Death, Grief, Love, Motherless Daughter, Mothers and Daughters

Mothers and Daughters

When a friend of mine posted this photograph of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher I could not take my eyes from it as my heart filled with awe, envy and love for these two women. Now, I’m not a Star Wars fan. I have only ever seen one of the films and I remember nothing about it. And I don’t watch many movies so I haven’t seen Debbie or Carrie in anything. I didn’t know either of them until social media went on fire following Carrie’s death. So the emotions I felt on seeing this beautiful image did not arise out of devotion to these actors or their film roles, but from a place deep inside myself where a little girl is longing to be held and have her hair stroked by her mother and to feel an ounce of what these ladies were feeling when this photograph was snapped.

The feelings that rushed over me on seeing this photograph came from a deep place. I love to watch mothers and daughters together, enjoying each other’s company, showing their affection towards each other, being supportive and laughing in tandem. I smile when mothers kindly offer advice to their grown children, even when that advice is waved away. I’ve written about my appreciation of the mother-daughter bond in my blog post The Beauty of Mothers. It truly is a unique and special bond.

I am in awe of this bond because my mother died when I was 11 years old. I have no experience of Mam from my adult perspective. As a grown woman I never got to sit down with her and ask her grown up things. There is so much I’d love to discuss with her now. For most of my life I’ve been without my mother. And isn’t our mother supposed to be with us always, guiding us along, protecting us on our journey, teaching us things like her recipe for drop scones that I’ve never been able to replicate? Holding my hand, hearing my words when nobody else quite understands because she’s my mother and she would always understand!

And why was my mother taken when so many others were allowed to keep theirs? At 11 years old I silently asked this question because I knew nobody else who was without their mother. Enter envy. Every motherless daughter I’ve connected with who lost their mother early in life feels this envy too. We want our mothers with us. There’s an empty hole in our hearts that cannot be filled since losing the person who brought us into this world.

I remember spending a lot of time in my friend’s house during secondary school in Ireland. My friend and her mother did not get on, but I loved both of them. My friend was fun, out-going, creative and wild. Her mother was younger than many of my other pal’s mothers and much more open to talking about things. She spoke candidly to my friend and I about alcohol, boyfriends, puberty and birth control. I enjoyed talking with her but my friend just wanted to avoid her mother. They fought like cats and dogs, banging doors and yelling at each other. I wanted to say to my friend “She’s your mother, please at least give her a chance,” and I did sometimes say things like that, but rarely did it work. My friend was a blossoming teenager, strong-willed and stubborn. She didn’t need any motherly advice. And yet she’d say to me, “I can’t imagine not having my mother.” She had sincere compassion for me.

“The relationship between parents and children, but especially between mothers and daughters, is tremendously powerful, scarcely to be comprehended in any rational way.” Joyce Carol Oates

The above photograph moved me. I felt a sincere appreciation for this mother-daughter moment. Even if it was fleeting. I don’t know. But this precious captured moment is one that I and many other women who lost their moms early in life will never have. It brings joy to my heart to see it.

I since read that Debbie Reynolds wrote in her 2013 autobiography, Unsinkable:

“It’s not natural to outlive your child. This has always been my greatest fear. I don’t know if I could survive that. Carrie is my child and I love her with every ounce of strength I possess.”

It is likely that the death of her daughter led to Debbie Reynolds’ stroke as she sat at home making arrangements for Carrie’s funeral. It is likely that this woman could not imagine life without her daughter. I can believe that because I am certain of the love that exists between a mother and daughter. Not everyone is blessed to have this loving bond but many are.

A friend of mine blurted on hearing of Debbie’s death, “I need to call my mother more often!” What a gift it is to have your mother at the end of that phone line.

Much love,

Carmel X

Like or follow my public Facebook page here where I frequently post articles, quotes & information about mother loss, grief and the writing process.



13 thoughts on “Mothers and Daughters

  1. Jennifer Sullivan says:

    I lost my mother 1 year and 8 months ago. Granted I was an adult but life’s complete different now. How I wish I could pick up the phone and talk to her. What I would give for one more day! We had our share of fusses but we loved each other emencily. I miss her everyday!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna says:

    Thank for these beautifully written thoughts and feelings. I, for one, was lucky enough to have my mom for all of my 64 years. I just lost her on June 20, 2016 at the age of 91. We were always together or on the phone. My heart is broken, I love and miss her terribly. Thank you again for these words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Donna. Yes of course your heart is broken. How wonderful that you and your mom had so many years together. What a beautiful blessing. And I’m sorry that you are missing her so terribly but I understand why you are. There was such love there between you for so many years. Hugs.


  3. Marlouise says:

    Thank you so much for these words. I lost my mom 10 months ago and it was the hardest part of my 25 years on this earth. Granted that i have had alot of bad times, but Mamma was always there. Don’t get me wrong me and my mom faught like cats and dogs but i always did my best to be there (and she for me) if times got rough. I miss her emencely and wish she was here everyday. But blogs like yours have made everyday’s grief easier to live with. Thank you


  4. Thank you for those words.i lost my mom at the age of has not been the same without her i have been so lost.i have a daughter she’s 14.motherhood has been a wonderful experience since i had her.just wish my mom was living to see us both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Portia, Thank you for your comment. 7 was so young to lose your mom. I’m so sorry! Sounds like you are blessed in motherhood with your beautiful daughter. It’s not easy though, without our mothers. Hugs to you.


  5. Pingback: What Not to Do When Someone You Know Has Lost Their Mother | Alovelywoman

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