Lori: I’ve found that when something’s going wrong, when something feels very dramatic in my life, or if I’m sad, I want to call my mother.
Joan: I know what you mean. When Roy was in the hospital after his cancer surgery, my mother was on my mind all the time. It was like she was hovering there, which was really weird. I wished I had been able to talk to her about it, and gotten her support.
Susan: Even though my mother is still alive, I already know what I will miss. It’s not so much her advice, but there’s something about her responses, the way she’ll say, “Oh yes, things can be hard,” or, “Time will make it better” — they’re clichés, but I know I can count on her to say something nice, completely judgment-free. That unquestioning acceptance — it’s so simple and kind.
Joan: I’m sorry my mother isn’t here to see some of the good things. She knew her first great-grandchild, Julia, when she was a toddler. Julia was such a terror, and my mother would say, “Oh my goodness, what is going to become of that child?” I would love for her to see Julia now, singing and playing her guitar.
Vicki: Yes, there are all those things they’ll never know. I remember moving into my house in 2001. I loved the house, but I had such a hard time when I moved in. Then my sister said to me, “You know, this is the first place you’ve lived in since Mommy died.” And she was right. I was making my home in a place that my mother would never be a part of.
Lori: I have no illusions that my mother would have changed. She would have continued to want attention, be difficult and demanding. But I think now I could have served her better, and that would have made her happier. That’s what I was always looking for: to make her happy, to see that smile.