Please help me welcome Lauren Flake to Notherhood! She and I have shared our writings with each other elsewhere on the “web” but this is her first time to share here. Her story is one filled with sorrow due to the loss of her mom in the early years of Lauren being an adult child. But her story is also one filled with hope as she generously shares with others her journey of finding joy in the grief. Lauren, I am beyond blessed to get to know you and so very thankful that you’re sharing your heart words with us. Thank you for encouraging us nothers to be present in our children’s lives while we’re given the gift of time.
What I Would Want From My Mother Now, by Lauren Flake
I’ve been without my mother for so many years now, that it’s difficult to know exactly what I’m missing in a relationship with her as an adult daughter. Yet, I know that, deep down, there is a void where a relationship with my mom should be.
She was already in the late stages of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease when I experienced a miscarriage and became a mother in my 20s. I was pregnant with my youngest daughter when my mom passed away after more than a decade of living with confusion and suffering as she declined further and further into dementia.
What would I want from my mother now?
It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be able to pick up the phone and call her. It’s even harder to imagine what it would be like to have her physically here as my daughters’ grandmother.
Some of the things many people my age take for granted with their mothers still in their lives are so far removed from my reality but there are a few things I can pinpoint that I’m missing.
I’d want her to be my mentor.
If she were still here, I would value my mother’s validation and support. I would want her to be my sounding board, my confidant, my mentor, and my biggest fan.
I would want her to love my kids well and teach them all of the things I can’t do as well as she did–how to sew and knit, how to cook, how to garden, how to paint and draw, how to swim, and how to ride a horse.
I would want her to teach me how to be a caregiver. I would want her to be a buffer between her own mother and me so that I wouldn’t be solely in charge of my grandmother’s care.
Most of all, I would want my mother to be my friend.
I would want to go shopping with her for clothes or plants or craft supplies and to eat lunch with her at our favorite places while my girls are at school. I would want to laugh with her, to plan events with her, to celebrate holidays and achievements with her, to cry with her when her dad died last year or when disaster struck the area where she was born and raised last month.
I would want her to know me and love me as only my mother could. And I would want to know and love her as only her adult daughter could.
Mothers of adult children, if there is a motherless daughter in your life, please know that although you could never replace the loving presence of her mother, she would probably be grateful to have you reach out to her as a mentor and a friend.
Some of my mother’s best friends have filled this important role in my life in recent years, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Lauren lives near her native Austin, Texas with her husband, Travis, their two daughters, Samantha and Charlotte, and two rowdy Labrador Retrievers. Lauren is the author and co-illustrator of the award-winning children’s book, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go?: A Preschooler’s Guide to Losing a Loved One and its companion, Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?, which gently lead families into meaningful conversations about death, grief, and eternal love. A seventh generation Texan and avid Tex Mex enthusiast, she writes and raises funds for her favorite #TexasStrong causes, in memory of her mother, Dixie–whom she lost to early onset Alzheimer’s disease–at LaurenFlake.com.