey what it is like to be a Motherless daughter. It means something different at every stage in my life. Hope Edelman wrote in her book “Motherless Daughters” about wanting to shout to everyone that her mom died because it sums up so much of who she is. I get that. The only thing that has impacted me greater than losing my Mom at the age of 15 has been becoming a Mom myself.
Not all of the sadness comes from not having that person who you know above all would answer your call or would have a piece of advice whether or not you want it. My sadness has morphed in to comprehending the absence of time needed to know your mom beyond being your Mom. My Mother was a beautiful kind of chaos. A kind of chaos that rears it’s fury all over my own thoughts, reactions and emotions. I know it’s there…I can feel the connection. I just wish I could see it in her eyes these days. That my daughter could see the
common fragile thread that exists between me and the woman that created me so that when she gets older, she’ll be able to not only see but understand and embrace the kind of crazy we share.
My Mother’s battle with mental illness and addictions prevented her version of mothering to be found in any how-to book; however, I still crave to know what her answers would have been to the questions I need to ask her about how I am suppose to mother. It’s unsettling that no matter how dysfunctional or even neglectful your Mother may be, you still love her and want her in your life. She is the first piece of my story and it is the piece I know the least about because of the point in my, and her ,life when I lost her.
No body goes to a school and learns the tricks of the trade on parenting but most have that go-to professor she calls Mom. That’s the void that I live with in my heart. However, I have been blessed with women landing in my life for reasons I am just now starting to really understand. Women that if were asked to gather in a small space, would form a shape that fits perfectly inside the void in my heart left when my Mom died. These women have molded me by offering divinely designed doses of lessons my Mom may or may not have been able to teach me… had she had enough time.
These women, have taken many forms. A sister that cared for me (and still does) when there was no body left to do the job and that understood that her sheer presence in my life was a matter of tipping the scales towards history NOT repeating itself. A teacher who created lesson plans out of thin air just so she could carry me under her wing for a little while longer. A co-worker and friend that gave me a glimpse of what recovery could have looked like for my own Mother and shared her many lessons learned along the way. A coach that hugged me and then told me to get up when I fell and try harder. A friend that no matter how dark or mundane it gets, has the power to raise me up and keep me laughing. A boss that didn’t accept my judgments of people presenting weaker than me and pointed my heart in the right direction to help instead of judge. A college professor that supported my quest to identify a diagnosis that best suited my Mother’s actions and personality. Not one but two single Moms who opened their doors to me when I rebelled the hardest and needed love the most. A soul sister’s Mother who embodied what a Mother should look like and taught me the power of prayer. And a woman, my Mother’s, brother’s daughter, who by no coincidence, I connected with to ensure that I knew I was not alone.
So Mom…I say this to you with a broken but healing heart. I understand why you couldn’t be the one to parent and/or, in the flesh, support me in parenting my own. The only beauty in your departure has been the grace in which these other Moms have and continue to imprint my life. I have grown from a Mother-less daughter to a daughter or many Mothers.
14 thoughts on “Motherless Mom.”
Thank you for making my post about, or for rather, my mom a part of your own story on the subject. It’s not an easy place to be and I am sorry you had to join this club.
I completely understand that. My mom just passed away in september but she wasn’t there for me. She lived in Georgia and was very sick but despite our poor relationship i loved her and wished i had that someone to turn to.
Carey I was very sorry to hear about your mom passing. I sent many thoughts your way. And honestly you were one of the ones that I was hoping would read this post. Mostly because I think you understand the irony of having unconditional love for someone that was supposed to give you so much more than they were capable of doing. Hope you and your family are well. And THANKS! for reading my blog. It means a lot.
It’s amazing to find another woman in this world who thinks/feels/lives like you do / and what a blessing(s) that you’ve had by being open enough to fill that hole left by her with so many wonderful women 🙂
Thank you so much for that. My old soul has heard “whispers” as Oprah calls them since I was really young but it wasn’t really until I was at some of my lowest points as an adult that i began to see signs for what they really are…gifts. I’ve had many.
You are the first blogger I have found who is a motherless daughter. I lost mine when I was 16. I remember seeing Hope Edelman’s book when it was first published in the early 90’s and tears streaming down my face as I sat at Barnes & Noble and read my own thoughts reflected back at me on those pages. The milestones of getting my driver’s license, getting engaged, shopping for a wedding dress, getting married, becoming a mother – all of them bring my mom to the forefront of my mind. I’ve experienced mother-loss twice actually, because I was adopted so in a sense, I lost my first mother at birth, then my mom at 16. At 38, I searched for my birth-mom and found she had committed suicide when I was 18. I’ve been reading through some of your posts and I just love your raw honesty. It takes courage to tell your story. That has been the reason for starting my blog. It empowers me to see my life-story and all the struggles and injustices I was dealt as lessons-learned and wisdom-found. So glad I stopped by. Take care and thanks for sharing.
Jackie, I found it! Again, I am so sorry I missed your comment. Especially because of the tender subject in which this is about. Your story is heart wrenching and I am so sorry you are a part of the motherless club. It’s so difficult to go through life, all the milestones, good and bad moments, without your mom–no matter the circumstances that surround why she is not with you. I admire your willingness to put your story on “paper”. For those of us who have had difficult hands dealt to us–it’s hard to let ourselves be vulnerable to write it all out and actually look at what we have overcome or continue to overcome. You are brave and no doubt will find even more strength as you continue your journey with your blog. Please, never hesitate to reach out…I’ve learned a thing or two about this crazy blogosphere over the last two 1/2 yrs 😉 ~Dawn
Hi Dawn – Thanks for the reply 🙂 No worries AT ALL on the delay. I appreciate your offer of support. I will definitely be in touch and I really look forward to reading more of your courageous story.