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I Miss My Mother

I Miss My Mother


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
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Discussion (94)
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.
March 2, 2016
Dear Joana and Anonymous,
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!!
WA state
March 2, 2016
I miss my mother too
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
February 2, 2016
Every single day
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.
August 23, 2015
at ONE meant: atonement: Yom Kippur
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.
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
August 21, 2015
Kaye, my sympathies...I lost my lovely mom in 2001...I think about her most every 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 blessed you are!!
August 21, 2015
Miss my mom
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 .
Kaye Bonner
January 19, 2015
I miss my Mom
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.
Los Angeles, CA
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 oldest is now married and I'm going to be a bubbie Iy'H. How did my mother do it all...
November 7, 2013
I so understand
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.