My dear mum has been gone now 19 years and I still miss her every day. But to say I am motherless sounds horrible. It sounds like it negates all the love and nurturing my mother gave me; love and nurturing which I try to emulate with my own beautiful daughter.
Sadly, I am not alone in knowing what it is to have and to lose a mother.
Time passes and with it go the birthdays, love stories, anniversaries, family arrivals and departures, house moves, new jobs, maturity and learning. And each milestone is a mile more along the road that we don’t walk together.
I am the mother of a daughter who is herself the mother of two beautiful children. How my mum would have loved her great-grandchildren!
And I am the mother of a son. A son who is no longer with us, who died 15 years ago this year. I hope he is with his Gran. He loved her and never missed an opportunity to snuggle up with her on the sofa, he on one side, my daughter on the other.
Sometimes I see my mother when I look in the mirror. Sometimes I see my daughter there too. Our continuum is unique to us, yet it is part of that bigger scene with my mum at the top, the kindly matriarch whose presence is felt even though she is no longer here. Her wisdom was passed down, through me to my daughter. The next turn of the family wheel will see that knowledge and wisdom evolve and develop. My daughter will pass it on to her daughter. So goes our female history.
Many women make the journey to motherhood without a mum. They manage admirably and instinctively. It’s in their DNA, I guess. Those women might reach out to other mums to mother them. If you are lucky enough to be on the receiving end, what a privilege it is to own and embrace that special status.
I read somewhere, ‘All women are mothers, because all women bring life into the world in some way’. Whether or not we become biological parents, we nurture, we teach, we enfold those whom we love and support them in any ways they need. We do not need to have given birth to someone to love them as unconditionally as we would love children born of our bodies.
As women, we might be mothers, stepmothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends, confidantes, colleagues, neighbours.
Whether or not you are a biological mother, whether or not your mother is here, it is your mum who grew you and bore you out into the world. That gives every single one of us, of whatever gender, a commonality and a uniqueness that makes us the wonderful human creatures that we are.
I have managed to get through this post without mention of how today is affected by Covid-19. This is a unique kind of Mother’s Day.
But despite the restrictions and contingencies we are all facing right now, and in celebration of all mothers everywhere, I say: Happy Mother’s Day 2020!