Searching for Joy Without My Mother

By: Amanda Loduca (Guest Blogger)

It seems to me that most of my problems are linked to my mother’s absence.

A few examples:

  • My toddler and I often have nowhere to go; Mom was retired and lived only a minute away.
  • I worry that I bother people with my little joys and concerns; moms make it their business to care about the details.
  • I don’t have the financial means to give my daughter much beyond her basic needs; Mom loved spoiling her grandbabies.

Now, I realize this is just my own negative slant on the world and I hope to move beyond it someday- but it hasn’t happened yet in the five years since Mom passed.

Life is challenging for any motherless daughter, but for the motherless mother in the early years of parenting, the days stretch long and empty before her.

I am excellent at achieving joy for short bursts of time. I focus on my blessings, find ways to accomplish personal goals, get inspired by other joyful women… but the joy is always temporary. It doesn’t take long before the loneliness for my mom creeps back in.

Everything tends to point to her empty place, even when I try to stay positive – like if I’m holding my daughter’s hand and feeling glad to be alive, we cross paths with a happy mother/daughter/grandmother trio. While basking in the sweet flutters and kicks from my precious unborn baby, I see a friend’s pregnancy photo- and all I notice is her mother’s proud smile as she beams in the background. The bottom line is, without Mom here, the hard moments are harder and the happy moments take extra effort to hold onto… but they are worth the effort.

I’ve recently begun following an inspirational singer/songwriter/mother on social media who seems to embody pure joy. She creates beautiful songs and videos that move me. I see her genuine smiles and think, “I can do that… If she’s found that joy, so can I.” But today, she innocently posted something that hurt me.

I knew nothing of her life except that she was happily married and had two little girls, until she posted that she was at her parents’ ranch to celebrate her mother’s birthday… I immediately started sobbing. Though I’m sure she has struggles and battles I know nothing about, just reading of her happiness invoked my usual sadness. Suddenly, she wasn’t the role model I needed. “Of course she can be so joyful,” I thought. “She still has her mother and her home base.”

That was disappointing, but it taught me something: I am missing a person. The only way to fill that void is with other people – not feelings, accomplishments, or even celebrity role models.

My mother is irreplaceable, but meaningful interaction with others can dull the pain. I am grateful for the existing support I have, but will strive to add more people in three specific areas of my life.

One – People to socialize with. If my daughter and I don’t have enough to do, it’s up to me to change that. I’ve slowly found some good friends, but there’s always room for more. Perhaps there are soul sisters out there just waiting for my daughter and me to come along…Back to the libraries, church groups and playgroups we go!

Two – People to help. Not people to help me, though the baby/toddler years are a handful- people for me to help. Bonding with other motherless daughters, helping charities, forgetting my pain while easing the pain of a stranger… those things bring me more joy than anything else.

Three – People to lead me back to Jesus. I get so wrapped up in this life; it’s easy to forget that my treasure is in Heaven. My mother is, too… I need to focus on that. I aim to become more active in church activities and group bible studies, and to spend more time with others in prayer.

I want to find true, lasting joy – despite my life’s circumstances. I want to view an adult mother/daughter combo without any envy or sadness. I don’t know what it will take, or how long…but it begins with a prayer and the words, “I will try.”

6 replies on “Searching for Joy Without My Mother”

Thank you so much for this inspiring post. You described the feelings of loneliness and regret I feel too. Good suggestions on how to carry forward: 1) find new good people to befriend, 2) do good for others and 3) strengthen your faith. Great suggestions and I will be trying these.

I think trying makes all the difference! Things can never be the same, but who knows what happiness the future will bring if we make a sincere effort?

Thank you for this. I miss my cheerleader, the person who wanted to lift me and my children up on our worst days. When you see that love and emotional support continue to happen in other families it’s absolutely a reminder of that profound loss. It hurts. Thank you for also identifying the things we have control over as we try to move forward in our lives. But thank you even more for acknowledging that even when you try, it’s hard and not something that can realistically be achieved at all times.

Hi Jessamyn!

I think that’s one of the hardest parts of the grief journey- constant setbacks when we think we have already overcome something.

I often look back on things I’ve said or written soon after hard events in my life with a sad smile, because I was so eager to learn something and move forward… but the efforts were in vain and they show how naive I was. I know now that my grief will always be with me.

I do feel more hopeful as time passes, but you’re right. It’s not easy and it takes effort! I want that joy though! It’s worth it, and so are we! 🙂

Thank you. It is one of the hardest things; being a new mom or just a mom without one. You’re far from alone. And I hope it became easier or less difficult for you. For me 22 yeats after loss of mom and now w 3 yo, I find all the happy is joined by sadness of some sort. And yes, I feel I am burden on everyone. But I do know the mind of the motherless mom is not like the one w one. You’re amazing!

Thank you, Tamara! Just now seeing this. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone. You really hit the nail on the head when you said that all happy is joined with sadness. I wish you and your 3-year-old moments of pure joy this summer!

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