Words not  left unsaid on Mother’s Day

For some, it’s as easy as picking up the phone or driving across town. Saying thank you to Mom isn’t any big chore, as long as you remember to do it.

And since Mother’s Day is upon us, you better remember.

For others, it’s not so simple. For many, mom slipped away before words of gratitude and love could be properly expressed. Others still were estranged from their mothers and the old wounds never got a chance to heal.

We invited our readers to have their say on Mother’s Day, whether their sentiments are right on time or years overdue. Some wrote letters, a few simply told their tales to the world. The result was an emerging image of mothers across time – mothers who made sacrifices, who endured and who raised their families with the kind of patience, wisdom and love that only a mother possesses.

Lisa Chouinard of Lewiston

I miss you.

I miss painting your nails for you and I miss your laugh. We weren’t close until the end but I cherished that time.

My hand was on your chest as you took your last breath and I am so thankful I was there at that moment when you left this world and my life.

I’m going to be a grandmother again!

You visit me in my dreams and I know you are watching over me.

Each Mother’s Day I treasure my time with my children and grandchildren, but I take a moment to remember all that you sacrificed for me and the boys. I didn’t understand when I was young but I get it now.

Happy Mother’s Day in heaven. I love you.

Kimberly Money of Rumford

Dear Mom,

Do you know that I basically base every “adult” decision I make on what I think you would do? How I wash my dishes, how I talk to my kid about peer pressure and puberty, and the way I keep my calendar? I’ve messed up, I have. BADLY. And even though you weren’t here, my first thought to myself was “Mom would be so disappointed.” But then I got my s— together and I was better. I was better because even though you aren’t here, I use the lessons you taught me every day growing up. I stand up for myself. I stand up for the little guy. I stick to my guns even when it doesn’t make me popular. I know it’s better to be kind then righteous. I know that everyone’s story is different, so you shouldn’t judge what you don’t know. You taught me those things and so much more. And while I might not do it always exactly right, I know you would be proud of my effort, knowing I work every day to be my best. That’s all because of you.

Love, Kimmy

Margaret Proctor of Wilton

Dear Mama,

It’s hard to believe that 60 years have gone by since you died. I was angry that you left me – a young mother, fairly recently married, with a 6-month-old baby – to care for my 14-year-old and 11-year-old sisters. I felt they were your responsibility, not mine! I was angry that you refused to take care of your health and you joked about “dying on your feet and not in your bed.” I was too young myself to realize the seriousness of your illness, but I did promise to take of “the girls.” I tried, but they were rebellious (probably due to their own grief). However, all three of us grew into fine, strong women.

You missed so much of life, and your eight grandchildren missed your loving care and wisdom. You so enjoyed my first baby, but she was too young to remember you. And the others – my other daughter, Bunny’s son and daughter, and Marcia’s four daughters – never had a chance to know and love you. What a loss to all of them!

I apologize that I have never visited your grave, but I’ve always felt that you were not there, but living still in my heart and always with me. Thirty-one years after you died, God called me into ordained ministry. Was that part of your doing? You loved the church so much and did so much to follow your deep faith that I’m sure that you would be proud of me. My caring for “the girls” helped to make me more caring of others and has helped me in my ministry in so many ways.

I really couldn’t properly grieve your death because I had to be strong for my sisters. But one of the first papers I wrote in seminary was about how the death of a parent affects a young child. Although I was an adult when you died, the paper opened the floodgates and I sobbed for three hours after writing it!

Mama, you died much too young at 48. I know that you and Marcia had a grand reunion when she died two years ago at 69. I am now 84 and Bunny is 74 and we both remain very active, living life to the fullest, but trying to take care of ourselves physically and spiritually.

I love you, Mama, and I always will. I ask your forgiveness for my anger, yet I know that you forgave me long ago. Thank you for all you did, and continue to do, for me. You gave me life even when doctors wanted to end your pregnancy due to its difficulties, and you have contributed to what I am today. I can never thank you enough. I will always continue to thank God for you.

Love, Babe (your oldest daughter)

Mary Ellen Smith of Rumford

Dear Mom,

You carried the weight of the world on your shoulders the moment I was born. Mixed with love for your daughter (me) there was heartache for having a sick child. When Dad went on disability you became a full-time worker, a full-time mom, a full-time teacher to me because I was unable to attend public school, a full-time caretaker to your ill child.

There were more sleepless nights than most moms are used to that carried into my early teen years, but you never left my side. You spent weeks in the hospital sleeping on an uncomfortable bedside cot or reclining chair. You were my light in the darkness spiraling around me when it seemed nothing would ever get better. You were, and still are, my superwoman. You have dedicated your life to taking care of others for over 20 years, took care of me for all of my life, took care of Dad with his own medical issues, and yet never once have you complained.

You deserve the world, Mom, for your kindness transcends human capability. On this Mother’s Day and every one to follow, you deserve as much love and kindness as you have sent out into the world for decades, never expecting anything in return but love from your family. I hope, even for a moment, you realize how amazing you are and how much light you bring to the world and to everyone who has ever known you. If I am ever half the woman you are, I will feel like I have accomplished all there is to life.

I love you.

Your daughter, Mary

Monique Niva of Lewiston

Our mother is the embodiment of all that a mother should be, continues to be and was, as we were growing up.

She left our alcoholic father when she was pregnant with our twin sisters. Our family consisted of three girls and two boys at this time in her life.

She struggled very hard over the fact that she would have to place myself, my older sister and our two brothers into separate orphanages for a little over a year while we were very young, so that she could get her life, and ours, back on track. She had nowhere to go except to live temporarily with her parents, in a two-bedroom house. The youngest girl at this time was a toddler and Mom was due to deliver twins very soon. Mom had no job or money, and her parents did everything in their power they could to help.

With a loan that she took out from her parents and much other needed help, she was able to eventually buy a nice modest home in the same neighborhood that our grandparents lived in. Then we were all brought back together and lived as one family again. We didn’t have much of anything, but we made do with hand-me-downs, and Mom made bread from scratch every Saturday, and with government-allotted foods.

When us older girls were old enough to stay home with the younger ones, Mom went out and got a job right away. Even though government help was lowered because of the money that she earned, she worked very hard and struggled always to do the best that she could for all of us. Although we did not have material things until we were all much older and had our own jobs, we were all loved and well taken care of. She made sure we were brought up to have a good education, to be honest, proud, considerate, polite and caring children. (Although I am sure some times some of these traits were harder to see.)

She will always be to me and my siblings the best mom there ever was. No one in our lifetime has made as many daily sacrifices to always work hard and to always do the right thing, not only for herself but also for all of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and for all of those that know and love her.

We love you very much Mom, and want you to know how important you have been and still are to all of us.

Your loving daughter, Nicky

Katie Davis of Poland

I would like to tell my mother thank you for putting up with my bull, for being tough when I needed it, and being there when I needed her. And just thank you for being my mother.

Ashley Thompson of Auburn

My mom was there for me for a lot of stupid stuff. But my mom almost lost her only daughter. She called me every day when I was in the hospital. She learned to deal with learning about my sexuality, but most of all she was there every step since that day I almost killed myself. I never knew how much she cared for me ’til that day happened.

Suze Blood of Lewiston

As I was beginning to write this, I noticed my inbox flooded with “celebrate Mom!” emails from every website or business I’ve ever frequented. Every single one is a sucker punch to the gut since June 16, 2010, when I lost my best friend to complications of colitis and renal failure. As much as I wanted her suffering to end, the selfish part never wanted to let her go. I had put off an aggressive autoimmune disease treatment in order to donate a kidney, but that never came to fruition. I had hoped for a couple more years with her.

I had 37 years with her on earth, some trying both our patience. No matter what I did, she loved and supported me. If it wasn’t for her standing firm, I’d never have finished high school, gone to college or entered the Army. It was the thought of seeing her again that made me push through basic training. Seeing her face after our graduation was the best gift: a little bit of home for a homesick 19-year-old kid.

She was by my side while I labored with my first son, Chris. She often watched him when I worked 12-hour shifts at the hospital, picking him up from day care and entertaining him until I got out. Chris and Gramma had a loving bond, and when Brendan joined the family nearly 4 years after Chris’s arrival, she was overjoyed.

My mother had a beautiful singing voice (I didn’t acquire those genetics), and a generous spirit and laugh. Everyone else knew her as Carol, but to me she was Mum. If I’m half the mother to my sons that she was to me, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something. No mother is perfect, and we all carry a certain amount of guilt over what we did or didn’t do. I’m sure she felt the same way.

After her passing I got a shamrock with “mother” in Gaelic tattooed on my right forearm. . . . Mother’s Day isn’t always a happy time for those who have lost their mothers or haven’t had the best relationship with their maternal parent. I count my blessings that I had the upbringing I did; I was raised to be independent, kind, generous and hard working. My children share those attributes.

My advice is this: Never let a day pass without letting your mother or children know you love them.

Jalaine Wilbur of Auburn

My mom didn’t carry me for nine months. She has actually only been in my life for just about 12 years. In that short amount of time she has gone from a stranger, to acquaintance, a friend and, finally, Mom. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do.

Mandy Audette of Lewiston

First of all, thank you for telling me about this Sun Journal Mother’s Day thing! Secondly, Mom, as you already know, I survived childhood, and as I reflect on my life, I think it is safe to say you did a pretty good job. It is important you understand that as lucky as you probably feel to be my mother, I consider myself to be the lucky one. I am blessed to have the type of relationship with you that — growing up, I have come to witness — people do not always have the luxury of embracing with their mothers.

I always felt comfortable talking to you about things, regardless of what they were. I was never scared or worried to come to you with anything. We were always very close and, thankfully, things have not changed. Now, as an adult, I hear so often how I remind people of you. Every now and then I hear you when I speak. I am proud of this and am flattered to hear I remind people of you. You are one of the strongest women I know and I am thankful we have transitioned from just daughter and mother to now friends.

If for some crazy reason you ever worry that you should have done things differently with me or that you could have somehow done a better job, just stop, because the kind of relationship we have is exactly the kind of relationship I hope to have with my child some day. You set the bar really high, and I can only hope I am able to be on your level.

I love you very much and am so grateful to be your daughter.

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