Another Mother’s Day

If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day. It’s a day that makes me feel especially without. More recently I’ve thought about creating some special ritual to honor my mother, but have yet to come up with an idea that sticks….

This photo looks like it may have been a Mother’s Day. (I’m the little blond girl)

Mothers Day?

On a whim I entered this contest to write 200 words to share my personal story about what my mom means to be…. so I could win 2 tickets to the Womens Conference (Maria Shriver’s big shindig). Here’s what I came up with:

frozen at the doorway
it was a dream, no
a movie I watched once
lights flashing like red lightening, or
a projector,
not an ambulance
not that ambulance
everyone in slow motion—
You, Mother
on the floor, tiny and still
Father crying

I lost my mother when I was thirteen. Cancer. She had cancer. Sometimes I like to say cancer twice to give it more impact. Sometimes still, more than thirty years later, I have trouble saying my mother died. It’s not like I can just introduce myself and say, “Hi, I’m Jennifer, my mother died when I was thirteen.”

For a long time I let memories of her death cloud memories of my mother’s life. It was through writing about her, about her life and about my own life that I realized how much more there was to her. To both of us. I keep on my wall beside my desk a scroll, decorated with purple and pink tissue paper flowers and a poem of sorts from second grade:

Great, Fantastic,
Helps, Thinks, Cares
Loving, Joyful, Warm, Fun-Filled Mother

That is the mother I want to remember. That is the mother I want to be like.

2 thoughts on “Another Mother’s Day

  1. Our first conversation within minutes became a telling of your mother’s death at your early age, and my father’s death at my early age. I am convinced that this factoid about me was/is key to who I am, think I am, how I think, and how I act. Maybe I’m wrong. I wonder what you think about this proposition. Looking at your lovely photo, I surmise your mother died of cancer in her twenties. As you know (and thank you, dear Jenn, for posting your loving condolences!), my mother died recently of old age, which is how I see it: her 99 years was the cause of death.

    Defining myself (even partly) by having had a parent die when I was young puts me in a gargantuan society across space and time. And while the company is infinite, the feeling can be extremely lonely. Strange, isn’t it? I, like you, have begun to remember my mother and my long dead father in ways I want to remember them: happy ways, happy days. Why the heck, not? These days were as real as the sad ones filled with grief and hollowness.

    Thanks for your signature honest, witty, thoughtful post.

    PS I have observed that you enter contests and competitions often. And I admire you for this. The last contest I entered was in third grade. I don’t remember the prize nor the application requirements. Just that my neighbor Marlene, my senior by 2-3 years was kind enough to let me in on excitement and adventure that filled an otherwise dull and rainy weekend. I hope you win two tix to Maria’s shindig. She is a cool person with cool parents who lived long (and useful!) lives!


  2. Tamar, thank you for stopping by!

    Actually my mother died when she was 42, eight years after this photo.

    and contests… perhaps I am practicing for entering the big literary contests that will bring me fame and fortune! ha!


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