When Mothers’ Day Is Anything But Happy

Tomorrow, mothers will be served breakfast in bed, taken out to brunch and children of all ages will happily send cards, flowers and good wishes to the women who raised them.

Social media, well… all media will be filled with reminders of the day, stores will be filled with shoppers, restaurants will be overflowing with mothers and their children and even your local street corner may be occupied by someone selling mothers’ day flowers.

It will be a day of love and happiness.

But not for everyone.

It will be a day of inescapable pain for many.

Women who have tried to conceive and been unable

Mothers who have lost children

Those who have lost their mother

Those who were abused or neglected by their mother

Those who are estranged from their mother

Yes, a woman who has been unable to conceive can adopt, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel a great loss and/or inadequacy for not being able to do what many traditions deem to be the most important and sacred duty for a woman. Add to that, the fact that the average cost of adoption in this country ranges from $34,093.00 to $39,966.00 which is a hefty debt to take on, on top of what it costs to raise a child and it’s not so simple or even possible for many.

For a woman who has lost a child by miscarriage, illness, suicide or accident, Mothers’ Day is nothing but overwhelming pain, loss and (unfounded) guilt. We all expect to outlive our parents, but no one expects or should have to bury a child.

While we all expect to outlive our parents, it doesn’t make that loss any less traumatic and life altering.

Many more suffer in silence because they were neglected or abused by their mothers. It’s still considered taboo to speak about such things, and often when the victims of such behavior choose to share with those they trust, that trust is most often, albeit, unintentionally violated by well meaning but misguided advice to forgive and get over it. It’s not that simple or perhaps even possible, and if you are ever tempted to give that little nugget of advice to someone… Don’t.

For those whose abusive, or neglectful mothers are still alive, they may have made the painful decision to sever ties for their physical and emotional health and that of their families. No matter how grievous the offenses against them and no matter how many other options were exhausted first, they are wracked with guilt and don’t need someone telling them that they should “reach out” on Mothers’ Day. Again, if you’re tempted to offer this advice… Don’t

Those of you who are or still have their mothers, embrace that day, tell and show them how much you love them.

If you are a mother, hug and kiss that child and tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them (bonus if they are of an age where they pretend to hate it 😉

None of us will begrudge you the happiness that we lost or were never afforded. We don’t want to ruin the day for you. If we care about you, we want you to have your happiness because we never know when life will change or end and that happiness is fleeting.

I share this, in hope that you will not, in an effort to help, make this day harder on someone who is estranged from their mother or has bad memories of their mother.

I share this because many people (far more than you would likely ever imagine) will be in pain tomorrow, most of them will not tell anyone how painful Mothers’ Day is for them out of fear of ruining the celebration for others and/or the fear of being judged and given unsolicited, inappropriate and damaging advice.

I share this so they will know that their experiences and pain are valid and that they are not alone.



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One year ago today

One year ago today, my mother died.

I’ve written plenty about that time, the circumstances surrounding her death and my unfortunate childhood.

I will not post about any of that today.

It will take a long time a lifetime to deal with it all.

No one and no situation is all good or all bad.

But I needed to do something today. To, if not honor observe the “anniversary”.

Last week, I received what the public administrators office deemed, “personal effects with sentimental value”.

I will not go into what was or wasn’t there or why.

But there were some things that I knew I needed to re home.

He roommate Pat (and Irish Catholic) left her with many items some of which I received last year and a few that came last week.

I have already re homed three crucifixes. If one was raised with them (I was not, I was raised Methodist) it’s a comforting symbol. For someone like me (who although not a Christian would imagine the it would be about resurrection and life teachings not death) the image of a dead guy nailed to a cross is rather disturbing.

With that said, I know that it is a sacred symbol to many people and I could not dispose of something that Pat considered sacred and that my mother kept. It may not be a sacred object to me, but I respect the fact that is is a sacred object to other people and will treat it as such.

The first three crucifixes were re homed to my friend Jessica in Madison Wisconsin, my friend John in Bonney Lake and Dale.

There was another crucifix in this last batch.

I knew that if I put it out on Facebook someone who appreciated it would take it.

But I emailed my neighbor Francine (a practicing Catholic)

As it turns out, she and her husband were just saying that they needed one for the hallway of their house.

Yes, it was meant to be.

The other items proved slightly more challenging.

First, the photos, letters and unpublished writings of my Bob’s Watson part of my mother’s “first” family, the Watson family also known as the “First Family of Hollywood” back in the day.

These were not my family memories (heck, I was a result of what she was stuck with and she never got over her first husband) but they were someone’s family memories.

I could not throw them away.

My mother was married to Delmar Watson (probably best known to most of you as “Peter the Goat Boy” in the Shirly Temple version of “Heidi”

Since the family was famous, and Delmar was a renowned photo journalist, I was able to track down the reporter who wrote about Delamr’s death and find a family contact.

I contacted the family and they are happy to have what was left to me for the museum.

Another item was the photo book I created for my mother a few years ago. She loved that book and reported carried it with her wherever she went. Her best friend Joyce loved that book and wanted a copy.

Those of you who have been to my home have seen my copy on my coffee table.

I am sending Joyce my mother’s copy.

The last item is a bit more difficult. Her boss’s wife is an actor (I used to act with her in productions at Plaza Players) and artist. She did a painting of the front of the office (a beautiful old Victorian home) with “Thumper” (the kitty office mascot) in front and tittled it “Thumper’s Castle” Thumper died not long ago. I did not want to just send the painting back as that could be considered an insult to the artist. Instead, I sent an email offering to send them the painting, explaining that I’d be happy to keep it, but I thought that it might be more meaningful to them. If they do not want it, I will not dispose of it.

So we will see what we see on that one.

In any event, this is difficult and will be difficult for a time.

But I felt that I needed to observe the day in a respectful manner and this is what I came up with.


Mood: Gotta Sad