Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

It’s that time of year when all across our nation, mothers are celebrated, honored and loved.

Except for those who aren’t…

For me, Mother’s Day is the most difficult holiday, for obvious reasons. The other holidays spent without my family are no fun either, but Mother’s Day is the toughest.

My son was always good about remembering me on all holidays, giving me flowers and a lovely card for Mother’s Day. However, each year since this estrangement began, I have progressively pared down any expectations of acknowledgement to almost nothing. If I get a brief text, that’s a lot. The trick is to not expect anything from him, and when nothing comes, to be okay.

During these years of estrangement, I have often let my son’s lack of attention invalidate me. But no one can invalidate me without my permission. When Mother’s Day comes around, and I am no longer celebrated for being someone’s mother, I must consciously throw away any negative beliefs I have about myself. No more guilt, no more mea culpas. I must care about myself, whether my son cares about me or not, otherwise, I’m allowing his behavior to define and disable me.

When I was a young mother, I lacked knowledge, confidence and foresight, but I did my best. The model for parenting in the 70’s was very different from what it is now. There was very little ‘hovering,’ and children were encouraged to be independent. I grew up in the 50’s with a rather loose parenting style, but I am happy that my parents weren’t constantly interacting with me. I am grateful for the freedom I had as a kid, and when I became a mother, I encouraged self-reliance in my son. Right or wrong, it was what I believed at the time.

Since I will not be able to connect with my son on this Mother’s Day, I will do what I do best: I will send him love. I will pray for him, for his family and for his life. No matter what, I am glad that I gave birth to him and had those years when I knew him and his beautiful spirit. I am so very grateful for his existence, his health and well-being. I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned because of him. He was once my little student, now he is my teacher. I will celebrate him and his own journey on this earth. I love him deeply and forever.

On this Mother’s Day, I will also celebrate who I am: a wiser woman, a dancer, a musician and, yes, a mother. I will laugh with friends, enjoy the spring seedlings and the greening of trees. I will appreciate the triumph of my spirit over the mess that estrangement brought into my life. I will stay in the moment and relish it.

13 thoughts on “Mother’s Day”

  • You are much braver than me. I hope to have your courage as time passes, however, for now, this is the first Mother’s Day since the estrangement that I did not hear from my son despite a text reminder from his father encouraging him to call and/or text me. I must say, I wait and wondered by that phone off and on most of the day. I am comforted by your writing that I am not alone in this situation but at this time, it’s all too raw for me. You see, I am not just disconnected from my son, I and my husband, are disconnected from two adorable twin grand babies who are 22 months old and will be celebrating their 2nd birthdays this July. We can’t help wondering if they will reconcile before then or will we not be invited to their birthdays. The last time we saw them was on their 1st birthday. I can say, if anyone has advice on how not to allow this to affect you physically, I would greatly appreciate some as I am full of anxiety, heart palpitations and depression over this. I’ve tried to reach out to my son but to no response. He is not mad at us. It is his wife who called the shots and gave him an ultimatum and he has simply bowed out of our lives due to his commitment to her. We have done nothing wrong to warrant this treatment. It is heartbreaking and I haven’t been able to cope very well. I don’t sleep well and its hard to be motivated to do anything or go on. We are still in somewhat shock over it. Please continue to send these messages as they help me to not feel so all alone. I’m embarrassed for anyone to know about it.

    • Hello, Kathy – I’m glad you wrote to me. I’ve been estranged for many more years than you have, so I have been experiencing the ups and downs for longer than you. I, too, have a son who has acquiesced to his wife’s demands to eliminate me from the family. It’s friendly between my son and me (and his father) but he doesn’t contact me very often in deference to his wife. Also, he doesn’t want to incur the wrath that contacting me would create. I have been scapegaated and there’s nothing I can do about it.

      I totally understand how difficult it is on not only on an emotional level, but physically as well. It’s common to have depression, anxiety, fear, hurt, headachees, palpitations,etc. I almost died from a stricture in my small intestines and had to have emergency surgery (this following a very frustrating and hurtful encounter with my son). I’ve had profound depressive episodes. non-stop crying, mental anguish, devastating hurt and more. I came to a point when I decided that enough was enough. I made a decision to not let my son’s presence – or lack of it -in my life determine my happiness and peace of mind. I decided to never let anyone undermine me again. I had to dig deep and find ways to forgive myself and those who have hurt me so deeply.

      (Have you read my book? “Banished: A Grandmother Alone – Surviving ALienation and Estrangement”) I think it will help you if you decide to read it.

      You’re probably experiencing the shock and dismay from events leading up to your estrangement, and you might have some PTSD. I hope you can find someone to talk to (a therapist, priest, minister, rabbi, a wise friend, etc) because it can be very helpful. No-one can bring back your family (at least right now) but you can find a way back to yourself and move forward. It takes courage and mental discipline, but you can do it if you’re dedicated to finding happiness again.

      I remember when all this first started for me. I wanted help, relief, answers. I wanted someone to tell me that this was just a bad dream that would be over soon. But, when that didn’t happen, I had to face the tough reality that my son had forsaken me and as long as he wore the yoke he seemingly agreed with his wife to wear, there was nothing I could do to change that. The only thing in my power to change was myself, my attitude, my perspective and the quality of my life. In other words, I had to learn how to be happy without my son and four grandchildren. Not easy! But it’s the only way.

      I encourage you to find ways to comfort yourself right now. Compartmentalize. Focus on anything other than your son,, his wife, or grandkids. Don’t allow yourself to get into catastrophic thinking and do your best to stay in the moment, one day at a time.

      Keep me posted. I care and I send you blessings.


      • Thankyou so much Nancy for your insight and kind words. I am having trouble getting motivated but I realize doing nothing is detrimental to myself. I thought about looking into volunteering to help take my focus away from my self and placing it on someone who has a greater need than my own. I know I’m not alone in my situation and that brings some level of comfort to me. I do have your book and I started to read it. I need to allow myself the time to do so without feeling like I need to be doing something else. Sometimes taking time for ourselves as women can be guilt-ridden but I know I have to be good to myself because I am the only one who can do that. I failed to mention that my husband is also going through early-Alzheimers and I ‘ve tried to explain to my son that his Dad needs him as the years will be short and his memory will grow dim. My spouse’s situation only adds to the stress of the loss of my son/grandchildren. I am trying to cope with all of this heartache by myself. I have sought out support groups for caregivers so I am planning on going to one soon. My son has completely cut off all contact where before he was speaking to us in her absence. I think she has given him an ultimatum as he will now not respond to voicemails or texts. The sad part of all of this is we have done so much for them, more so then our other kids as the need was greater for them at the time. We paid for their wedding when her Dad bailed out, we have helped them finance several vehicles and we’ve always included them on our private vacations as we know they could not afford to do it on their own. I have always tried to be kind and thoughtful to my daughter-in-law but she has mental issues and believes that I am rude at times to her and over analyzes everything you say, no matter how innocent or helpful. I believe from all the symptoms that she has is that she is suffering from Narcossistic Personality Disorder . Everything I’ve read about it, she fits the bill but most people with this condition rarely seek help as they do not believe they have any problem at all and that it’s always everybody else. She has no contact with her own siblings, always finds fault with everyone and struggles to have any connection to her own mother and father. I feel this is a no win situation. No matter what I would do to appease her, she’ll only find fault with something else. It breaks my heart because I only want to show her love. Perhaps maybe if everyone is out of the picture and there is no one else to blame for her issues, maybe my son will then see what is truly going on and encourage her to seek help. I can only pray at this point that God will bring enlightenment to the situation. Thank you for your support!

        • I understand how you feel. I will also pray for improvement for your situation. You’ve done all you can, so let that give you some peace of mind. You can’t control the behaviors of others, so learning to let go is very helpful and, in the case of alienation and estrangement, absolutely necessary. Keep me posted.

  • Nancy… are the essence of a mother. My heart goes out to you. Just think how our heavenly father must feel about his creation of mankind being estranged from Him after giving life. Yet He still loves mankind. Your love and forgiveness of your son the same! You will certainly be rewarded for being a good and loving mom.

    • You’re so kind, Livia. Thank-you for this loving perspective. My prayer is for healing and love for all concerned. Sending blessings and healing to you.

  • This will be the second Mother’s Day without my daughter. I sometimes wonder why Mothers Day exists. I think it’s a hard day for most mothers not a celebration of mothers. I wish it would go away. My son game home yesterday from college and it reminded me one of me that he appreciates me, loves me unconditionally and what his sister and husband are doing is stupid.

    • Hello, Kim – thanks for your comment. I know what you mean: sometimes I feel like I’m playing the ‘opposite’ game because while many people look forward to holidays, I dread them. My only peace is inbetween all the holidays, when I feel like I can breathe and relax. Like you, I wish Mother’s Day (if not most holidays) would just go away.
      I’m glad you have a son who is supportive and good to you. Enjoy that relationship and focus on people who love and appreciate you!
      Blessings to you.

  • Hi Lora – how kind of you to check in with me. I’m doing well, thank you. I have so much to share and write about that I haven’t yet landed on what I want to say next. I will be posting soon. Thanks!

  • Thank you for sharing your journey. I find that it is similiar in many ways to the estrangement journey with my oldest son. I appreciate your thoughts and applaud your strength.

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