To My Mother

“Writers seek to create order out of the chaos of everyday life, and to extract meaning from both the tragic and the mundane.” ~Hope Edelman

This quote has always struck a deep chord within me, not only because I am a writer, but because this was my mother’s philosophy. On top of that, Hope Edelman is the author of Motherless Daughters: A Legacy of Loss, and her collection truly guided my understanding of loss when my mother suddenly passed away in 2003.

This is almost every picture I have of my mother. She was always reading. And she didn't like to get her picture taken, so we had to sneak them when she wasn't looking.
This is almost every picture I have of my mother. She was always reading. And she didn’t like to get her picture taken, so we had to sneak them when she wasn’t looking.

My mother’s love is exactly what I wanted to post about today–and only this.

March 16 (tomorrow) will be the 10-year-anniversary of her death, and I have to admit hitting such a mark is very surreal along with emotionally challenging. At such a time in my life, I have moments where I begin fighting my dream, because I wish I had her to share it with (as I did when I was a child.) However, on other days, this emotion possesses me to strive forward, and I remember how that’s exactly what she’d want me to do. Being an avid reader, writer, and lover of stories, she worked hard everyday, and I work every day to cherish her memory.

I remember, specifically, one time in Barnes & Noble. I was in fourth grade, and I was obsessed with the Dear America series. She let me pick four or five out every time we were there. This added up to a lot of money, considering that the series was all hardcover at the time, and I asked her why she let me get all of them.

“Because,” she said. “if a parent should spend extra money on anything for their kids, it should be books.” She later added anything that encouraged the passion of a child. For instance, my older brother was an artist, and they got him drawing supplies.

And, of course, there are pictures of me doing the exact same thing (in the same room too!)
And, of course, there are pictures of me doing the exact same thing (in the same room too!)

To this day, my memories of the bookstore are some of my favorites, and I have numerous reasons for this:

1. I was doing something I loved.

2. I was doing something I loved with someone I loved.

3. I was doing something I loved with someone I loved, and those moments are the most important moments to love.

So do something nice today with someone you love, whether it be a spouse, child, friend, or lover. Support each others’ dreams and truly dedicate time to say, “I love you.”

My mom reading with my older brother on her back. She loved her family and her books.
My mom reading with my older brother on her back. She loved her family and her books.


45 thoughts on “To My Mother

  1. What an Excellent Post,
    the pic of your Mom, curled up in a comfy chair, reading,…is a Classic
    A Wonderful Woman, Imparting the Very Best, by example,…
    Nicely Communicated Shannon

    1. I do treasure those pictures, although I’ve never thought of them as classic until now. Thank you. Now that I take a step back, I know they are, and I realize it’s even more wonderful to have pictures of her doing what she loved.

  2. I have a friend who always reminds me that money spent on books is never mis-spent. Armed with that knowledge, I can sometimes get a buzz from buying a book I can’t really afford, whether it’s new or used. Thanks for sharing some lovely memories of your mother.

  3. I love that quote at the start, I too enjoy going to book shops and libraries aswell, there is a whole world out there yet to be discovered in the written word.

  4. It will be 10 years in August since when my father passed away, so to say I loved this post would be an understatement. Thank you for sharing, very beautiful!

  5. That was really sweet.
    Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday… So you can see how the world has its way when it comes to life and death. But I guess it comes down to the moments, we try as much to collect them.
    Here’s another thing, my older sister is the artist, I’m the writer. 🙂

    How’s the Barnes & Noble process going?
    ~ A. H. Amin

    1. Yes. I was just talking about dates like that. I actually have a good friend of mine turning 21 on March 16th. It is very strange when life’s literal moments can be metaphorical.
      The B&N process is still going! Just a lot of paperwork. Sent some off yesterday.

  6. What a beautiful post. And from above, I am sure that your mom is so happy looking at all your triumphs, and so proud of you for being an author, and how her love of books touched your soul.

  7. Your poignant and heartfelt memories of time spent with your mother are beautifully expressed. Each moment remembered is a gift from her to you.

    “That which seems to pass away on the surface of time is in fact transfigured and housed in the tabernacle of memory.” ~John O’Donohue

    Keep tapping into those memories, Shannon, and know that your mother, no matter the decades gone, is with you always.

  8. Hi Shannon,
    Thoughtful and moving post, reminding me of my own mother passed away so long ago. I wrote about her in my novel On Thin Ice. The quote is very apt and that’s exactly what we writers do, trying to bring meaning to our lives. You did a great job connecting the dots. Thanks Johanna

  9. I have a huge hoard of books my mother read to me, which, in turn, I read to my two children. My son went on to read a BA in English, History & Creative Writing. He’s a really cool writer, and, since graduating, he started working on various projects in the fantasy genre.

    You must so miss your mother. She sounds as if she was such a treasure.

  10. Mothers, daughters, books – they’re all treasures. Thanks for sharing, Shannon; it’s such a lovely tribute to your late mother. And strange how the 1st decade mark after a loss or trauma seems to represent special emotional value.

  11. This post really touch my heart. I also lost my mother back in 2007 I understand that feeling. Thanks for sharing.

  12. This was a beautiful post, thank you for sharing this. It defiantly brought a smile to my face. You are such a beautiful person inside & out Shannon.

  13. What a beautiful post, I love the quote. It is particularly meaningful to me also. How wonderful that memories of our loved ones can stay with us throughout our lives and come at us at random moments – often just when we could use the comfort but didn’t expect it. Keep writing.

  14. That was very touching. I’m happy that you have such wonderful memories of your mother. My own mother is now 90 years old, but she used to take us to the library regularly when my sisters and I were young. I did the same thing with my own daughters–and never minded buying them books either!

  15. Shannon- Hope Edelman’s book is such an incredible resource! It gave a great deal of guidance to my thesis which focuses on the sudden death of my mom, who passed away fifteen years ago. I appreciate the loss you feel, and recognize the value in memories. Milestones are tough days. If you’re looking to read a few memoirs on mother-loss, I suggest /The Long Goodbye/ by Meghan O’Rourke and /Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found/ by Jennifer Lauck. I particulary resonated with O’Rourke’s book. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s nice to connect with others.

  16. Beautiful, Shannon! You are very fortunate to have had this Mother – even if it was not for long, but maybe the most important years of your upbringing. ☼ tomas

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