The Motherless Daughters’ Club: A Birthday Remembrance

mum_edited-1Today is my mother’s birthday. The third I have marked without her since she died. Her birthday was the last day I got to spend with her as my Mum; the next day she fell seriously ill and the brain tumor that unbeknownst to us was growing inside her, changed her forever. She was still my mother of course, but no longer my Mum so changed was she by cancer.

Another motherless daughter writing of her loss recently observed “The saying goes that a woman is born twice; the day she is born and the day her Mother dies. I have never heard more true words. I struggle with my loss. My life literally has become a state of before and after. I have not found the peace that I have been seeking since her death.”

I am not quite sure what that saying means. I certainly don’t feel any sense of rebirth, and the pain was compounded by losing the baby I was carrying at the same time as my mother’s death.

I turn often to the words of the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and bestselling author, Anna Quindlen, when it comes to putting words on my grief. Here is what I read again today.

After my mother died, I had a feeling that was not unlike the homesickness that always filled me for the first few days when I went to stay at my grandparents” house, and even, I was stunned to discover, during the first few months of my freshman year at college. It was not really the home my mother had made that I yearned for. But I was sick in my soul for that greater meaning of home that we understand most purely when we are children, when it is a metaphor for all possible feelings of security, of safety, of what is predictable, gentle, and good in life.

Each day that I miss my mother, and for each day, I mean every day, there is a longing to be back within her gentle, loving presence; to be at home again. People have asked me if I miss home during my stay here in Australia, and I always answer no. What I don’t say is that even when I am back in Ireland, I am homesick all the time without my Mum.