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I Miss My Mother

I Miss My Mother

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I miss my mother. Today, my friend’s mother picked up my baby from preschool. She brought him to my house. She gave him a kiss. I picked him up, and said, “Say bye-bye to ‘Bubby’!” I inhaled his warm scent and, as I listened to the rhythm of him sucking his finger, I felt that familiar lump in my throat. I miss my mother.

I miss my mother. Last week, my older son came home with a 100% on his test. I hugged him tightly, and whispered in his ear how proud I was of him. I had half a second where I turned to the phone to call someone to share the news. But, who? My mother died eleven years ago. She’s not there to call. I miss my mother.

I turned to the phone to call someone to share the news. But, who?I miss my mother. My daughter became bat mitzvah a couple of months ago. At the large family party that we had, my husband gave a speech. The morning of the party, I urged him to find some way in which to mention my mother. This was the only grandchild whom she lived to see. According to the doctors, she was the reason she held out as long as she did. He dedicated the day to her, and as he did, I felt that familiar lump in my throat as my eyes brimmed with tears. I miss my mother.

I miss my mother. My younger daughter carries her name. Being that it’s a somewhat unusual name, I frequently get asked about it. Often, people ask twice, as it is not so often that someone my age names for a parent. I stop and look at my beautiful daughter, whose name so fits who she is, and wonder: if my mother was alive, then who would this daughter be? I miss my mother.

I miss my mother. Before Rosh Hashanah, it seemed like everyone I knew had their parents visiting. Living rooms strewn with suitcases, gifts spilling out. Favorite cereals, personalized backpacks and holiday outfits for the kids: gifts that only a mommy would buy for her daughter and her children. Gifts that didn’t need to be requested, but a mother just knows. Kugels, prepared meat and chicken lovingly frozen and packed into suitcases, so “my daughter can take a little break.” Shopping trips so the bubby can pamper the mommy. The lump is there. I miss my mother.

When my mother died, in some ways it was a relief. She had been sick for many years, with the last eighteen months of her life particularly difficult. The last six of those months she spent in the hospital. The roles were reversed. As I became a mother for the first time, I also began the final acts of giving for my mother as I cared for her. I spent little time contemplating the juxtaposition of feeding and bathing my newborn as I did the same for my mother. As I advocated for good daycare for my baby, I became a force to be reckoned with in the hospital ward, fighting for my mother’s dignity and rights at any slight act of negligence. Cheering as my baby learned to roll over and clap hands, I blocked out the disconcerting similarities to my cheers of my mother’s slow progress as she valiantly tried to stack three blocks in occupational therapy.

The sandwich generation is for people in their fifties, not a newlywed girlOn autopilot for all those months, I think that if I had stopped to think of what I was juggling, and what I was witnessing, I would have crawled into bed and not gotten out. But you do what you have to do. Only looking back am I amazed at how I handled a full-time job, caring for a newborn, part-time graduate school, and primary advocate and caretaker for my mother. “Just part of being in the sandwich generation,” were the comments I got. “No!” I wanted to cry. The sandwich generation is for people in their fifties, not a newlywed girl barely halfway through her twenties.

With more than ten years since her passing, I have learned to accept on so many levels that she’s gone. The level that I still struggle with today is the level of a kindness that only a mother can give. Making soup when you are sick, calling to check up on the baby’s cough, the care packages sent in the mail, buying that top that she thought would be so pretty for you. When I see my friends receive these things, I am genuinely happy for them. But the lump comes every single time. It is a lump of sadness, mourning and loss. Because only a mother can be a mother.

Oh, do I miss my mother.

Beryl Tritel, MSW, is a therapist with offices in Jerusalem and Ramat Bet Shemesh. She has been living in Israel for over 10 years with her husband and their 5 kids. She also offers Skype sessions. She can be reached at BerylTritel.com.
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Anonymous FL September 29, 2016

Your story resonated deeply. I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom. Few people understand that grief lingers. This will be my first Rosh Hashonah without mine. Reply

Elizabeth WA state March 2, 2016

I am so sorry you lost your moms so young. I have daughters and a son in their 30's and one is 40...if hubby and I died, it would be days before any of them even missed us. NONE keep in daily contact...mostly weekly with one and the others, as they need us. I wish you were near...I would give you a hug and invite you to dinner and listen to you say whatever you wished. Keep coming here...there are loving folks here!! There should be a way that those of us with kids who do not care much for our company and those like you who long so for some caring parents, could get together and be as a family ought to be!! Reply

Anonymous March 2, 2016

I am a 27 year old single girl. I lost my mother when i was 11 years old. Today i had a really hard day! All i wanted was to call my mom and ask her advice. life is so hard and now that my dad is remarried i have even a harder time. any way i decided to google i miss my mother and your post came up. i was happy to see a Jewish thing because i am Orthodox Jew and was happy to see that there was something from a Jewish prospective so Thank you it was like getting a hug from my mom Reply

Joana NY February 2, 2016

I am young, only 15 years old. My mom died 3 years ago and after that, I was sent to a boarding school. I miss the feeling of having a family so much. At this time, I'm on an exchange year here in New York. I am at a host'family', but they treat me like a hotel guest, don't talk to me a lot, don't care about me a lot.
I am so jealous of everybody who's lucky enough to still have his mother around him.
I miss her so much. I googled 'I miss my mum' to find relief. That's what brought me here. Reading your stories calms me down. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma August 23, 2015

My mother once told me she did not do intimate conversations. She said this to me while walking. I was shocked but maybe I shouldn't have been. Did she love me? I was unsure. It seemed my sister was the one and I had frequent notions I was adopted but this was npt possible given a stong family resemblance but still a child continuously hurt does ask questions. And I wonder why this article comes back to me now, now that as a mother I am questioning why my son has not called and why I feel neglected in the press of more important people in life. And yet that greater father, that greater mother is saying Ruth you know you are in a cosmic story. How do I know? Because my life is following a trajectory of more than astounding by way of synchronicity. I keep a record. It is part of a profound Vow. So I know souls are going to return and we forgive each other for wounds of the past. A love story about what is wound and so tightly wound, a ring, wedding vows, is a container for a Atonement. Reply

Anonymous WA August 21, 2015

Kaye, my sympathies...I lost my lovely mom in 2001...I think about her most every day...so many things I would love to chat about with her...nothing I wanted to talk about or say was ever a bother...which is not the case with any other human being still alive that I know. I will go on missing her until we meet again!! You had yours for so many years...how blessed you are!! Reply

Kaye Bonner August 21, 2015

My mom pass away almost three years ago at 96 sttill traveling with my sister and me few month before she became Sick a short months . She had a love that never end for me and my best friend . I love her and miss her so much. There are days it just hit me that she gone to heaven and do not have any one to talk to but her she understood me more than anyone else. just miss her a lot. Still cry sometimes . Reply

Pam Los Angeles, CA January 19, 2015

My Mom passed away seven years ago. She was my best friend, my strongest advocate, and the kindest person I've ever known. I watched her slowly die from cancer over six months, and fought the hospital, the nursing home staff, then finally the hospice people through their apathy, horrified at how she was treated. I tried to bring her home so many times, and she couldn't manage without the equipment from the facilities. The doctor did his best, but even he moved on. Recently he said "you don't want to end up like your Mom" when I came in having weight problems. My first reaction was to throw him through the window. I wish I had been one tenth the woman my Mom was. I wish I had been able to keep her at home. I wish I had done more for her. I love my Mom, and I miss her terribly. Reply

Anonymous November 8, 2013

Timely these recent comments came thru just came home from shul where I was prepating a kiddush for my mothers yahrtzeit on Monday. Where does the time go? Feels like yesterday. I still miss her so much..she is in my daily thoughts.my oldest is now married and I'm going to be a bubbie Iy'H. How did my mother do it all... Reply

Bethy Sydney November 7, 2013

Your article expressed my feelings exactly. My mother suddenly passed away 3 years ago. My mother was a big part of my family and my life. She did for me all the same things your mother did for you. Words can not even come close to describing the loss and the extreme separation anxiety I still feel. My father I care for now. I guess I thought my mother would go on forever-she was not old, only 70, and still power walked ever day. I feel more vulnerable these days, but have faith that its all part of the bigger plan for us all. My mother once said to me 'look in the mirror and you will always see a part of me looking back'..she lives on in you...Thank you for sharing your story in such beautiful words. Reply

Laurie Julian Los Angeles November 5, 2013

I read your article and it made me start to weep. I miss my mom too. She died seven years ago. I miss her at all the holidays, whenever something happens that I want to share, every day. So many things I could tell her about her Grandsons. What fine men they have grown up to be. Reply

Anonymous Tacoma, Washington October 20, 2013

My Mother passed away a little over a year ago and I miss her so. Even more as more time goes by.

It meant a lot to me to read your article. Thank you. Reply

Anonymous honolulu October 9, 2013

Stop the guilt, my friends. You were wonderful children under unusual circumstances. Why! Why continue to regret that which you cannot change? Just make the
next generation more loved and more confident. We love all our children. God bless them... And release ourselves from our past. That is the best that we can do for our children. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma October 6, 2013

I always wanted, as I have said, a Mother to call, a Mother who would answer those calls, engage in the daily or weekly or even monthly give and take, that is about caring, for her daughter, and for her grandchildren. It's in those little moments, we want to share, that silence is often so hurtful, and we feel what's missing if it does not happen. I never quite understood that part of my story, except it made me very sensitive, and I vowed to never let that happen to my own children. I wanted to remain in their lives, and as part of what is living that I have passed down, I wanted to participate in the joys, the inevitable hard times, and be there, for them all.

We don't always get what we want, a truism in life. So we find, in suffering, what is not there, and in celebrating what is, something that alters us, that hopefully brings us toward the meaning and need for this thing, called love. We can find others, we can find each other, we can mourn those who left who are beloved. Reply

Anonymous October 4, 2013

I lost my mom unexpectedly when i was 9 months pregnant with her first grandchild. I miss her every second that goes by, and dont know how I find the strength to go on and be a mom to my baby. I miss the same things you miss, and now that my tears can harm my unborn child, I see to cry every evening as he naps, wishing she could have known him. Wishing I could still have her. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma May 21, 2013

I miss what I did not get, from my mother, that is also, what is, for aching. It feels like everything comes back, in new and different ways, and perhaps, one day, face to face, my mother will explain her behavior, that which was hurtful in our relationship. I remember how one day I was walking and telling her how important it is to share, from a deep place and she actually told me, she doesn't do this. I felt a door slamming in my face, and it hurt more than any concrete door, to hear those words.

I have had many times I wanted a Mother, and most importantly, these were the times I had very young children, and so wanted to share the joys, the good times, the scary times as in illness, and just the littlest things, something of laughter. G_D sent me, in my despair, Louise, my David's Mother who became all those things and more..

Now, much much later, I learn, I didn't write this story. G_d wrote the entire story, making me so sensitive. I was never forsaken. Reply

Kathy Chicago May 17, 2013

My mom died almost three years ago and I still miss her wise words and her constant comfort and support. I miss the holidays, the baking , our weekly shopping trips and just the everyday conversation. I miss her when I leave town because she was always the one who made me call her from my destination to make sure I had arrived safely. It was so hard to realize there was no mom to call.
When I feel particularly bad I visit this site that offers me some consolation. I was lucky to have had my mom with me for over 59 years. Reply

Jean Milwaukee, WI December 30, 2012

My mom died April 15, 2007 unexpectedly. She was sick for a while but I didn't think she was that sick. She left a message on my voice mail on Tuesday while I was at work saying she loved me and the kids. I tried calling her at the hospital but she never answered again. She passed away on Sunday at 4am while I was at the hospital with my brothers and sister. Later I realized she just wanted to say goodbye then was put into a coma voluntarily. I was angry for a while but I started to understand. I always had my sister but then in Jan 2012 she unexpectedly had a heart attact and died on Friday the 13th. I miss them both so much. LIfe just isn't fair. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma December 5, 2012

I just heard a commencement speech given by the writer, now deceased, David Foster Wallace, and it is a beautiful speech, called WATER! that implores us to think about every moment, as if, each moment were of great value, even the small seemingly insignificant moments. He was right, and this most poetic speech, unfortunately, has elements that are dark, because he did commit suicide. And yet, the words, spoken so eloquently from a deep place, do ring out, and should continue to ring, out, as a legacy to those left behind, because they are about a beauty and truth we should think about, in making the choices we make, in celebrating the moment. Jared wrote something so beautiful in his commentary. And i do believe, no one we ever lose, ever really is lost. It could be, an illusion, as in Maya, but while here, surely we must celebrate always, in memory and in presence, those still here, and those who have departed. Reply

orly Texas December 4, 2012

I miss mine too. You said it beautifully. Reply