Mother's Day without a mother...


Mother’s Day looms.

It’s a difficult day for some of us, while for most, the lucky ones, it is a warm, celebratory day where we give thanks to and spoil the extraordinary women who brought us into this world and gave us the phenomenal gift of life. Really, one day a year doesn’t seem enough to equate such an honour.

I vividly recall my first Mother’s Day without the woman who gave me my life, at age nine, not two months after her death. There was a fete held in a dark, spare room of the school, fragranced with the many soaps, candles and lavender stuffed pillows available for purchase, some home made some not, and all subsidised for the meagre pocket of a child. One of the Mother’s, Mrs. Graham, who also worked the tuckshop lines during lunch hour, headed my way as I walked amongst the stands, no doubt looking a little listless and sad. She handed me a couple wrapped gifts, for free, and gave me a look that has haunted me ever since, in what it conveyed – sympathy, and some kind of horror at my loss. My Mother had known almost every other parent at the school, and her sudden departure had rippled through the school like an unseen, but noticeably painful, scar, of which I was a reminder. Every year, I am reminded of that day – of the graciousness of the gift rested in my hand, and the fact I no longer had a Mother to hand it to.

But while some memories like that remain haunting, and sorrowful, I choose not to dwell in them. More important are the gifts my Mother gave me, not only life, but a boundless affection for all, compassion to the bottom of the ocean and back, elegance and resilience, pride and a wicked sense of humour.

That said, it does make a motherless daughter ask questions – from the “why her?” to the “who am I?”, both of which, in my case, return annually, to be examined and felt again and again.

While not a pleasant time, the fact it demands us women to confront these feelings and that missing part of our lives ultimately enriches us. It demands we honour her in turn by embodying all she has taught us, it demands we express the wealth of love within each of us, with those we care for, and ourselves. Most of all, to practice being conscious of how precious life is and to make the absolute most of it.

My sister, in her forties, has a two year old daughter, and I see this play out in real time. That despite the tragedy of our past, she has chosen to live, to love, to use the gifts from our Mother and give them to her daughter. This is powerful. It is beautiful. It celebrates Motherhood and our Mother in its own way. My sister now passes on those gifts to her daughter, my niece, and one day, she will do the same.

I may not have a physical gift to pass on to my Mother any longer, but with Sunday near, I am aware that I do possess what she gave me, inside, and that I can give that back to the world, which honours our Helen. Though she is gone, some of her lives on in my sister and I and that, for us, is meaningful, every day, not just one Sunday in May.

Victoria Mietchen was born in 1985 and raised in Sydney. Since the moment she could write, was weaving stories.  She is passionate about the importance of story telling and currently writing her first novel.

How do you honour your mother on Mother’s Day?