Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

First off...Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!
This is a photo of me and my mom, taken in 1969 at a cousin's wedding. She was probably taking a break from dancing up a storm as she usually did at these sort of gatherings. I always loved that dress that she is wearing. My mom was an awesome seamstress and actually made that dress. Many, many years ago she let me have the dress when I thought it would be a cool retro thing to wear. No matter the dress is something like a size 4 and I might have been a size 4 for two weeks in 6th grade. But anyway, I still have it, and who knows, I might be able to wear it someday!
My mom passed away in 2005, so this is the third year I have had the wonderful experience of attending the "Memories of Mother" tea that is hosted by the Torrance Memorial Home Health and Hospice. The purpose of this event is to allow us "motherless daughters" a chance to celebrate and honor our mothers. This year I did OK, but the first two years I was pretty much of a basket-case, and I was grateful for the support of the others.
Everyone brings a photo of their mom to place on a large table. It is great fun to see all the different photos of all the moms. Some photos are old, and some might have been taken literally a few months ago. The Beach Cities Harp Ring provides soothing music as we gather together and reminisce.
One year the event was a panel discussion of women that had lost their mothers and shared their stories. Last year two or three women told their stories. This year we here honored to have Hope Edelman who pretty much wrote the book, so to speak, with her now classic, "Motherless Daughters: A Legacy of Loss" in 1994. I didn't know this before, but the day before Mother's Day is designated Motherless Daughters Day and there were similar events happening all over the US.
Hope shared her story of losing her mom when she was only 17 years old and how she searched and searched unsuccessfully for information and help to deal with her loss. Her search ended in the writing of the book and through it, she hopes that she can help other women who are going through the experiences she did.
No one is ever ready to lose their mom, but to lose your mom when you yourself are a child, teen or young adult is especially devastating. Some women feel lost without the nurturing and role-modeling a mother gives.
One thing that Hope mentioned and other women agreed with was that after her mother died, everybody in her "support sphere" (my quotes) just STOPPED talking about her mom. After the funeral she says, it was like her mom never existed. WOW.
That's crazy. I might be in a "special" family or something... (Well, yeah, I KNOW that is true) but we ALWAYS TALK ABOUT those that have passed before. Heh-Heh...and maybe not always in the most favorable of terms! My family has a HUGE lore of those that are no longer with us. Emails shoot across the country on "Ethel-isms", crazy stories of Angie, Kitty, Phee, and Barb. TONS of stories of Tommy and Bobby. Of COURSE we talk about could we not?!?!?!? I know that in my immediate family circle if someone says something a little too anal...they are greeted with a joyful "OK BARB" (That's my mom, and loving, compassionate, caring, cool person she was....she had also some "quirks" and we loved her all the more for them)
The presentation was powerful and uplifting. I'm fortunate I was able to have had my mom around for a relatively long time (not long enough!) and I can't begin to imagine not having had her love and support when I was growing up. I got to thinking that my mom was a motherless daughter herself, having lost her mom when she was only 8 years old.
Here's the write-up from The Daily Breeze


Margaux Y said...

I was just thinking the other day about how, even though she was pretty traditional, how in-touch Grams was! I was telling Aaron about how you wanted to take a drafting class in middle school, but couldn't because you're a girl...and Grams said "To heck with that! My girl is going to take this class!" Or how she was all for Mom being the first female band leader. It's funny-I'd heard these stories all my life, but never really understood their significance in the time period, or what it said about her, until recently.
She was an amazing lady- a real trooper! Last time I was home we watched some old home videos and I couldn't get over how great a wife she was either. Here was Gramps, with his new video camera, 'experimenting' with EVERY weather condition...and Grams just going along with it because she knew it was important to him. Although, she did throw a few snowballs at him once :) Anyway, she was terrific and I miss her too. xoxo said...

Okay, so now I've stopped sniffling sufficiently to comment (which looks pretty funny since I'm at work!)
Thanks Mary for writing such a sweet article this week! I'm glad you have your motherless daughter tea. I know you've told me about it before. As you know, I stayed home and sewed, so I thought of mom a lot too. Kind of a tough morning though.
And then I remembered it was Bob's first Mother's Day without his mom! So, we had a few extra hugs for each other to help us through the day.
And yes--all the remembering in our 'family' is very special!
Love you lots Mary!
your sis-

MaryRuth said...

Thanks for the nice comments Margaux and Andi. Yeah Mom was a pretty special lady, that's for sure.
We were all blessed to have had her in our lives.
I forgot about this was Bob's first one without his mom....give him a big hug from me too.

LA Farm Girl said...

I am so glad to hear you found Hope's talk inspiring and comforting. I actually do the ADVANTAGE Newsletter for Torrance Memorial and when I was putting it together and including the Tea, I heard many wonderful stories about her. It's good to hear they are true.


john said...

So, it's about time that I'm able to tell you just how special everyone was to " Barb ". In all the (short ) time we had her I don't recall her saying anything mean about anyone or anything we might have done. It seems that she would absorb the hurt internally. She would tell me " Don't be like that". Oh that's ok, you can get a card later. Your Mother always thought there was a goodness in everyone, not meanness.
Yes, we sure do miss her today and all the other days too. Pops

MaryRuth said...

Judi--wow, you sure are the writer-about-town!

Dad--You're right..Mom always saw the good in someone and always tried to see the other person's side of a story. I really miss her.