A Boomer's Blog

Notes for the Boomer Generation by Linda Paul

Mothers’ Day

img022 Mother’s Day is here again.  For the last few years I’ve met with my friend Julane and a few other women who have lost their children.

We have a ceremony, and I thank my friend Julane for giving me this way to honor the memory of my son.  We purchase balloons (not mylar, they are bad for birds and the environment), take them to a park or another scenic spot and release them to the sky with our notes to our loved ones attached.  This will be my third year.

img066      My son Jim was due on Mothers’ Day 1970, which fell on May 10 that year.  He was late (he kept to that practice in his life)  and didn’t arrive until May 25.  My sweet-natured, golden-haired boy died of a drug overdose in 2009 at age thirty-eight.  He will be forever young, and I am certain that he would have stayed young at heart throughout his life, even if he had lived to a ripe old age.

It doesn’t matter if we lose them to disease, accident, crime, suicide or overdose, we all grieve the same.   The Oregonian ran an editorial a couple of years ago quoting some quack who said that people who die from drug overdoses were not loved enough as children by their mothers.  Yes, on the editorial page of the Oregonian.

I learned from The Oregonian this morning that Mother’s Day was originally established as a day of unity for the mothers of the world to unite against war and militarism.  It was proposed by Julia Ward Howe, songwriter of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1870, after the horrors of the Civil War.  Her effort was denied.  Years later, in 1914, Mothers’ Day was officially recognized, but the original purpose was lost.  Now it’s all flowers and candy, and endless ads featuring perfect, photogenic mothers and their perfect, photogenic children.

This post is for all the rest of us, imperfect mothers who love their imperfect children.  We still love them, even after they have gone down the wrong road somehow.  We still love them when they disappear for days or weeks or a year.  We still love them when they are lost and unreachable, when they are incomprehensible.   We still love them when they are in jail.  When we can’t help them, all we have left is to still love them.

In my note to Jim this year, I tell him that I miss his company at the movies and his thoughtful reviews afterward.  I miss the sounds of his guitar playing while I cooked Sunday dinner.  I tell him I’m sorry for all my parenting mistakes.  I made many.

I’m so grateful to be part of this small group of mothers.  People who have lost a child make no judgements about other grieving parents.  We share our stories and send our balloons up to honor our lost kids, all of them perfect.

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11 thoughts on “Mothers’ Day

  1. Wow! Another blog to hit the target. I have already passed it on. Thanks Linda

  2. Teresa Powell on said:

    Linda, thank you. My sister Jan lost a baby she never knew…full term but died at birth. She, too, has gathered with others who have lost a child to honor their memory. Thanks for sharing this memory of your son.

    • Thanks Teresa. Thanks to my friend Julane, Mothers Day has become an uplifting day of friendship and sharing instead of a dark day. I’m glad your sister has found the same.

  3. Kathy Appel on said:

    My wonderful sister, thank you for sharing your experience and feelings with others on this day. I miss him, too.

  4. Bon on said:

    Hi Linda. We must get together again with Kathy and Marjorie. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  5. Sharon Kinser on said:

    This is a wonderful expression of a Mother’s love. I will give my daughter an extra hug the next time I see her…just because she is here and I can do so.

  6. Cindy on said:

    What a wonderful mother you are, to celebrate your son each year in this way! I am sad for your loss and uplifted by your strength and your love! C

  7. Linda, your post moved me. I’m very sorry to hear that you have lost your precious son.

  8. michele on said:

    love without judgement is REAL love. how blessed we all are that there are people who dare to practice unconditional love.

  9. Through darkness and grief you have found a way to celebrate your son’s life…I can’t think of a better way to honor his memory and to celebrate those 38 years he was with you. Thank you for sharing this story, Linda.

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