Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Claire Bidwell Smith: Finding My Mother

I've been so excited to start something new here on the blog--an opportunity to share some of my favorite women and writers.  It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, and it seemed the perfect time with a new baby coming (we're still waiting).  Over the next couple of months, in between regular posts, I will be sharing the words and photos of other women--women I feel lucky to know, women who've become my friends and have offered advice and support and community, women I've admired from my side of the computer screen for their ability to share a bit of their quest to live their one wild and precious life--and all because of the Internet. 

My goal?  Well, to relax and settle in with baby, for one.  But I also hope these posts echo the important message of community and women celebrating women.  I didn't set out to ask women and mamas who were just like me to be a part of this.  In fact, what I love about this group of women that I'm sharing is that we are different.  Different backgrounds, different writing styles, different parenting methods and different stories.  Each of these women seeks to find the good and has created a space online where she brings her unique voice and style and love of life to readers.  Some of these women have big blogs, some have little blogs, most are mamas, but all of them are making their mark on the world while supporting and celebrating those around them.

I hope you enjoy their contributions and discover some more love out there.

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The first contributer is a friend I met through Instragram/e-mail.  One e-mail led to another, and another, and another--and soon we were exchanging phone numbers and discussing heart-of-life issues.  We both have two daughters, we both have experienced grief, and we both wrote about our stories in memoirs--our first books that came out last year.  Consequently, we're hoping to meet each other in New York next month if all goes as planned, as we are both nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award.

Claire Bidwell Smith is genuine and kind and is wholeheartedly digging through life's experiences like the rest of us, finding meaning in both the good and bad, the extraordinary and mundane.  Her book, The Rules of Inheritance, slayed me.  "Damn girl, can you write" was, I believe, my e-mail to her after two chapters in.  Read it.  It's gripping.

I'm so honored to share Claire's words today. 

*****************

Finding My Mother
by Claire Bidwell Smith

One of my favorite memories of my mother probably isn’t one she would want me sharing as often as I do, but it so perfectly sums her up that I can’t help but revisit it.

In the memory I’m about thirteen years old. We’re living in Destin, Florida and we’re headed to the mall. I am an only child and my mother and I are close. Things I love to do with her: hang out in the kitchen while she cooks, hang out in the bathroom while she gets ready for an evening out, and go shopping with her.

All of those are pretty basic mom-daughter activities, I know, except my mom wasn’t your basic mom. She was messy and creative, uncommonly beautiful, and stylish in an utterly head-turning way. She was also incredibly outgoing and quick-witted, and she brought so much wild beauty into the lives of my father and myself that it’s a wonder we weren’t blinded by it all.

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Oh, and did I mention impulsive? She was that too.

So, this one afternoon we’re driving around the mall parking lot, looking for the perfect spot. My mom had this thing about finding a perfect spot. And suddenly it happened: a car started pulling out of this tiny stretch of coveted spaces right in front of the entrance.

My mom yanks the wheel, turning us into the one-way parking aisle, and snaps on her blinker. Then she turns and gives me this smile of wonder and pride. But as the exiting car backs out towards us, another car suddenly zips into the parking aisle from the wrong direction and puts on its blinker too.

I watch my mother’s eyes widen. “That woman is NOT going to steal my space,” she mutters. She then makes some desperate hand-waving gesture at the other driver, receiving only a catty shrug in return. We watch together as the original car backs out of its space and then as the other waiting car pulls in before we have a chance to.

My mother’s jaw drops. Her grip visibly tightens on the wheel, and her mouth closes into a hard line. She pulls up behind the newly-parked car and lowers her window. I am pensive in my seat, scared but also excited by this unfolding of events. A woman emerges from the car and begins to walk towards us.

“You just stole our parking space,” my mother says tersely, “and this is a one-way.”

“Yeah, well too bad,” the woman replies. She flips her hair over one shoulder and walks right past our idling car.

My mother is so stunned that she just sits there for a moment. And then she throws the car into gear and drives quickly to an open parking spot near the back of the lot. “Come on,” she says through her teeth, practically yanking me from the car, and we fast-walk towards the mall.

Inside the doors my mother heads straight for a candy shop that sits adjacent to the food court.

“Mom,” I plead, “what are we doing?”

But she doesn’t answer. All she does is depress the lever on a large dispenser of gumballs, and I watch as the colorful orbs pop out and into a plastic bag she holds open. She is hardly finished paying for them before she thrusts several into my hand.
“Chew,” she instructs, grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the entrance of the mall again.

As we walk, I slide the gumballs over my tongue, my mouth instantly smarting with their sweet flavor. In less than a minute we are outside in the parking lot again, the intense Florida heat shimmering off the cars around us. I follow my mother to the car that now sits in our coveted space, and I stand beside her, both of us furiously chewing our gum. I stare at our reflection in the window, my lanky adolescent figure timid next to her glamorous and stately one. In that moment I know that I will say yes to anything she will ever ask me to do.

“Okay, now smear,” she says, grinning at me, light dancing in her eyes.

Carefully I remove the giant wad of gum from my mouth, holding it between my thumb and index finger, and I watch my mother do the same. Then, working quickly, we spread them out across the windshield and driver’s side window. Within seconds we are done and walking away, leaving the gum to bake in the hot, afternoon sun. I let out a breath I hadn’t known as I was holding, and my mother does the same, except hers sounds more like a giggle.

Several months later my mother is diagnosed with stage four-colon cancer, and five years later she is dead.

It’s now been sixteen years since I’ve held her hand or heard her voice. In that time I’ve grown into a woman. I’ve traveled the world, gotten married, and become a writer. But all these years, through everything I’ve done and everywhere I’ve gone, there’s been the sense that something is missing. There’s always been this little (and sometimes not so little) space inside my heart.

But then three years ago my daughter Veronica was born. Seven months ago my second daughter Juliette was born.

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And in the moments and days and hours and months that have occurred since their births I have become a mother.



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And in this wildly unexpected way I feel as though I have been given my mother back. Time and time again I hear her voice in mine, I feel her hand in mine. She is there with me when I’m teaching Vera how to bake cookies, or when I’m up in the middle of another sleepless night, cradling my smallest.


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It’s not even that I feel like she’s been given back to me, but that my mother has been given to me anew. I understand her in a way I never did before. I see her in a way I never did. When I tuck my girls into bed at night, when I smooth Vera’s hair away from her forehead when she has a fever, or scoop Juliette into my arms after a tumble, my heart spilling over for them, I often find myself breathless with the realization of just how much my mother loved me.

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They will never know her the way I did. They will never call her grandma or experience any of her mischievous adventures. They will never get care packages in the mail from her or cook with her in the kitchen as I did. But they will know her in the way that I love them, in the way that I see them and hear them and name them.

It’s funny the stories that stay with us. To this day I refuse to look for the perfect spot in any parking lot, always preferring to park in the back, no matter how far the walk. And in all these years, no matter how much I have tried to emulate her, I have not become my mother. I would never dream of smearing gum across a stranger’s windshield, no matter their misdeed against me. I am also not nearly as messy, nor as beautiful, as my mother was.

But she lives within me somewhere in a very real way. And I know that each of these moments and days works to create a world in which my girls will carry me within themselves as they move forward in their lives, no matter what lies ahead.


**************************************

Claire Bidwell Smith lives in Los Angeles with her husband Greg Boose and their two daughters. Claire is an experienced therapist specializing in grief and the author of the memoir THE RULES OF INHERITANCE (Penguin/Hudson St., February 2012).

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Claire has a bachelor’s degree from The New School University in Manhattan and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has written for many publications including Time Out New York, Yoga Journal, BlackBook Magazine, The Huffington Post and Chicago Public Radio. She has also worked for nonprofits like Dave Eggers’ literacy center 826LA and most recently worked as a bereavement counselor for a hospice in Chicago.

Claire is currently working on her second book.

You can follow my beautiful friend on her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 

96 comments:

Jennjilla said...

Wow. That was so touching. I am blessed to have my mom still, but I totally get how you see them in a new light when you become a mom yourself. Great post!

Amy Cappelli said...

Her writing IS beautiful. This new segment on your blog is a great idea.

Sunflowermom78 said...

That was beautiful, I am still crying. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Tara said...

Wow! I'm hooked. Thank you for introducing Claire's writing to me.

AER said...

This story touched me because I lost my mother in 2010 when my two girls were not yet 4 and not yet 1. She was sick and 5 months later dead from ovarian cancer. The shock of it all still haunts me. Someone once penned the term "motherless mother". It is a unique burden to bear. Thank you for your writing. I will read your book next.

Sian said...

Okay i'm crying now. Beautifully written xxx

Evelyn said...

Claire is a friend and this was so great--and fun to read here! Love the story, Claire. What a nice way to start my day. I love the part at the end when you say you'd never smear gum on someone's windshield. The pics of your girls always touch me.

Chasing Hazel said...

I love this idea! You have inspired so many, its amazing to see what inspires you.
I, too, have been appreciating the internet and the tentacles of its reach. We have been through some very challenging times since the birth of our daughter, Hazel. The kind of times that when you think about them you can't imagine how you come out whole. The kind of times that force you to grow and change and love and be present. During those times, complete strangers offered words of support, love and encouragement through through our blog. Words can not express my gratitude for these pillars that give you strength when you need it most. I have met some amazing people. I cherish the relationships and am so excited to keep connecting with new friends.

Also, Claire your story is moving and extremely well written. I was right there with you and the wad of gum. I am so glad you are able continue a relationship with your mother, a different one, but one nonetheless. I lost my father to cancer when I was 29 and it's difficult to try and keep that relationship alive. I wish he got to meet Hazel.
Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this story here. It made me reflect, which helps me to grow!

Susan Martin said...

Bravo, Kelle! For supporting and celebrating the women around you!

Bravo, Claire! What a great memory to have of your mom! She had chutzpah!!

Meg G said...

I love Claire, and her writing. I found her through Instagram also and checked out her book in iBooks, downloading the sample.
Within 24 hours I was finished reading the entire book, which I read through teary eyes or full-on crying.
I went out the next day and bought the book for my best friend.
This post is every bit as beautiful as her book. And her mother. And her.
Thank you for sharing this today, Kelle.
xoxo

Annette said...

I found out I was pregnant with my 1st baby a few weeks after my mother had passed away. Looking back at the last few days with her, I believe that somehow she knew by some of the things she said to me. It was like she had given me this gift. It was so hard at first. I was so sad that she would not be around for this. Being a grandmother was something she always wanted to be. It hurt so much. I wanted her to be here to guide me through. I wanted to share this with her. A couple years later, my son taught me that even through death, she was able to still be here with us. It was Christmas time and I was reading him a story about a Christmas Angel. He told me that he had an angel himself. He went on to tell me that she always wore a pony tail and looked like. She liked to watch cartoons with him. I was stunned because he described her without ever even seeing her. I knew from that day one that she was with us and sharing in our lives even if we couldn't see her. Thanks for sharing... I am about to go buy that book.

SmithShack71 said...

This touched a whole array of emotions. I'm sorry for your loss. I love the story of the parking/gum. I think it's very brave for us to get in touch with those stories, face those feelings, and then share them in writing. You've done so beautifully.

-Angie

B. Merrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie Keisha said...

Wow that was powerful. I'm sitting here crying and blowing my nose. I was just so moved. I will definitely read her book. Thanks Kelle for sharing her with us.

Laura said...

Kel, This is beautiful! I checked in with my "friend" on the web to see if your beautiful baby boy had arrived yet, and found a gift for me this morning. Life is hard and messy and absolutely beautiful. I remember the day I held our little Gabrielle before she returned to our Heavenly Father, and just looked at her and wondered everything I would miss not getting to mother her here on earth, and my heart just broke. But I do feel her here. I feel her as I squeeze my two little miracles that would grace our home after her loss. I see her in the eyes of my older girls who experienced her loss in a different way than me. I love Claire's words of joining BOTH sides of the existence. Those who are here with us and those who are waiting to reunite with us! Love your blog! Love how you make me want to be the best mother I can be! Enjoy every. single. second. of the arrival of your newest love! Love, Laura

afridaysgirl said...

Yep...she can write. I'm a fan.

Amy said...

Totally a sign that I need to read this book- heard of it for the first time last night leafing through a year old magazine in which it had been highlighted-- and now again this morning? Too much to ignore!

Megan Sandoz said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story! Megan

B. Merrell said...

What a beautiful post. As I sit at my desk the tears are welling. Although, I cannot relate directly My mother can. She lost her mom at 19 to breast cancer, she is 46 now. 27 years, more years than I have been on this earth she has grieved. But I know in her smile after she makes a tiny gensture & says "wow that was Linda(her mom)" she can completely relate. Thank you for sharing, it helps me understand & appreciate my beautiful mom a little more.

Bria said...

today is the 17th anniversary of my mother's death and the first one i have experienced as a mother. this being posted today gave me chills as just last night i remarked to my husband "there is a new layer of grief experienced as i am now a mom" but your words ring true and i look forward to the joy of rediscovering my own mom in my journey as a parent. thank you.

Kaycee said...

Oh wow. This is just beautifully written. Made me very teary. A mother's love is so beautiful.

Cassadie said...

This just reached right in and squeezed my heart. My mom died of colon cancer, too (fucking cancer!) when I was 19. It wasn't until I had my own kids, and especially my daughter, that I could see my mom in the mother I have become. I love everything about this post, except that I'm all red-eyed and puffy now and it's time to go to work.

Daniele said...

Beautiful! This little snippet made me cry. Look forward to reading more from her.

Mrs Pushy said...

Beautiful! Thank you for inspiring me to be a better mother
Kelle- love this new idea of sharing stories!

Regina said...

I can't believe Claire is writing here! I have followed her since her book came out. I have a lot in common with both of you. I have lost both parents and I have a daughter w/ Down syndrome Funny how you have come together. I love it when things like this happen. You have both helped and comforted me and I'm so grateful to have found you.

Andreza Novaes said...

I finished reading this post completely touched and sobbing.
Nice way to start a Wednesday.

Reenie said...

beautiful....

Leanne said...

Beautifully told...I am crying because iIlost my mom too....I have two daughters. my mom is never far from us. I think that every other day for the last 10 years I have said..."Nanny used to", "Nanny said"...."Nanny loved you"...

Win said...

Thank you Kelle. Tears by the end. She is lovely and I look forward to hopping over to her blog. I am excited to 'meet' these women you are generously sharing with us. Love to you and your beautiful family! I just can not wait to 'meet' the little guy!!!

Christina said...

Absolutely beautiful. I feel her and know her even if she isn't mine. I sat there crying by the end, for the loss and discovery, comforted by the fact that our mothers are always with us even when they're gone. Losing mine is one of my biggest fears, and an inevitable one at that. I currently live half a country away and miss her all the time, but Claire has so lovingly pointed out that they are within us throughout our days. Thank you so much for sharing this. What a special post!

Jennifer said...

I read The Rules of Inheritance last year and it quickly became one of my favorites - as did Bloom. Thanks for sharing.

Angela said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

AmberS said...

As someone who has lost a mom, thank you. Thank you for saying it better than I ever could. Thank you for portraying the emotion so well. Just, thank you.

Natalie Burke said...

Beautiful, I love it. Sitting here teary eyed over breakfast.

mommacommaphd said...

Wow. This brought tears to my eyes and made me want to rush home to hug and snuggle my littles.

kdactyl said...

Wow....this hit home with me. I lost my mother while in my 30's. But i hadn't married or had children yet. There is a definite underlying daily pain sometimes as I raise my children and nurture my mairriage to a man she never met. My kids will never have the grandparent memories that I have and it saddens me deeply. But...I do bring so much of her to my parenting and my son has her amazing huge blue eyes that pierce through me and talk to me. And although I think she was way more beautiful than me, I resemble her very much and I see her looking at me in the mirror sometimes. But reading this...an amazing, touching story...it did open up the grief of losing her a bit. Her 69th birthday would have been this week. Oh how I wish I could have seen her as an old lady....I know she would have been hillarious and fun and probably quite irritating... Thanks for sharing Claire with us Kelle. At first I was sad I would not be reading your words as I so love your blog....but this was a real treat.
kd

LeiShell said...

Wow, her writing! SO captivating and I was in that parking lot in the hot sun smearing gum on that windshield myself! And then the lump in my throat thinking how it would be to lose my mother and the love I have for my own child and one I am expecting. She embodied the emotions of mothers everywhere. So beautiful.

Stop Hounding Me said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a while. Thank you for sharing.

Paige said...

Wow! I lost my mom 2 years ago and this was a beautiful read. I too mourn the fact that my children won't know my mother like I did. Definitely going to buy her book!

Baby By The Sea said...

Her writing is so fresh and new and clear and clever and deep I just can't seem to find the right sort of awesomeness in the words I choose here to adequately describe my feelings at this moment.
She has the gift of reaching in and extracting the most powerful parts of a story with just all around rad delivery.

The McFamily said...

I sobbed through this story. I, too, am a motherless mother. I lost my mom when my baby was 3 weeks old. Never before has someone put into words so perfectly the feelings I have when I find my mother in myself. It is beautifully written and I am so glad to have found it. Thank you.

Leslie said...

Love this posting and loved her book!

RumorsOfGlory said...

This touched me at such a deep level. I shared on all my social media forums and read to my husband on our walk this morning, bawling all the way.

I lost my mom when I was 18.

I am a counselor and always trying to help clients fill the holes in their heart. (I just wrote a book too that releases on 3/1. It's called Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World.)

I am going to share this post with my counseling students tonight at the university where I teach. Thank you again. Oh, and I just ordered your book!

Emily Veronica said...

What a wonderful post. I too lost my Mom and often wonder how this will change the way that I mother my children someday. I hope that it is in the same manner that you detail.

Meet your newest blog reader-me :)

Tia said...

I too, am a daughter raising a daughter, without my mother.

She too, was exotic and magical and beautiful and maybe even a little crazy. But in the very best way possible.

I read your story and heard my own story. It is true. Ellie will never know my mothers' dumplings or be privy to her dry sense of humor, but she will be loved by her, through me.

xoxo.

From Roberta . . . said...

Wow Kelle, I really enjoyed that . . will definitely look for her book. Am happy that I am "sandwiched" between both my 85 year old mother and my 37 year old daughter. I continue to learn from both . . .

MeccaFamily said...

Kelle,
Can I just say THANK YOU. Clearly you know what your doing and have not lost sight in the amazing gift you have been given. You have touchd my life so much, since the day I first picked up your book. It was such a random purchase. I could count on one hand all the books I had read until Bloom. But the inspiration since has been anything but random. Thank you also for teaching/showing me that women and girlfriends can support each other and cheer you on without a hidden agenda. It is something I have long since forgotten and hope one day I can have friendships like yours.

Claire,
Thank you for this post. I have a dear friend that has a similar story and I know your words will be such a comfort to her. I will be picking up two copies of your book tomorrow. One for each of us. My mother is still alive, however sometimes she makes me crazy with the stunts she pulls. Thank you for helping me realize it is a choice in how I see her and one day I would give anything for them when she is gone.

Craftysquirrel said...

Yes she does write beautifully. I am off to look for her book.

medina family said...

Beautiful story. I lost my mother, too, many years ago. My kids never knew her and we don't really talk about her much. But I imagine I do have a lot of her in me and they may somehow absorb her happy spirit, creativity, and beauty, as well.

(I'm glad you park in the back now, too.)

youaremysunshine said...

wow-wee! that was awesome! i loved it. thank you for sharing!!

Tammie said...

Once again, Perfection

17enne said...

But Kelle, are you gonna write sometimes anyway, aren't you? You can't just leave for two months! I mean, we'd miss you. Please, dont!


Claire, that was a sad but beautiful and full of hope post: you've been so brave and strong and you'll be an example for a lot of people.


I think this idea is gonna be full of cues and chances to improve my capacity of reading in english!

A 17 year old from a nighty Italy

Mommy Brain said...

Wow! What a beautiful post! I just downloaded her book and can't wait to read it. Thank you for sharing Kelle!

Mark, Wendy, Dale and Rose said...

I love love love this. Thank you, Kelle.

Carrie said...

So touching that I am crying reading her words. I lost my mom before having my own kids and wow can I relate 100%.

MEL said...

You have made me laugh today and a little sad, too. Sad for your loss, and sad for mine. My mother is still alive and well, but she abandoned my brother and I when we were young. Oh, she still comes around now and then when she feels badly about what she's done, but I will never have the relationship with a mother that you once had. I will never know what that feels like.

However - I DO have a son of my own that Ihope will look upon some memory of me one day and smile with pride and awe. I just want to love him the way I should have been loved.

Bless you. Thank you for sharing. :-)

goingflyin said...

Thank you. I lost my mom suddenly to a car accident 11 years ago. She was 47. In the years since I've settled into marriage, had 3 daughters of my own and experienced so many things. I'm not sure I truly grieved my mom until I had my second child 7 years ago. It was like final realizing what was gone threw the eyes of my children. But you're right as well, my mom was truly awesome and my 3 girls are learning so much about her through the things we do together and the way we love.

SH said...

This is great idea while you're home with your little one for the first little while!

Sheree
The Hartungs Blog
thehartungs.blogspot.ca

Jenny said...

Wow. Claire definitely has a gift. This brought me to tears. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing her with us. <3

Sarah Withey said...

Being a motherless mother is such a complex reality. This was really beautifully written and entirely true. Thank you for connecting me to Claire and allowing me to identify with someone else who walks this echoing path.

heather said...

Oh my gosh. Tears streaming down my face. Absolutely beautiful. It took me having my own family to finally appreciate and love my mother and understand all of the sacrifice and love she put into raising all 6 of us. It’s sad that it takes becoming a mother to understand that but also so amazing that we do get that glimpse and appreciation. And that we get to realize the fullness of their love as we love our children. I’m so excited about these guest blog posts. So nice that we have this community to build and lift one another up.

xo

Lisamarie said...

Oh my gosh... I love Claire. I will keep her info in my rolodex because I can't imagine not needing some therapy should I ever lose my own mother.

Barbara said...

This is beautiful. I can't wait to read your book! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

CrystalB said...

WOW. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing....xoxo

Kat said...

I agree, beautifully written and very touching.

Raelyn said...

Kelle....
What a neat idea!! She sounds wonderful.... ;-D
You know what might be fun?! If Baby Boy were to arrive tomorrow.... On Valentine's Day!! ;)
--Raelyn

Nataliya Khan said...

Sigh. This made me want to cry. I cant even imagine the pain of losing your parents to cancer at such a young age. I lost my father to brain cancer a little over a year ago. And he hardly got to meet my girl because we live an ocean away from them. My baby is going to be 2 this year and would've been his first grandchild. One of the major things that makes moving on so hard is just watching his pictures and knowing he will never experience grand-parenthood. He would've been the best granddad I can imagine and it breaks my heart EVERY SINGLE time when I think about it. But on the other hand I have only recently started realizing, that my dad lives in me and through me almost all the time. The person I am, the values I have, the things I believe in are because of my loving parents and my part is now passing on to my daughter what I learned from him. That makes the pain a little better.

Laurie Hoffman said...

What beautiful realization, that when we become parents, we can connect with our lost parents. I too have had this experience, except that it was my father I lost. I understand him so much more now that I am a parent... his fears, frustrations, hopes, and love. It all shines through my children now.

Sheila B. said...

Kelle, I have been following your blog for several months and have truly been inspired by your story and the love that simply beams from your stories and photos. I want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing Clare Bidwell Smith's blog. I lost my mother 4 months ago and one of the biggest struggles I have is the realization that she won't be there when I have my children. I am grateful that, through the anonymous Internet world, I was steered toward another woman who may be able to help me grieve and give me comfort, even in abstentia. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Debbie said...

This speaks to me so greatly the hot tears hitting my hand as I write this. Ilost my father to colon cancer at the age of 18 and then suffered through the losses of my dear Uncle and grandmother and then the loss that almost put me over the edge, my dear Mom who died of breast cancer when she was only 58. Motherless daughters who become mothers. I don't care how old you are when you lose a parent, in my case I was 30 when my Mom died 12 years after my Dad, I still feel like an orphan sometimes. I'd like to say the pain goes away with time but it doesn't. It resonates deeper when you bring a child in this world who will never know their grandparents. Beautifully written Claire.

Diana Doyle said...

Dear Claire,

I'm sorry for your losses, I'm also a motherless daughter...I miss my mum every single day.

While I can't relate to losing both parents, in three years I lost my sister, mum and 4 year old daughter to different deaths so your book (which I found through Kelle) brought me a lot of comfort...I could relate to a lot of it.

I tried to leave a comment on your blog but for some reason it didnt work.

I love your writing style and am enjoying reading your words. I'll look forward to your next book about the spiritual side.

Thanks to Kelle for introducing you to others like me.

with love
Diana Doyle x

Mandi Wolfswinkel said...

For all the times I butted heads with my mom, disagreed with her, did things to spite her, and the like, I can't imagine not having my mama here to watch me raise my kids and to have such a big part of their lives. Presently my mom is teaching my daughter to sew. It's surreal to me to watch her grow up and get to have my mom there in so many of the "little" moments. Thank you for sharing such a heart felt story of love and humor in the midst of such a sad reality. May you always find those pieces of your mom in your day to day business. Beautiful story.

Claire T said...

This moving post struck such a chord with me. I lost my mum to an aggressive brain tumour six weeks after she was diagnosed. My daughter was born about 18 months later and even more than I mourn her loss I mourn the lack of a relationship between my mum and daughter. I was so close to my Nana and I always imagined my daughter having that bond. A beautiful piece to share.

Em said...

As a newish Mom to 2 babies, who also is a Motherless daughter (since 9 years old, this is the 25th anniversary year of her death) I weep at these words. I relate, Claire. (And I just purchased your lovely memoir too) <3 Thank you for sharing these words.

Angela said...

wow...i'll admit when i read that you would be having contributors i might have been a little sad, because i adore your writing and your family. but wow, this is amazing and i will be purchasing that book straight away. very touching.

6512 and growing said...

I read that book! It was wrenchingly beautiful. Loving seeing here here! So cool that you two connected.

Books at The Paperhouse said...

Stunning! Thank you so much for sharing ... I can't wait for more. And, yes, I am buying this book. right. now.

Kelly said...

love this post. This is something I have been thinking about alot lately for some reason--to the extent of having panic attacks about dying and leaving my babies. I work in a hospital and its a reminder that none of us are invincible like we may feel. This post is a reminder to live each second of your life as full as you can. You never know when our loved ones will leave us. I look forward to meeting your lil man ;)

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jewhungry said...

As a new mom myself, I love reading about other mom-experiences (which led me to this blog to begin with). The fragility I feel as a mama is sometimes incredibly overwhelming. I'm diggin on this series of guest posts from other mom bloggers. Thanks so much. Whitney, www.jewhungry.wordpress.com

Rosa said...

I read this, and my heart clenched, so hard to read (deep down, it's my big fear to leave my kids). Ugh....but beautiful words nonetheless.

Courtney said...

Thank you for a beautiful post. My mom passed unexpectedly when I was 21 weeks pregnant with my daughter. We had just found out the sex the week before (even though both my mom and I knew she was a girl) and the last voicemail from my mom began, "Hi, my girls.."
It is heartbreaking to become a mother without your own. But it is also so achingly beautiful to get your mother back, as Claire writes, through your children and your own mothering. Perfectly described.

Susan said...

Thank you for the story - especially moving for me since I just lost my dad two months ago today to brain cancer. I am so thankful that I have such a reminder of my dad in my youngest son....I will be reading your book.

NickandCaeli said...

Oh my goodness... When I started reading this I was no expecting something so close to my heart. My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. My husband and I have been struggling with getting pregnant and I have this fear that something could happen to him before he'd ever get to meet my children. He is in remission right now but I have this fear and reading your post was really uplifting and encouraging. I try to live each day to the fullest and not worry. Thanks for sharing!

toi said...

This is just a beautiful entry, full the power of love. I agree that we see our mothers under a different light once we become mothers ourselves.

I am glad to have come across Claire's writing

Kelly said...

I bought the book because of this blog post. We have just found out my mom has a neuroendocrine tumor in her lung that has pretty much taken over her left lung. She's been going through tests to see if she can survive on one lung. She and I have a tumultuous relationship at best and I'm trying to figure out how I feel about all of this. I'm a fast reader as a general rule, but I feel like I'll never finish this book because every three paragraphs or so I have to stop and reflect and/or cry.

Thank you, Kelle, for sharing Claire with us.

Stephanie said...

This is beautiful, and now I can't wait to read Claire's book. My mom died in 2009, when my daughter was just 16 months old. These two sentences from Claire's piece resonate with me: They will never get care packages in the mail from her or cook with her in the kitchen as I did. But they will know her in the way that I love them, in the way that I see them and hear them and name them.

I feel the same way about my babies, now 4 1/2 and 1 1/2. They will never hear their grandma's voice, never feel her warm embrace, but they know her. They know her because I intentionally make sure we keep her memory alive, her photos displayed, her stories heard.

Megan said...

lovely video

ahoy.jenni said...

That is a great reflection on a mother. She sounds like she was loads of fun! My mother would NEVER do anything like that! She would have steamed and cursed the woman for ages ever after, I think the gum idea was much healthier..LOL.

Sarah RDH said...

This was beautiful!!! You know, it's taken me to age 27 and 3 children of my own for me to even begin to have an understanding of my mother. Having a conversation with my older step sister, I realized so many things about my mothers life-such as her divorce from my father- left her wounded, afraid, emotionless and vulnerable. It was really hard to feel love from her, as she struggled to support me on her own, and still try to have a life, find happiness.....it's a lot to deal with, and I had no inkling of a clue what she was going through....anyway....this post kind of hit home for me. I'm trying to lighten up with her, and we've been doing well.

Happiness is... said...

Oh Claire, I lost my mother almost 8 years ago to the day your post was published here on ETST. I get it my dear. I have felt those pains then at the loss, but now as a mother. Finding your footing without a guide. And it took having a child to realize that my deep love for my mother pales in comparison to the love she held for us.

I feel my mother. She is woven into the fabric of my soul. I dream and she's there. I may not look like her, but I see her surface when I parent, when we bake, and when I guide Alex. And I tell Alex stories about Grandmommy because she still somehow deserves to be in our lives. Always.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

-Jennifer

Gareen said...

Chills, sniffles and tears. Lovely story. Sometimes it feels like nobody loves their mother like I love mine. How is it possible that she makes me cringe and crave her? Magic, man. I love this new series.

xoxo,
La Petite Gigi

anita said...

Beautiful. Kelle, thank you for sharing your friend and her writing and for helping bring your readers other inspiring women.

I lost my brother which has left a gaping hole, and I write about it to help me and to help others. Sharing our soul is often painful, but always worthwhile.

losingaustin.blogspot.com

Brandi said...

Wow, that was beautiful. Thank you Kelle for introducing us to new writers - for sharing your space. I'm an instant fan.

Janelle T. said...

Welcome to the world little Dash. I have a Dash too and you're bound to be a cool little dude with such an awesome name.

Janelle

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