“There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and brave as a lioness... The memory of my mother and her teachings were, after all, the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way.” -Abraham Lincoln
A mother's story is sacred. The relationship she has with a daughter is a unique one, full of love adventure and beauty. A mother is a little girls' first cheerleader, beauty model, stylist, counselor, storyteller and the like.
There are so many things a mother can be for a daughter--but what about when there is a time that the mother can be there no more?Who will that little girl grow up to be? What will she remember of her dear, sweet mother? Will she have anything to hold of hers? Any memories to relive and cherish? What will she do on those special days that all mothers should be around for?
If you have lost your mother, then you know. There's no guide for this sort of loss--no manual for how to grieve, how to grow, how to remember or how to rebuild. It all comes day by day, moment by moment. The pieces may never fit the way they used to, but you can try o form a new mosaic with each small broken piece. While you sit there sifting through, if you still yourself long enough, you can feel her--guiding you, leading you, helping you see the picture she always dreamed for you.
Maybe the image comes to you from the memory of when she sat and painted your toenails with red polish and told you that you were the most beautiful girl in the world. Or through your memory of crying over your first true love and as she wiped back your tears, she reminded you of your priceless worth. Perhaps you remember your first big failure and instead of consolation she told you to "buck up" and shared one of her own failures with you and how it had taught her something critical. Whatever brings back those memories that remind you of her spirit and of the woman she was teaching you to be, those moments are the stories to remember and hold onto forever.
My mom didn't have much time between discovering her illness and dying, so she didn't have much time to prepare myself or my sisters, but the life she lived before and through her leukemia was clear enough. I knew she loved me, and I'm sure she knew how much I loved her. Still, when two years after she passed away, I opened her old cook book for Christmas, I noticed a note she left for me that simply stated, "These are our Christmas cookies! Love, Mom :)" It meant the world to me...knowing she left this for me, with her great forethought that at some point I'd probably want to know what they were and go looking.
So what if we could write down things that we really appreciate about what our Mothers’ taught us while they were still alive, whether while they were sick or before, remembering those things that were unique about them that they thought important enough to pass on to us...whether it was her adventurous spirit, whether she taught you how to play the piano or passed on the knowledge of how to substitute ingredients when you’re cooking and can’t run to the store! I'm not going to tell you what to write because your story is unique and your memories of your mom are unique, but we’d like to concentrate on who your Mother was and continues to be in you, especially through the things she passed on before she had to pass on. It would also be good if you would write a bit about what you wish she had taught you...things that now you wonder and wish she was there to teach you about.
I'm sure most mothers who know their time is near would want to and have left mementos for their daughters--whether actual items or in memories that can be held not in the hand but in the heart.
These memories and things clearly left behind are what we'd like to remember together and share with other mothers who are facing their own potential early departure. Maybe through our stories of our mothers, we can allow another mother to leave her daughter a clear and lasting legacy. One she'd be proud to watch her daughter grow into.
Once we get all the stories together, we'd like to put it into a book (title TBD) and link it to a blog as well so that other mothers can write their thoughts or ideas. Ponder on this a little while, then let me know if you can or will write your story with us. It would be an honor to have you share your mother with us in this way.