To My Mom, Who I Don’t Remember

Happy Mother's Day | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherDear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day!

You died when I was only 3, and I hate that I have absolutely no memory of you.

This photo is one of the very few I have of you, and the only one of us together.

Every Mother’s Day, I have this giant hole in my heart because I don’t remember you.  I hope that doesn’t make me a horrible son.

Why was it that when I was growing up, I was told to call my stepmother “Mom”, and you were always referred to as “Louise”?

Why in the world would a son be raised to call his Mother by her given name?  There is something painfully wrong with that, and I hope you can forgive me for taking so long to correct that situation.

You are Mom, and always will be.

Even if I can’t remember you.

I’ve really tried to find just a single memory up there in the muddled mess that is my mind.  Maybe one of the reasons I write so much is to clear out stories to make space in hopes of unearthing a memory of you.

No luck so far, but I’m never going to stop trying.

I finally applied for my passport a couple of weeks ago, and when I took out my birth certificate, I noticed that your name was listed incorrectly.

The official record lists your middle name as your first and vice versa.  The woman at the passport office questioned me on this, and I got snippy with her.  I insisted that I knew my own Mother’s name.

But do I?

I have no memory of you.

I’m jealous of all my friends who post photos with their Moms on Mother’s Day.  I wish I had a mountain of pics from which to choose, and an even larger pile of memories to delve into for a witty status update.

I have this photo, but no memories.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to have kiddos of my own.  It’s something I really want, and I promise that my little ones will know about their Grandma.

I have no memory of my Mom, but she is always on my mind...especially on Mother's Day.Even though I have no memory of you, I have been grilling Mary Lou for info.  Anything I can find out about you, I promise to pass along to the next generation.

I’m sorry I never got a chance to buy you a Mother’s Day present, or surprise you with breakfast in bed on your special day.

Just because I don’t remember you, please don’t take that to mean you aren’t always on my mind….especially on Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!



About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Holidays, Humor, Love and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

88 Responses to To My Mom, Who I Don’t Remember

  1. stomperdad says:

    I hope heaven has internet so she can read this. Beautiful post and touching tribute to your mom.

  2. Éilis Niamh says:

    Very sad, but a wonderful tribute.

  3. Aw Austin, I’m sorry that you lost your mother at such a young age. With or without the memories, this post was so touching and heartfelt. x

  4. Lynne Brown says:

    Beautiful, well-written post. Brought tears to my eyes. I am sorry you loss your mom at such an early age.

  5. Sheila Moss says:

    Very sad. Maybe you could do genealogy and find out as much as you can about her from official documents. You might also find other relatives that can give you information. I’ve found out quite a lot about where my family came from. Even knowing where your relatives are buried might give some closure. Just a thought.

    • Austin says:

      I’ve been trying to get such information out of my sister, who is 16 years older and remembers my Mom. Apparently, info about Mom’s side of the family is either top secret or just difficult to come by…

  6. ksbeth says:

    i’m so sorry. and i’m quite sure she knows how much you love her and miss her.

  7. Pingback: Sunday Share- Happy Mothers Day Version! | All In A Dad's Work

  8. Oh, Austin…
    I can only imagine how difficult all this loss must be for you. Your love for your mom, despite your lack of active memories….it’s palpable. So never fear. She knows just how much you love her.

  9. This was beautiful…

  10. Ocean Bream says:

    This was a very touching tribute. I am sure your mother would be tremendously proud of you and happy with how far you’ve come in life, what you’ve achieved, and who you’ve become.

  11. Okay, I’m crying. So sorry you didn’t get to know your Mom, but the other posters are right–you can be she’s proud of you.

  12. amommasview says:

    Keep asking the ones that knew her about stories. You can create a beautiful “memory” from that and you also have the feeling in your heart. Beautiful post!

  13. Claudia says:

    You-re a son any mother would love.

  14. This is quite possibly the sweetest message to a mother ever written. And I’m certain that any sentiment felt with so much love has been received–because love never dies, and in the form of consciousness, we live forever. ❤

  15. stuckinscared says:

    Aw, Austin… I am undone. A bitter-sweet post. Beautifully written. I like to think my Dad is reading the letters I’m writing to him… and hope your Mum is reading yours. (((Hugs)))

  16. tric says:

    You share a link going back generations. You’re mom lives within you and strengths and characterisations borne out of lives lived before you were born will bind you forever.
    You may say you don’t remember her but your very appearance and personality remember her well.
    I’m sure she’s proud.

  17. Audrey says:

    I was searching up some lonely keywords on Mother’s Day and didn’t expect to see this result. I’ve decided to come back and comment now to let you know my thoughts; I too lost my mother when I was 2, and have no recollection of her. All I can do is look at photos, and hear people talk about her (but with varying detail…her personality is never clear to me).
    Her absence is, without a doubt, the most painful thing in my life, and I will always miss her. I, too, am jealous of my friends on Mother’s Day – that is quite relatable.
    Thank you for putting these feelings down in words. It is nice (but sad at the same time) to know that I am not alone. Please take care.

  18. It’s a very beautifully written post, Austin. I hope one day, you’ll find her and each other. x.

  19. Debbie H says:

    A lovely heartfelt post Austin. I’m sorry you don’t have any memories.

  20. robjodiefilogomo says:

    This makes me realize how lucky I am to have my mother —even now. And not meaning to be insincere or anything, but I’d be happy to lend you my mother for awhile!! She’s alter your clothes and even bake you banana nut bread!

  21. Robin says:

    This is a beautiful tribute. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m confident she is smiling down on you with pride.

  22. That bit about not being sure of her name? Heart wrenching.

  23. Silly Mummy says:

    How beautiful and heart wrenching. I hope you find out the information you want about your mother eventually, and are one day able to pass it on to kids of your own.

  24. Oh Austin, I’m absolutely bawling right now. My father died when I was young, I do have memories, but my brothers do not. Fathers day used to be difficult for me, I don’t know why it isn’t anymore. Perhaps my own children, and a husband to smother with appreciation suffices?

    But there are moments, the greatest ones that are clouded with sorrow to not have the ability to share them with that daddy that I loved ever so much.

  25. Jennifer says:

    I’m so sorry Austin. Hugs for you during this difficult time.

  26. vilmasceusa says:

    Very touching. I lost my mother when I was 11 and though I had a few more years than you my memories are also slim. It’s been so many years but I hold onto whatever I can and I’ve tried to become the kind of woman she would be proud of.

  27. Trudy says:

    This is beautifully written.This post just makes me want to hug my mom and memorize her face.

  28. I hope somehow she sees that. Maybe heaven does get the internet. Every word matters.

  29. Klaudia says:

    So sad and so beautiful, very touching. I am sure, your mum is mighty proud of you!

  30. This is so sad Austin. I wish you’d got to know your mum. Moving tribute to her, mother’s day must be tough for so many people who like you have lost their mothers at such a young age. 😦

  31. Rebecca says:

    I feel your pain. I lost my mom weeks before my second birthday. I have no memories of her. I struggle to understand my feelings of mourning someone I can’t remember. But I do. I mourn her in many different ways. Even though I was young I feel guilty for not remembering her.I feel like I am not a complete person because I can’t remember any personal experiences. Does this make me stronger as a person?? Maybe.. but every day I wonder if I would have been a better person with her in my life

  32. Heathee says:

    I wish I had a memory of my mother too. She died when I was almost 2. I would love to have just one memory of her but I do not. When I think of her I hope and pray she is proud of me and thinking I am living my life how I should with life and love. Sometimes I think she might think I am not doing enough. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if she were here. I know that my life would be completely different and let me tell ya… that is one mind boggling thought… like pretty indescribable the way that makes me feel. Actually probably the most indescribable feeling in the world though is to think how it will be when I finally get to meet her one day. And when I feel sad about not knowing or remembering her, thinking about getting to see her again, makes me feel… pretty dang indescribable. Thanks for sharing what you wrote. It was good to read.

  33. Lisa Orchard says:

    Very touching tribute and I’m so sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

  34. Alicia says:

    I just started watching some videos of my mother today. It’s been 27 years since she passed away from brain cancer. I was 2; she was 28. I am now 29…The video of my father when he found out, the look on his face…destroys me.

    I have no recollection of her and the videos add some happiness to my pain.

    This tribute to your mother spoke to me as if I wrote it myself. Why is my step-mom, “Mom,” and my Mom, “Karen”? I say Mom and Momma and confuse people. Even family I need to emphasize on who I am talking about. It’s so fucked up.

    I have no memories of my mother, but I look like her, act like her…I know it tears my dad up. My older brother doesn’t talk to me about Momma anymore because he doesn’t want his memories. It hurts too much. We grieve every day in different ways. I want memories, but I have to settle for pictures and videos…stories.

    Will my pain always be this unbearable? Why does it hurt so bad? I have a mom who raised me right. But, yet, I can’t tell her I love her. Ever. Even though I do. But, I say it to Momma all the time.

    I miss her. I grieve not remembering. I want to be the woman she never got to be. The mother she was trying to be.

    My life, I live, because she can’t. I had breast cancer and beat it. I wanted to die and be with her. But, I know better now. I’m living for her.

    I know your pain, Austin. I’m with you.

  35. That is very sad. It’s a lovely tribute to her and I’m sure she would have been proud. Hugs, Marje x

  36. kristianw84 says:

    Oh, Austin, I wish I could hug you. I am so sorry to read about your struggles of no memory of your mom. I’m sure she understands, the average human brain can’t remember prior to age 4 or 5, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for a memory to return to you. You are not a terrible son, and I am sure wherever she is, she is very proud of the man you have become! This was a beautiful way to honor her. ❤

  37. Aditya Singh says:

    This article has touched me. My mother died when I was 4 years old, and I have absolutely no memory of her.
    Anytime someone who knew her mentions her I get so excited that I’ll get to hear about her, know what was she like, what she liked, what she hated ….Even though I had a very loving grandmother who took care of me since my mother died like my real mom, there were some things that I could never ask her.

    Every time I need to take a very big life decision I take help from my father, my brother, my grandmother, but that is never enough. My grandmother is old and doesn’t really understand most of the things, she just wants me to be happy. The relationship between me and my father was never good since my stepmom joined the family. My brother gives good advice but he also lives a busy life now and I can’t really ask him to spoonfeed me every time now. I just wish it so badly that I had my mother with me who would help me with my decisions, no matter how confused I was, someone with whom I could share every minor detail.

    Sometimes I wish even if she is not with me, at least if I knew how she was, what would make her happy, if she was proud of me, I’ll get some sort of closure.
    Sorry for the long text Austin, really appreciate this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s