The Day After Mother’s Day

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”  ~Washington Irving,  American author, essayist, biographer and historian  1783– 1859

Mother and me 1995

With Mother shortly before she died

I have read lots of lovely tributes to mothers from other bloggers.  And they were certainly worth reading.

Unfortunately, my Mother and I didn’t have the greatest relationship once I grew up.  I guess because I was the middle daughter and my elder sister was sick (first polio and then rheumatic fever) and my younger sister was ‘the baby’ I quickly grew to rely on myself.  Not that my Mother wasn’t a loving and caring person, we just never developed the close relationship that each of my sisters had with her and from reading yesterday’s posts, many of you obviously have or had with your mother.

Because of my independence I didn’t involve her in my life as much as she would have liked.  I was the first to marry and move away from home.  Having said that,  as my husband was away quite a lot at the time, I stayed with my parents in the weeks leading up to my daughter’s birth and Mother was there for me.

And even though I moved away from London, she was there when I had a couple of miscarriages, coming up to Scotland to look after me and her granddaughter.  She also came to stay when I had my son.  This was her way of showing how much she loved me.

We kept in touch over the years of my travels around the world, by letter and the occasional (very expensive) telephone call.  Wednesday was my day for writing letters home – both to my parents and my husband’s father.  I have carbon copies (are you old enough to remember carbon paper) of many of those letters.

Thank you

And once I thought it was time to say thank you to both of my parents for the love and support they had given me.  So I wrote them a letter telling them how much their love meant to me, and hoping that my children would be able to say how great their childhood had been because of their parents.  Mother never commented on the letter but after she died Father told me how pleased she had been to receive it.

And as I have grown older and look back on my life, I know there are ways in which I could have shown her how much I loved her.  But I didn’t and while she looks happy to be with me in the photo she was suffering Alzheimer’s and didn’t know who I was.

So to all you people out there who still have your Mothers and Fathers, take the time to tell them how much they mean to you.  It’s too late when you are attending their funeral – Let them know when they are alive that you appreciate all the care and love they bestowed upon you.

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead my midnight.  Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster.  Your life will never be the same again.”  Og Mandino, American Author, 1923 – 1996

Butterfly

Photo - Ed Dear





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14 responses to “The Day After Mother’s Day

  1. A beautiful post. I never had a close relationship with my mom but I know she loved me and our relationship got better near the end of her life. Your advice is sound. Tell your parents TODAY that you love them. Don’t wait another day. There may not be another. My dad was gone of a heart attack in two days. Luckily I had a chance to tell him I loved him but my brother didn’t and it has always troubled him. Don’t wait.

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  2. InsideJourneys

    Best advice ever! I’m happy that you were able to do tell your mom thanks – not everyone seizes the opportunity to do so.

    I chuckled when I read the part about the carbon copies. My, you are organized!
    Incidentally, when I arrived at the Victoria Falls airport last year, the immigration officials were writing visas and recording arrivals by hand with carbon paper. Wish I could have taken a photo.

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  3. It sounds like our MOM relationships were similar..Tell her thank you every day and just hope she can hear.

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  4. Yes, carbon copies. that black stuff (or blue) got everywhere. Then half the time, people didn’t press down hard enough to make the duplicate page legible.

    Our family is one to be independent from one another. My mom moved out when she was young and had me at 19. Although a struggle, my grandparents always were in a different state from us and we rarely saw them and there was the occasional phone call. My mom liked her freedom from her parents and now she likes her freedom from her one and only child. She prefers to only see us a handful of times/year. She doesn’t want us popping over unxepectedly. We have to reserve time on her busy calendar. She only wants to be “grandma” sometimes and for very short periods of time.

    We love each other, but that is how our relationship works. Hopefully, my husband and I can break this cycle with my kids. Independence is good, but complete separation is not. We want to be involved grandparents. I don’t want to go months without talking to my kids and that be ok. However, that’s how it is with my parents.

    Not everyone has those close relationships we read about or see on t.v. I don’t feel badly about this. It’s how she wanted it and that was how I was raised. It is what it is.

    I forgot to call her yesteday, suppose I better. She didn’t call me either. Neither of us is hurt by this, we accept that’s us.

    Sandi
    http://www.ahhsome.wordpress.com
    Lake Forest, California USA

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    • I don’t feel badly about my relationship with my mother either. I knew if I needed her she was there for me and she wanted to be more involved in our lives than was possible living so far away.
      I have a regular time to catch up with my kids and don’t ever just pop in on them. They have their lives to lead and I have mine.
      My sister is quite different. She is very involved with both her daughters lives and with their children. She is the one most like my Mother.
      Thanks for commenting Sandi.

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  5. Beautiful post, Judith. I’m glad I was able to inspire you. I’m glad you found the good in your relationship with your mother, and that you are encouraging others to do the same, to love their parents while they’re still here. Those of us who’ve lost ours, need to carry that message and carry it often, remind them while they still have a chance. Thank you, Judith, for conveying your story so eloquently. Hugs!

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    • Sometimes I wonder if I am putting too much of myself out there but then I read the comments on the blogs and know that this is what I am supposed to do.
      Thanks for your comments. Hugs back to you 🙂
      Judith

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  6. Wonderful post, Judith. 🙂

    My mother died in September 2009. Having married and moved away, I didn’t spend a lot of time with my mother once I was an adult until 2007 when I temporarily lived nearby and was able to visit her and my father once a month. This was about a year before Mom was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I am so thankful for that year as it allowed Mom and I to get to know each other again, to resolve some things, and to say, “I love you,” to each other. It also allowed me to get closer to my father which, I hope, has helped since Mom died.

    One of the things Mom said to me near the end of that year of being nearby was, “I feel as though I’ve gotten my oldest daughter back.” There was something about the way she said it that made it something wonderful to hear.

    I not only remember carbon paper, I bet I still have some in the filing cabinet. lol!

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    • I am so glad you were able to reconnect with your Mom before she died. And the memories of that year you were able to be with her with help you in the coming years.
      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  7. Oh Judith…this post made me cry! I’m sorry you feel that your mother didn’t like you as much as your sisters…

    My mom and I were always very close, but I left home and moved 2000 miles away in my early 20s, and never lived closer than 1000 miles away again. When my mother fell ill, it was my younger brother who looked after her for the last 23 years of her life…I’ve always felt guilty about not being there for her…

    She died 3 1/2 years ago…I miss her a lot, but am happy knowing she is no longer in pain…

    Wendy

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  8. Oh Wendy – I didn’t mean that she didn’t like me as much as my sisters. She loved us all but my sisters had a closer bond with her forged when we were growing up.
    I will always thank my mother for allowing me to be independent and when I visited before she died, my father told me how proud she was of all I had achieved.
    As you I do feel guilty that my younger sister bore the burden of looking after the elderly parents but circumstances and distance made this inevitable unfortunately.
    Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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  9. Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated and frustrating at times, but I believe they do the best they can, given who they were and given who we are. In the end, the important thing is that our mothers are there for us, we are there for them, and there is always love… even when it is unspoken.

    Beautiful post, Judith.
    -Martie

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  10. Pingback: In Accepting This Award… | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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