As I was preparing to publish the memoir of my adoption journey, I came across a book on my bookshelf by Hope Edelman called Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss. I recalled starting to read it after I lost my mother to cancer. Ironically, the book was published the year my mother passed away, 18 years ago. Reading it then, I felt relieved that my emotions weren’t out of the ordinary. The book validated my emptiness and depression over the loss of my dear mother when I needed her the most.
The New York Times Bestseller was wonderfully helpful, but to be completely honest, I was unable to read it in its entirety. It was too painful back then. Letters written to the author by motherless daughters were poignant and matched exactly how I felt. The authors of the letters spoke about how selfish they felt about their intense grief and how even after many years, tears still spring to their eyes when they are reminded of their dearly departed mothers. Just two weeks ago, I cried intensely when Barbra Streisand sang “Memories” at the Academy Awards because my mother loved that song so much. Many of the chapters that followed in Hope Edelman’s book spoke to me like I had written them myself. The themes included “when a woman needs a woman” and “who she was, who I am”, which both brought a visceral reaction.
Many friends of mine have recently lost their mothers in the past year. My husband’s dear Aunt Geraldine (who was also his mother’s best friend from childhood) died recently as well, and his cousins are devastated after losing their mother. I have tried to console them and my friends, hoping their grief will subside, even though mine hasn’t after almost two decades. For some, it may get easier. For others, like me, you just learn to live without that incredibly supportive spirit.
The feelings described in Ms. Edelman’s book, literally took over my life. I could not live without a female relationship in my family after my mother died and that’s why I started my four year journey to find my daughter. The story of my journey through late stage infertility, miscarriages, and adoption are detailed in my soon-to-be-published memoir March into My Heart: a Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption. The goal of my book is to give hope to women who have lost a mother, want a child, need a daughter, or can relate to how strong the connection between a mother and a daughter truly can be.
I pray that all my dear friends who have lost their mothers, some who over the years have treated me like their own daughter, learn to live happily despite their significant loss.