Saturday 11 May 2019


Tomorrow will be my first Mother's Day without my Mom. I'll probably wake up in the morning and think, "Oh, I must call Mom and ask if she liked her flowers! I must tell her that I'm coming over later." And then, I'll remember. I know this will happen because something like it happens nearly every morning since Mom died in the morning, last August 16th. Tomorrow, my husband and children will wish me a Happy Mother's Day. We will raise our glasses of sparkling wine at brunch in a toast to all the mothers in our family,

This week, I've been thinking a lot about mothers in caring - whether it's being mothered, or it's us caring for our aging Moms or it's us caring for our children. Mothers in the family circle of care. Last week I gave a keynote for the McGill Council on Palliative Care in Montreal. Then yesterday, I attended the National Summit on Disability in Ottawa. As everyone wished each other, "Happy early Mother's Day!", I was thinking of the role of mothers in families - how we care for our own across ages, how we model love and nurture trust, how we as mothers, hold hands and nod in recognition of each other's small triumphs and sometimes sad shared experiences. 

No other story in Canadian history demonstrates the dichotomy of strength and vulnerability in motherhood as that of Marching Mothers® Desperate to find a cure for polio, a highly contagious, disabling and sometimes fatal disease, mothers across Canada joined a North America-wide fundraising drive towards research.
Known as the Marching Mothers®, these dedicated volunteers went door-to-door in their neighbourhoods, collecting donations for the March of Dimes. From celebrity endorsements, to local media campaigns, to the ringing of fire alarm bells from the centre of town, many in their communities got involved. Women canvassed their neighbours carrying pickle jars or canvassing kits. Homes welcoming Marching Mothers® turned on their porch lights to signal their support.

Over the years, this simple, community-based process raised millions of dollars for polio research and rehabilitation. It supported the research of Dr. Jonas Salk, whose polio vaccine was released in 1955, putting an end to the epidemics.
Mothers marching, some with babies, some with their children - welcomed by the warmth of neighbours' porch lights - there is something sacred about these images. They are a powerful reminder of what we can achieve together. Loving our mothers and being mothers constitute journeys that embody the full range of human emotion. Happy Mother's Day, everyone. Here's to us.

1 comment:

Unprepared Caregiver said...

Thank you, Donna for this poignant post on Mother's Day. My favorite line is when you write how mothers teach us how to "model love and nurture trust, how we as mothers, hold hands and nod in recognition of each other's small triumphs and sometimes sad shared experiences."