Thank you for understanding: Grieving the mom I’ll never have

You ever have those nights were you’re thinking about something and you can’t go to sleep because of it?

You fall asleep for what seems like a minute, and wake up thinking about the same thing again. That was me, the night I wrote my piece about grieving the mother I’ll never have. (Read it here).

It was terrifying to share it with the public via the newspaper I work at, the Arizona Republic. It ran in print and online (Read it here). I was so afraid of the responses because, you can’t talk bad about your mom…especially on mother’s day, right!? I imagined the worst…

But the opposite happened!

I didn’t know it would resonate with so many women and men. I received support in more than 130 email responses, 40 missed calls, voicemails and countless comments on social media. Some people even found my cell phone number and contacted me. (Still working on responding to everyone).

So many of us have experienced growing up without the maternal love we needed. Be it from a mother who passed when they were young, a mom who left and didn’t come back, or a mom like mine who wasn’t nurturing or loving.

But one thing we all have in common is, we are still living life fully and have found happiness and success anyway!

I talked to one man who owns his own restaurant now, another man had three kids with his wife and the kids are super successful, even worked in the White House. A woman decided not to have kids but shes’s happy and loving life, another found love with her husband and kids and never looked back.

All of these people had to go through life without their mom, without that maternal love they needed and deserved, but they are happy and living such full lives now.

All these responses I’ve received fills an empty part of me, with love. I am so grateful. I feel a weight has been lifted. THANK YOU.

Each response gives me hope. Reading their stories lets me know that things will get better, and that success and love is still possible.

I wanted to share some of their responses. I will save these forever:

“I thank you for your great and honest column.  I have only ever responded to 2 columnists, Laurie Roberts and today to you.”

“I did not suffer from an unloving, disconnected mother, but, my husband has an unloving, disconnected father. I can’t imagine the pain and emptiness he carries within, but your column helped me to understand it a little better.”

“Just read your column in today’s newspaper and I had to run to the computer to send you a message.”

“First, let me say I’m not in the habit of emailing journalists. But I feel compelled to respond to your Mother’s Day article. It brought tears to my eyes.”

“Take pride in what you have accomplished, knowing you have truly done it on your own.”

“Let me be your mom, telling you how proud of you, I am.”

“I am proud of you.”

“If had a child like you I would be so proud!”  

“If you ever need a mother to talk to, I’m available!”  

“Your life could have turned out differently. You could have gone down the dark path of drugs, promiscuity and even suicide.” 

“I’m 82, can I be your adopted mom (grandma).??”

“Thanks for addressing narcissism.  It is so prevalent in today’s society.” 

“Be happy.  Keep writing good stuff.”

“I’ll be watching for your articles in the paper!  I latched on to John D’Anna and love his stories.  Now, I’ll watch for yours.”

“Your column today is the single saddest thing I have ever read. God bless you for surviving and sharing your grief.”

“All the best to you for a happy (and guilt-free) life.  And a gold star for your column.”

“I too spent some time “homeless” and felt for you when reading your column.  But I felt better as I read, realizing you have the capacity to understand the situation and move on.”

“Just remember that I will be thinking of you and praying for you and always available to hold and comfort you.”

“You poured your heart into your article.  You made yourself vulnerable.  The article was heart wrenching.  It was very well written.  You are amazing.”  

“Should you become a mother, I am confident you will be the best Mom ever because you will look to your heart and it is pure and filled with love.”  

“Your revelations of the neglect and abuse you suffered in your innocence may have indeed given others the courage to say that sometimes we get crapped on without deserving it, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence of crap.”

“My mom sucks, and I’m sad to hear others feel what I feel, but take comfort in knowing I’m not alone.”

“Thank you for addressing what was also my reality with my mother. I’m going to look for that book.”

“I am a happy “dog mom” by choice and cut out your article to save when I have a “bad day” (which we all do).”


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