Mother’s Day, without a mother

My grandmother died in 1988 at the age of 96. My mother would have been 96 this May 26th, had she not died in 1992. Grandma was a lifelong hypochondriac, while Mom, Grandma’s only child (because that one birth damn near killed Grandma, dontcha know) was born with health problems, genuinely suffered from illnesses, pregnancies, and four live childbirths, throughout her life, as well as having endured living a mere six blocks from her own domineering mother all her married life.

My own relationship with my mother was… difficult, and I never considered attending university in Toronto, as she wanted me to do, precisely because I couldn’t wait to get away from home, and from Mom constantly telling me what to do. So, other than a couple of summers living under her roof while I worked in Toronto between semesters, I moved out for the rest of my life at the age of 19, and was very happy to do so.

The disconcerting thing about now growing older is that, every time I look in the mirror, I see my mother’s face looking back at me. I was always told, and especially by Dad, that I of all four kids looked most like her. So when I was sorting through a plastic bag full of old photos, looking for one that was suitable to post to my Facebook status in celebration of Mother’s Day, I found a few more that were very interesting. The following were captioned on the back in my mother’s handwriting, so I’ve titled each as she wrote them. (Place cursor on photo for caption.)

Me in my Brownie uniform, with my Mom in her Brown Owl uniform, 1962. I would have been 8-going-on-9 in this picture, and Mom, 47.

Mom and me visiting Grandma when she was living in the CNIB home. (When I thought that super-curly hair and contacts were a good idea.)

I was flying back to Calgary and Elkford after attending the Canadian Booksellers Association trade fair in Toronto.

This is the only picture without a caption or dated year, so I’m guessing that late 20s is correct. The startling thing about this photo is that this could have been me in my teens in this picture – except for the dress Mom is wearing, which I wouldn’t have been caught dead in at 15 years of age!

And, finally, the picture I posted to Facebook. The back of this photo was captioned in my father’s handwriting… Susan Marie 4 weeks, he wrote.

So, thinking of my mother on this Mother’s Day, and happy to say that she lives on in me, every time I look in the mirror.

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5 responses

  1. Beautiful post, Susan. Thanks for sharing all those photos!

  2. great pics susan. and, surely, there must be a s. story in the brownie and brown owl roles…i love it.

    1. Oh, don’t worry, Barb. I’m milking my family’s history to get every drop. Lots of short stories in the hopper.

  3. Susan, the resemblance is spot-on! And in the words of Peter Gabriel, “Life carries on, and on, and on, and on…”!

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