Faith Salie: On Mother's Day without a mother

All of us observe Mother's Day in our own personal way -- and that definitely applies to Faith Salie: 

Mother's Day is a bittersweet day for many of us. We all have mothers, but some of us have lost them.


Infant Faith with Gail.

Faith Salie

When my mother died in my 20s, an older friend told me that my relationship with her would continue to grow -- that as I aged, I would learn new things about her. 

This seemed unthinkable at the time. It has turned out to be true. 

While nothing has ever replaced my mom's love, loving my own children has brought me closer to my mother than I could have ever imagined when I lost her twenty years ago. 

Here's what I've learned by being a motherless mother:

How much she loved me: I knew she did, but now I understand the depths of her love, the insane amounts of patience, sacrifice and humor it must have taken to raise me -- or for any mother to raise any little human.



Faith Salie

How exhausted she was: I now understand why we ate dinner at 5.30 p.m. and why she was in bed by 8.  

Why she went to church every weekday morning before we woke up: The same reason I go for a run at 6 a.m. -- to have time to collect my thoughts and say thanks for the day, before I get hit with equal amounts of kisses and toddler mucus. 

Why she cried when she was happy: This is a mystery solved as soon as you receive your first love note from your four-year-old.

Why she was so grateful: I remember my mom sitting at our kitchen table, paying bills with a small smile. She'd sigh and say, "I'm so blessed to be able to pay these." She knew it was about what you have. I tell my kids all the time that I'm so lucky they chose me to be their mom.

I'm as grateful as she was, but I'll never be as graceful as my mom. As my dad said in his eulogy for her (and you may say the same about your mom), "We can't be as good as Gail, but we can all try to be good like her."

My mother is still revealing herself to me every day, as I approach the age at which she left us.

I hope you feel closer to your mom today, too, wherever she is. 


An undated photo of Faith Salie and her mother, Gail.

Faith Salie

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