Silver Linings

Posted by on May 1, 2006

“Mother may I?” is the topic of our blog writing exchange this month.

For me, these are loaded words.

My mother died in a car accident when I was thirteen. I am motherless.

I do have other mother figures in my life. I have a stepmother. I have a biological mother. I have a mother-in-law.

I’m grateful to have these other women in my life but they will never fill that hole. I feel  cheated. Sometimes I am angry. I think about what I don’t have.

People have asked me if I missed my mother more since having children. I have no idea how to answer that. I mean of course I miss having a “mother person” to do what mothers do when their daughters have babies. Help me. Support me. Teach me. Annoy me.

But I never knew my mother as an adult person. As an adolescent, however, our relationship was somewhat complicated and I can’t imagine what our relationship would be like now. I do imagine, of course, what I would want it to be like…but it feels like a dream. A fantasy. A wish unfulfilled.

And I have to accept it.

I will never have what everyone else takes for granted.

Unconditional maternal love.

But I can give it. And I have so much. Enough for a hundred children.

And it’s because of this that I tell my daughter that I love her two dozen times a day.

And remind her that I will always love her no matter what; that there is nothing she could ever do to make me stop; that I will always, always be here for her.

My son isn’t old enough to understand such things but I tell him anyway. I shower him with kisses. I shower him with happy smiles. I carry him around until my arm is about to break off.

My children are all I have in this world and I adore them.

Despite my feeling bitter over not having a mother for nearly my whole life, I am usually one to look for the silver lining; one who believes that everything happens just the way it’s supposed to and that good can come from bad.

But I’ve given up trying to find the silver lining in being motherless. I’m pretty sure there isn’t one for me.

But my children…they have a mother that loves them immeasurably; a mother who, in having lost every living family member before the age of 36, understands the fragility of life, the importance of the little things; a mother who takes nothing for granted.

And I think to myself, that’s OUR silver lining.

This piece originally appeared on Soul Gardening as part of the May monthly Blog Exchange.


  • Izzy says:

    The following are comments that were posted to this entry during the blog exchange with Tammy over on Soul Gardening. They were so kind and full of compassion, I had to bring them over here and post them:

    Izzy, I know what you mean. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 17 and you’re right, there’s no way to find a positive in being without her. I’d much rather have her here with me for when I become a mother myself.

    There really isn’t a substitute is there?

    Great post.

    Posted by: TB | May 01, 2006 at 09:32 AM


    Izzy, I don’t think I knew that about you. I’m so sorry that you lost your mother so long, and that you’ve lost so many other people who were dear to you since then.

    Thank you for the perspective. It’s easy to complain about our mothers, because we never imagine that we’ll be without them. But that fragility of life is something we ought to keep in mind every day.

    Posted by: Julie | May 01, 2006 at 09:48 AM

    Izzy, I did not know you lost your mother so young. How sad. But your post reminds me how important it is to be appreciative of that mother/child bond — I will be sure to relish every moment I have with my own mom, as well as all the special love that I share with my girls.

    Posted by: Nancy | May 01, 2006 at 09:54 AM

    Well, no matter what, you are what/who you are because of your mother, even though she only had 13 years to shape you. You can be thankful for that. I’m sorry this is a void in your life, but we can see that you are definately full of life.

    Posted by: Kristi | May 01, 2006 at 10:35 AM

    It is very hard to lose a mother, as TB and I have discussed we both lost our mothers to cancer and can understand some of your feelings. Of course we all respond differently. I think in general we women can do better about supporting each other, all women- sisters, friends, mothers, neighbors, etc. Sometimes what we miss is the support, which isn’t to say mothers are replaceable. But maybe a warmer wolrd where women can embolden and enrich the lives of one another..

    Posted by: Elizabeth | May 01, 2006 at 10:36 AM

    Great post by Izzy! I love the line “I’ve given up trying to find the silver lining in being motherless.” Wow, that really impacted me.

    Posted by: Debbie | May 01, 2006 at 10:37 AM

    You offer so much to your readers already, and then you give us this! Thank you.
    Thanks for the window into your soul – and for inspiring me to find the silver lining.

    Posted by: motherhooduncensored | May 01, 2006 at 11:30 AM

    Touching post. You write so poetically. You and Teebs share that. Fitting that you should share each others blogs for a day. :)

    Posted by: Tink | May 01, 2006 at 01:22 PM

    What a wonderful post Izzy. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mom. I can’t say I know how you feel, but you can bet I will shower my daughter with unconditional love and support all the days that we have together. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by: J’s Mommy | May 01, 2006 at 01:57 PM


    I just started reading your blog, but didn’t know this about you. There’s no good time to lose a mother, but 13 seems especially awful.

    Posted by: wordgirl | May 01, 2006 at 02:18 PM

    I am so sorry. Your silver lining is invaluable and it’s one I need to remember.

    Posted by: Marcie | May 01, 2006 at 05:19 PM

    Izzy: thanks for the post. I’d say I couldn’t imagine losing a mum at 13, but almost did when I was 12 and so I kinda had to. The experience shaped my life tremendously. I grew up sooner than most kids my age, and ended up filling in for mum in a lot of ways while she recovered, especially as it related to my sister. I’m sorry for your loss and wish you hadn’t been cheated.

    Posted by: Heather | May 01, 2006 at 08:12 PM

    Izzy your words make me want to shower my children with affection.
    I am sorry that you experienced the loss of your mother at such a young age. I am sorry that she missed out on seeing the incredible woman that you are now.

    Posted by: something blue | May 01, 2006 at 09:01 PM

    I also lost my mother when I was a teenager, though not in the usual way. I guess I had really lost her earlier in my life, but it is hard. There is no way to explain what being motherless is like. I am only 24 and once a month or so I find my self crying and saying, to an empty room, “I want a mommy.” I think it is part of what drives me so strongly to want to be a mother soon.

    Posted by: renee | May 01, 2006 at 09:16 PM

    Izzy, what’s important is that you have love to give- losing your mother must have been so difficult and you could have made the choice to not feel or give love, but you didn’t. What a beautiful tribute to your mother. Thanks for sharing this.

    Posted by: Amy | May 01, 2006 at 10:03 PM

  • Amy says:

    Izzy, I didn’t know this about you either, since I started reading your blog not long ago. I’m so sorry. And thank you, for writing about it.

  • Tracey says:

    That is the most heartbreakingly beautiful piece of writing Izzy. I am at a loss for words but am feeling so much, so deeply. Sharing that took a lot of courage. Thank you for your eloquence and grace. You’re an inspiration.

  • Redneckmommy says:

    Izzy, I am sorry about your loss. I can’t imagine growing up without my mom, even though we fight like cats and dogs. But I am grateful that you wrote this post, it gives me some perspective. My mom and I may not get along all that well, but when push comes to shove, she has my back. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Izzy says:

    Amy, Tracey & Redneckmommy –

    Thank you for your kind words. I didn’t set out to make any sort of statement or to try and affect those who might read this piece but if it does inspire mothers and daughters in some positive way, then I am thrilled.

  • Crystal says:

    Izzy, I found your blog today and I am blown away by your posts. This one touched me especially. You are a very talented writer.

  • Holly says:

    I too found your blog and feel as though I can identify with you. I lost my mother in a car accident at the age of ten. Thanks for sharing. It blesses others. Come visit my site if you like:
    Keep on writing!!!!

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