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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 (87)
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.
November 5, 2013
I miss my mom too.
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.
Laurie Julian
Los Angeles
October 20, 2013
I also miss my Mother
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.
Tacoma, Washington
October 9, 2013
too much pain
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.
October 6, 2013
Mother Ring, it's a huge topic
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.
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
October 4, 2013
time to grieve
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.
May 21, 2013
Missing in "Action" from hurt, to deeper understanding and forgiveness
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.
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
May 17, 2013
Thank you for creating this site
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.
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