I have been re-reading Hope Edelman’s Motherless Daughters lately and this excerpt is still my favourite and affects me most powerfully:
“I am fooling only myself when I say that my mother exists now only in the photographs on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide.”
These words capture so beautifully the notion that our mothers are and always will be part of us. They influence our lives in a profound way even when they are no longer physically with us. Losing a mother is not a singular event, which you can get over and move on from. No matter what people tell you, there is no expiration date to grief. It’s ok to be just as broken and devastated five years later as the day she died.
It’s been three and a half years since my mama left this world. Without a doubt, she still influences all aspects of my life. From the small, mundane, and every day, such as styling my hair a certain way or choosing a greeting card for someone, to the big and monumental, such as parenting my daughter or making a career decision. She’s with me – her opinions, her thoughts, her unwavering and unconditional support.
Although I know it’s impossible, I wish I could stop missing her so badly. I wish I could take comfort and acceptance in the fact that she’s always with me. I wish I could stop yearning for her physical presence and let go of the need to be mothered. But I can’t. No matter how old I get, I will always need my mama.