I’m writing this at home while in isolation as I imagine, many of you are. My mother Rae, aged 98, is not so many kilometres away although I’m only able to see her through the closed window of her nursing home room.
On Mother’s Day we will visit through the glass and share photos and FaceTime with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. This is our new norm. I understand and am grateful for the restrictions of Rae’s nursing home as I know it protects the health of residents and their staff, but this will nevertheless, be an unusual Mother’s Day.
When I think about what this day means to me, to my mother, to my children and to all those millions of women who are, in their turn, mothers, I know it has so many different meanings. The relationship with our mother is perhaps the most influential on our lives – for good or bad. For some, their relationship is full of love and beautiful memories, while for others it is a day best ignored and forgotten.
If we believe the advertising, we all experience unconditional love from the moment of birth. The reality is often, and heartbreakingly so, far from the hype. I remember a woman breaking down during a Healing Your Life program at Quest some years ago. Between her sobbing, she told the group that she was 40 years old and had only just realised that her mother would never love her. All her life she had tried to please her mother and make her proud, but nothing was good enough. For her, Mother’s Day had never been a time of celebration. When her mother died, she not only had to mourn the mother she had, but also the loving mother she would never have.
This Mother’s Day, as my mother and I blow kisses to each other through the glass and share time with her descendants via technology, I’ll reflect on the many ways there are to be a mother, and give thanks for the great blessing mine has been to me.
I, and the Team at Quest, will be holding all the mothers in the Quest community in at the end of our collective rainbows on Sunday. For those for whom Mother’s Day represents complex grief, feelings of abandonment and lack of connection, unhappy memories and unresolved issues, you are held warmly in our hearts. For those grieving the loss of a beloved mother, you are warmly held in our hearts.