Motherless Daughters

Soon after my mom died, I ordered several books about dealing with grief, and more specifically about dealing with the loss of a mother.

The most helpful book of all for me has been “Motherless Daughters”, by Hope Edelman as well as another book that went along with it, “Letters from Motherless Daughters”.

I’ve probably read this book three or four times now, and I feel like each time I find some other item within it that I relate to that I hadn’t noticed before.

Here’s a few interesting stats that the book mentions:
* Three months after the loss, 80% say they still miss their mothers very much.
* 74% said losing a mother was one of the hardest things they had ever dealt with
* 67% continued to experience emotional reactions, including sadness and crying, for one to five years after the death.
* 86% reported a shift in their priorities after a mother’s death.

I think that the misunderstanding that so widely exists with the loss of loved ones is that after a short initial mourning period, people get “back to normal” and feel great again. And while it IS true that things get easier each day, what this book taught me early on is that I can’t really ever expect to “get over” losing Mom. It will always be something I carry with me, the rest of my life. And I know this is true, because my mom lost HER mom at age 27 (the same age I was when mom died), and I remember mom talking about the loss of her mom in tears and sadness even in recent years!

Just today I ordered one other book from this same author. This one is titled: “Motherless Mothers: How Mother Loss Shapes the Parents We Become”. I’m REALLY looking forward to devouring this one too, and hopefully I will get to read it before Lauren’s arrival. For me, parenting is the area where I feel my mom’s loss almost the most. While she was alive (and especially before she got sick), I talked to her (usually on the phone, since she lived in a different state or town than me most of the time) almost daily, and I really appreciated her input and advice on parenting issues. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much time with her wisdom parenting-wise, because Liam is still so young so we were just starting down the road of training up a child.

So anyway, I am looking forward to reading Hope Edelman’s book on parenting without your mom around. A quote that I read from her book already tells me that it is going to be a worthwhile read:

“When motherhood interfaces with the long-term mourning process, the result is exponential. Becoming a mother can give a motherless daughter access to a more enhanced, more insightful, deeper, richer, and, in some cases, ultimate phase of mourning for her mother, one that may initially be painful but eventually leads her to a more mature and peaceful acceptance of both her loss and herself.”

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8 thoughts on “Motherless Daughters

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing this, Kelly. It is easy to think people will get back to normal, and not realize the thoughts/feelings/struggles that might surface even years later. It’s a good reminder. Sounds like those books are good ones! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing! I think of you often and am praying for you. I will also share this with my sis-in-law. she just lost her mom to colon cancer as well. Her mom was 52. you both are on my mind and my heart a lot.

  3. Thank you Kelly, I plan to read both books myself. You are so right about thinking of your departed Mom often. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think of mine.

  4. Kelly, I think of you often and appreciate your posts. In the short time I was best friends with your mom, the virtue that stood out to me was the way she nurtured all of us. I can’t even capture in words the numerous ways she served us in hospitality. Having grown up a hard core career woman and feminist, It was your mom who mentored me and helped me renew my mind in terms of motherhood.During the last visit I had with her in your parent,s home in OR, she insisted on playing with my hair to try to create new hair styles for me. She ended up teasing my hair and the result was a wild looking bush on top of my head! We dissolved into laughter. I always told your mom that she taught me to have fun and to play games ( both of which I was lacking in until I met her).

  5. Kelly, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss Mom. As Rosemarie indicated above, she was a remarkable woman — Christian, wife, mother, friend, mentor to many… What a privilege to have been blessed to have her in my life for 38 years, and of course in yours for 27.

    You are a wonderful daughter!

    Love, Dad

  6. Kelly,

    Thanks for posting about your Mom. Continuing to pray for you. Looking forward to seeing you and baby Lauren in October. hugs.

  7. Thanks for sharing this Kelly. I am a motherless daughter as well and I dread pregnancy, childbirth and parenting for that very reason – Since this post is a bit older I am sure your little daughter has arrived in this world and is very much THERE now – If you do find time inbetween to visit your blog I would love to hear from you and maybe share – I find it so hard to find people that can relate to my feeling of love – that’s why I’ve started my own blog only yesterday in search of other women I could relate too – All the best to you and your family

    xxx Kianys

  8. Hello,

    Since Mother’s Day is approaching, I am again revisiting grief. It is cyclical, like I too learned from Hope Edelman. I lost my mother to divorce when I was 4 and then to suicide when I was 11. Fortunately, my relationship with Jesus as my God and Savior began early that year. This relationship has been my firm foundation through the years. It has been 21 years since my mother’s passing and still I grieve.

    I just found Motherless Mother’s and checked it out from the library. I have two children and am constantly wondering what my mother would think of them. No other woman has really stepped in to fill that hole. My MIL and my stepmother are both great women, but there just isn’t that ideal bond that I have in my head.

    I am pursuing God about my loss and asking Him for His wisdom, because He is the giver of good gifts and He will make all things beautiful in His time. I am trusting Him.

    I hope to get to know others who like me have lost their mother, but have also found God and are looking to Him for their answers.

    ~Jennifer

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