Mother’s Day

God I love Anne Lamott.  On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and any holiday for that matter, I post very carefully on social media.  On Mother’s Day this year Anne Lamott wrote “here is my annual Mother’s Day post, ONLY for those of you who dread the holiday, dread having strangers, cashiers and waiters exclaim cheerfully, mindlessly, “Happy Mother’s Day!” when it is a day that, for whatever reason, makes you feel deeply sad. This is for those of you who may feel a kind of sheet metal loneliness on Mother’s Day, who had an awful mother, or a mother who recently died, or wanted to be a mother but didn’t get to have kids, or had kids who ended up breaking your hearts.”   

Some people love Mother’s Day, others could take it of leave it.  Ever since my mom died  of pancreatic cancer in 2008 I’m neutral about it.  I don’t need Mother’s Day to remind me I miss her or to think of her.  I miss her and think of her every day.  Every day.  My mom was 44 when my dad died of cancer in 1974.  I was 14.  She became my best friend, my hero, my role model, and my confidante.  She let me cry when I missed my dad so much and answered all my questions about him and about them through the years.  “Tell me again how you met daddy,” I would say.  As I got older the questions got deeper.  “What was it like to be left alone with two teenagers and so many bills to pay?  Were you scared? How did you carry on?”

The thing that slays me about my mom, and about the families I would see at Imagine, is how they do~ carry on.  They get up every day and feed their kids, dress their kids, get them ready for school, and figure out the bills and getting to work, and the groceries and the meal and the homework and doctor’s appointments.   

The past year two years of COVID all I could think of was how these “only parents” were able to carry on.  Because now they not only had to work but they also had to deal with their children going to school in their home!  One mom who attended Imagine with her four children for years prior to COVID was unable to attend a single virtual Night of Support this past year.  The stress and strain of home schooling and her own job along with every single other thing for which she was responsible, just made it impossible.  The place that had provided support prior to COVID was now inaccessible, not because we weren’t open, but because after managing the day, and being on Zoom, getting support on Zoom was out of the question. 

Thankfully in early 2022 Imagine opened again in person.  Imagine still offers virtual peer support which I have to say we figured out how to do really well! This makes Imagine available to far more families than when we were just providing support in-person.  A sliver of a silver lining.  

But back to my mom.  It was her resiliency in the face of her great loss, our great loss, that inspires me to this day.  She taught me through her example about perseverance, about courage, about faking it ‘til you make it, and about hard work.  

While I would have given anything for my family back then to have had “an Imagine,” it gives me so much satisfaction to have it now.  Thanks to our amazing volunteers, donors, and staff we have it now!  I always say my brother and I lost years of our lives to unaddressed grief. I now get to see daily the hundreds of lives touched of children who won’t lose those years, who won’t struggle daily 50 years later as my brother still does with regret and unresolved grief.  

In 1974 when my dad died people didn’t understand the impact the death of a parent or sibling could have on a young child’s live. We have learned a lot since then.  While the death of a parent is a trauma for a child, it doesn’t have to leave them traumatized.  That is very good news.  With support, with the buffering presence of caring adults, with permission and invitations to tell their story and have all of their feelings, Imagine and other centers like it, along with the field of grief support specialists, are changing the course of hundreds of children’s lives.   

Recent posts

Grief isn’t good or bad. It just is.

Grief isn’t good or bad, or right or wrong. Grief just is. Grief is the array of emotions we feel in response to losing someone or something we love or value in our lives.

They key to how well, or how “good” we’re going to do after a loss is mourning. Mourning is the outward expression of our internal feelings.

read more