Solo Survivor

Mother’s Day

Mothers – I have been thinking about mine a lot lately. We haven’t always had the closeness we now have to be honest and I have not always been the child she could love and be proud of. Being told recently that she is in early stages of dementia, it’s hard to know that she will slowly slip away in front of our eyes and we need to make the most of what time we have before she forgets us completely. I feel for my sister who gets to watch this process close up. I think it will be much harder for her. I have so many good, fun memories of mum and am thankful those can’t be taken away as her own memory fades.

But some things I know to be true. Mom made a myriad of sacrifices and hard choices for us over the years, often going without herself so we didn’t have to. Sometimes she would tell us she was not hungry so we could have enough to eat and we were too little or selfish to realise the opposite was true – she chose us over herself over and over again. She was never very demonstrative or one to say Ï love you”, but we knew we were loved by the things she did. I loved waking up early on Christmas mornings to find something she had made for us at the end of the our beds – each one as different as we were. She worked long, hard hours to keep us fed and clothed.

Was she perfect? Not by any means – what parent is. Sadly, it only in these later years that I have even tried to see life from her point of view; to notice the struggles and sacrifices it meant for her. It’s only in my adult years that I have even tried to understand her, accept her, love her fiercely. Maybe the change in me is what has changed the way we interact now. She is free with the I love you’s now and the hugs. It’s funny, because I don’t need those things anymore to know she loves me. I just know.

I have avoided Mother’s day for years for one reason or another. It’s a difficult day for many. Being my age, never married and not ever having children is often viewed as being deficient somehow. I am often made to feel like a failure for not ever being able to make the choice to marry or have children. I am repeatedly called Mrs not Miss even though all the forms I fill out clearly say i am single. This one day each year, underlines and amplifies these perceptions of failure even more. Last year I arrived home from visiting mum on Mother’s day and was greeted at the airport by airport staff with a silk rose and cheery “happy mother’s day”. Smile, say thanks and keep moving!

I think being a mother is the hardest job on the planet – it is not a job for the faint-hearted. I have never been brave enough to even contemplate that job, but that does not make me less somehow than those who are mothers. So many around us single, childless folk have no idea how thoughtless many of them are on days like today. They have no clue how many of us ache to belong, be part of a family in some way. I was fortunate enough to have that experience for a couple of years as a sweet young family adopted me as ‘grandma’ until moving interstate. I am forever grateful to them for the privilege and experience of being loved that way.

That said, happy mother’s day moms everywhere and especially to my dear mum.


  1. Bek

    Dear Su, although I cannot grasp what today means for you, I can relate to the part of feeling as though u don’t quite belong on the day from not having kids. I remember how heavy my heart was during the yrs of IVF & on Mother’s Day I was reminded that for some reason my body couldn’t do what it should & was made for, to make a baby, & I some how felt as though I was a failure as a woman. I use to watch other mums with their kids & be reduced to tears. I kind of dreaded the day every yr as it crept forward.
    Though my experience is different to yrs, I can totally respect where u are at on days such as today.
    Much luv to you, you are a wonderful woman & friend xxx

  2. Angie

    My precious Su!

    I relate to so much of your post! With my mom having gone to hospital recently, for 15 days, cause she suddenly started talking funny. Thinking that she was at another place and just out of it!

    Diagnosis….dementia! It’s heartbreaking to even think about it. And for now I can’t! I chose now to enjoy the time I do have with her, holding onto the faith that she will be healed.

    Maybe I don’t want to face that yet? I don’t know….

    I so relate to how one feels on Mothers Day, when I have never brought any children into the world. Ok, Frikkie had 2 children 3 and 7 years old when we married. And while they were younger it seemed to fill the void I felt. But i was not able to have children.

    But as the children have now grown up 22 years later, I don’t even know if I ever was a good enough “2nd mom” to them, cause it was during their growing years that I had 13 brain ops and spent over 120 days per year in hospital!

    And we found ways when they were young to have chats and play games in the times that I was bedridden, but then they moved to Joburg cause their mom re-married. Sadly she is divorced again.

    But it was in those years we got sequestration and lost everything because of my health and Frikkie was not able to see the children in Joburg, as a “punishment” from his ex wife! For 5 years they could not come here and vice versa.

    It ripped me to pieces that it was my fault! Suddenly this career woman who started her own business at the age of 21, was not able to work and was given a bill of total disablement!

    Why dont even know why i am writing all this??? I think maybe because at this very moment, I have a distant and strained relationship with Frikkie’s eldest who lives here in Cape Town now, with her hubby and the grandchildren!

    And as if coming down from being the main bread winner, too having to trust God 100% for His supply, cause He has called me into ministry now, is not challenging enough. It’s also not seen by them as and real job.

    But in one day I can go from hero to zero in terms of my health and pain levels! So now I feel like a burden to my man, and sadly that is what my son in law has told me, and I know the kids have believed that all the years! And how can I blame them, cause even I feel like that!

    But I know God knows and He promised me healing at an appointed time. So a happy mother’s day from them, feels fake, cause now they old enough to chose to think differently, and it no longer fills that void. I don’t know if you know what I mean. So yes, I relate to being a failure in the mother department. It’s not hard for that to happen,when it takes all I have just to survive each days pain.

    So this Mothers day, I walked into the hospital where my mom was, with a teddy and flowers, only to find that she had taken a turn for the worse in another area of her health! So since I am girl down right now, we will still have a special mother’s day for mom! Why can’t it be any day???

    Strange how when we share our stories, we connect on more levels than we though hey my friend!

    I have written here what I have not yet even verbalised myself, except to be feeling it! So I can only believe that i needed to write it!

    Thank you for your blog my friend! I love you dearly!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *