Mother loss is a great equalizer


I remember the woman whose mother died not long before my mother and the woman whose mother died after my mom.  I never forget that is what connects us.

“You have to become that person who says –
Don’t worry, you’re doing fine.
You’re doing the best you can.”

I would hear this internally as I tried to adjust to my mother’s sudden departure and the
responsibilities that thrust upon me, especially when I used the toilet in the bathroom where she died in her jacuzzi tub.

She had some kind of blockage at her esophagus and had been prescribed a strong pain medication.  She was scheduled to have a procedure to remove it only a few days after she already had died.  She had passed a heart stress test in preparation for that procedure with flying colors.

But she had a massive heart attack.  My dad was in woulda, coulda, shoulda mode (because he found her there the next morning) until the coroner ruled that he couldn’t have.

Her birthday falls on the last day of this month of January.

“A mother you perceive as really knowing you –
that is who you count on, the one you keep looking for.”

My mother was an adoptee and she yearned for her mother.  By the time the scandal of the agency that she was adopted from (the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis under the supervision of the infamous Georgia Tann) came back into the national consciousness in the early 1990s with dramatic reunions of mothers and their children televised for all to see, not only would the state not give her her adoption records but they told her that her mother had died years before.

She was devastated.  Though her adoptive mother had been over the moon to receive her as an infant, growing up, there were tensions.  Her mother was never “mom” as my own mother was.  She was very formal, somewhat strict and obsessed with body image.  When I saw the photo of my natural maternal grandmother, I saw we came from strong farm stock, even though no one would have judged her “fat”.  Fat is often more of a perception than a reality.

I remember during a troubled period in my own life going into the darkened kitchen at my parents’ house and my mother came looking for me.  Intuitively, she sensed my distress.

“Mother loss is a great equalizer among women.”

~ the quotes centered above are from

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman


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