Mother’s Day

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and yesterday would have been my mother’s birthday so she’s been on my mind. She died in 1987 and I still miss her. I had a different mother than my two older sisters and brother. We actually all had the same parents but very shortly after I was born, my mother experienced a serious depression and went through a lot of ECT, a nice way of saying she endured “shock treatments”, in an era when the patient wasn’t anesthetized during the procedure. I have no memory of her before that but I am told there was a significant difference so the ECT apparently did its job. When they were teenagers, my considerably older siblings liked to tease me and say I made my mother crazy. I know now that’s not true but as a result, I became a careful, people-pleasing kid who was afraid even a slight infraction could cause my mother to be sent away. She was forty when I was born and I think what she suffered from was most likely severe post partum depression, not dissimilar from PTSD, There were no such things as SSRI’s in those days and that’s too bad. I believe she would have been helped without being sent to a mental facility for six weeks of electroshock therapy. My sisters and my brother remember her as being depressed and crying often. I remember her crying only once, when she heard the song “To a Wild Rose”. I remember, because it seemed unusual for her to cry. When I questioned her, she said the song made her remember her own mother. Clara, the grandmother I never knew, died when my mother was just 12 years old. My mother’s father had died only four years earlier. I can imagine her childhood had had plenty of tears. I remember my mother as fun and as a friend. We went berry picking and she took me on picnics. We did puzzles together and she introduced me to books she thought I would like. She had an insatiable curiosity about nearly everything and loved words. I’m so grateful she passed those things along to me. I feel lucky to have had her in my life. Thanks, mom!


Photo courtesy Uschi_Du on and chosen because my mother loved poppies

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