Losing a Mother Changes Everything About a Child


When a girl loses her mother at a young age, everything she would have become changes. The loss is so monumental, it creates a seismic shift. The woman she would have been changes and the woman she will become will forever be affected by that loss.

If that sounds dramatic, then you probably didn't lose your mother at a young age. Those of us who did know it's true. We know the way you long for -- and will continue to long for -- your mother every day for the rest of your life, but especially once you become a mother. It's a "club" that no one wants to join. And no one knows it better than women who have been there, too. A new documentary that is still in the making is exploring this "club."

Called The Club, the documentary film features Molly Shannon, Rosie O'Donnell, and several other women who lost their moms early in life (Shannon was 4 and O'Donnell was 11). Watch the trailer here.

As writer Hope Edelman says in Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss:

When a daughter loses a mother, the intervals between grief responses lengthen over time, but her longing never disappears. It always hovers at the edge of her awareness, prepared to surface at any time, in any place, in the least expected way. This isn't pathological. It's normal. It's why you find yourself, at 24, or 35, or 43, unwrapping a present, or walking down an aisle, or crossing a busy street, doubled over and missing your mother, because she died when you were 17.

It's true. I lost my mother at 16 and everything about the mother I have become was because of it. I was married young, had my children younger than most of my friends, and feel connected to my children (and worried about them) in ways I'm not sure others can understand. I can't take anything for granted. I know how quickly we can lose those people we love. Every single day with them is a gift.

Having children doesn't fix what was lost, though I probably once thought it would. I miss my mother more now that I have my own kids and she can't meet them. But every time I see my mother's face in my daughter's or her laugh in my son's, I feel closer to her than I have in 17 years.

A relative once told me that a writer we both like who writes a lot about mother loss was a "one-trick pony." I was shocked. Only a woman who had her mother to the age of 60 could possibly say such a shockingly insensitive thing. Because I know that when you've lost your mom before 20, it colors everything. It makes you the person you become. But then it's a club, one few people join, but once you do, you understand. And you would never say something so uninformed.

This documentary explores what that is like and what it's like to become a mom after losing yours. It's powerful and I hope it gets made, both for those of us who have experienced the loss and for those who want to understand it.

Did you lose your mother young?


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short... shorty2658

Im 18. My mother isnt gone yet but at times it feels like she is.... She has spent birthdays in the hospital. Shes spent most of my growing up life in hospitals. My dad was an alcholic and although he was there he wasnt "there". Ive almost lost my mom a few times. One time she made me go live with my dad so she could be with her bf atm and she almost died then. We wouldnt have known if she hadnt wanted us back. Im not saying shes a bad mother but sometimes i just wish she wasnt sick so much......

Marjc... Marjchaos

This breaks my heart. My best friend died recently, leaving two children behind, a nine year old girl, and an infant son.  I worry so much for her kids, and am generally broken-hearted to have lost her, but more that they have lost her.

LoriA... LoriAnn87

I lost my mom to breast cancer when i was 20. She was only 52 when she passed away. I took care of mom all the way up to the end and I was there when she passed away. The day she died I whisper in her ear it was ok to let go and go the angels because I knew my mom was in so much pain and was better off with god then to stuffer anymore pain. Even though my mom had breast cancer she never let it get her down or never stop her from doing what she loved best but most she always had a smile on her face even when she was in so many pain and getting more bad news everytime she went back to the dr's. My mom has been gone for 12 years and I miss her every day and once I became a mom it mader it harder because my mom wasn't here to see me become a mom and see my son born but I know my mom is watchign down on me.

Freela Freela

I'm so sorry for your loss.  I'm lucky enough to still have my mom... this still strikes close to home as a friend of mine lost her battle with cancer last summer and left behind a four year old daughter.  My friend loved her daughter more than anything... it makes me beyond sad to know that her little girl will grow up without her, and because of her young age perhaps without even many memories of her.

nonmember avatar Morgan

I lost my mom when I was 11. It has been 13 years since my mother died. It hasn't gotten any easier. I miss my mom every day. When I look back on those 13 years, there are a lot of changes that happened. She wasn't there to see me become a mom, guide me through the rough times of caring for a newborn or answer any of the questions that I had. I just hope that she would be proud of the woman and mother that I have become.

JaneE... JaneEyre27

My mom died very unexpectedly three weeks after I turned 8.  It changes EVERYTHING forever.

JaneE... JaneEyre27

Oh - and I know this is small of me - it pisses me off when other women look for sympathy from me because their mothers died when they (the daughters) were in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s.  Sorry, but it's not gonna happen.  They don't know how lucky they are to have a mother for so long.

Kasey Comingore

my mom passed away when i was 13 and my sister was 11. it has made me the person i am today. not sure if that is necessarily a good thing. i am emotionally stunted in some ways. it is hard for me to show sad or "needy" emotions to anyone. but, if i hadn't lost my mom, i wouldn't have moved out of my house at 18 and i wouldn't have met the man who has become the father of my child.
today my grandma passed away after a very brief battle with cancer, just like my mom, and i feel bad for my dad because i know what it is like to lose a mom.

Starm... Starma830

I lost my father at 4 years old. Being without him has been difficult---I think I miss the idea of a father & long to have known my own. I know I am not the woman I would have been...stronger? Better? More independent? More scared of loss? Less trusting? I know this is how it is & I feel jealous of my daughter & husband for all that they have that I missed. Glad I am not alone in thinking this...big hugs to all of you! One day we will see them again!

chicl... chiclet731

I was 21 when my mom passed. She was 41. :( I had just moved out 2 years prior. I was married for a year and had a 9 month old daughter. Until she was diagnosed with Brain Cancer, she was NEVER sick. From diagnosis to death it was just 13 months. 2 surgeries, a coma,.... gosh I could go on and on.

I've read the book and its perfect.... though it brings up So many emotions... tears on the pages, ughhhh! I read it in '07 so i'd say I'm due to read it again

To any other Motherless Daughters out there, we have a group on Facebook entitled Motherless Daughters. It's awesome! Great ladies in there.

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