The Secret in Your Mother’s First Name

My Mother, My Friend: The 10 Most Important Things To Talk About With Your Mother by Mary MarcdanteHappy Mother’s Day! Today is one of the most celebrated days of the year in the United States that honors our mothers, yet many of us barely know the rock stars these women are beyond their role of mother in our lives. One way to get to know your mother in a new way is to start saying your mother’s first name (and middle if she has one) out loud to yourself.

“Grace Rose.” Whoa. Who’s that? At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. All it took was my mother’s cancer diagnosis to change that. Don’t wait for a crisis or funeral like I did to learn the secret that your mother’s first name holds.

Being willing to know your mother at a deeper level is an act of courage. Calling her by her first name rather than Mom or Mother or Mama, even if just to yourself, acknowledges that she is more than just your mother. She is not just there to meet your every need. She is a woman in her own right, with hopes and dreams and needs and desires just like you.

Consider asking your mother to try an experiment with you. Ask her if you may call her by her first name a few times to see if it expands your awareness of her as a friend. If she says no, you can still say her first name to yourself when you think of her. What will begin to happen is that as you allow your awareness of her to expand, she may share parts of herself that you have never known about or even thought to ask about. Secrets that hold the key to releasing a painful memory or understanding a confusing part of yourself may surface. If you prepare and welcome her into your heart as you would a close friend, her truth will be a gift of self-discovery for both of you.

Sarah’s mother was in her eighties and in poor health. She experienced her mother as a cranky woman with whom she found it very difficult to talk. One day, in frustration, Sarah yelled her mother’s name, “Olivia!” Startled, her mother began to cry. Overcome with guilt, Sarah called out in a soft, loving voice, “Olivia, Olivia, I love you, Olivia.” From that time on, Sarah recalls that she never looked at her mother the same way. “My mother became a person to me. She was no longer ‘just’ my mother. I realized that she really was separate from me and had a right to her feelings, just as I did, no matter how ill-tempered she was. I was able to love her more fully after that.”

Have you ever called your mother by her first name? What is your mother’s first name (and middle name if she has one) and what has your experience been? Share your thoughts in comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.

Grace Rose

Happy Mother’s Day Grace Rose. You lived your first name. I love you.

Excerpted from “My Mother, My Friend: The 10 Most Important Things To Talk About With Your Mother” by Mary Marcdante.

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Inspired Action: Finding a Way Out of 9/11 Despair

City of Chula Vista 9/11 Memorial 2010

It’s a grey, overcast day here in San Diego today, intensifying the memories of 9/11 that exploded into our lives 11 years ago and the transformative power of inspired action:

My book My Mother, My Friend had just been released a few months prior to 9/11. In the middle of a national speaking and book tour, I just happened to be home between speaking engagements that morning.  I was on my way to the gym at 6:30 am when I heard the news on the car radio. As the day wore on I wondered how people who were directly affected would cope if I felt as scared and confused as I did 3000 miles away.

The human spirit is incredibly resilient. Three days later I received an email from a colleague who shared an open letter to the world from her friend and mother Debby Borza, who lost her daughter Deora Bodley on United Flight 93.

In honor of 9/11 mothers and families, and all who lost their lives, below is an excerpt from that letter. A link to the entire letter is at the end of this post.

My daughter made a difference everywhere she went. Let this then be our call: To live our lives in such a way that makes the biggest difference possible in the lives or our fellow man, with no one left out. No one! Let her light shine brightly for all people for all time!” ~ Debby Borza

Finding a way out of despair can be one of the most challenging things we ever face in our lives. Debby is such an inspiring example of transforming tremendous loss into love in action that can lead people through the darkest of times into a new normal that opens the door to a deeper appreciation and expression of giving and receiving love.

Expressing your love enthusiastically through your presence — your smile, your eyes, your hugs, your words, and actions — is one of the greatest gifts you give another. Stretch yourself in the next 24 hours and take the time to show your love a little more enthusiastically than normal to someone else. They may need it more than you know. You might too.

Read the original letter and 9/11 10th anniversary post at “When Lives Change in an Instant.”


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Mom, You’re the Real Hero in the Family. Happy Mother’s Day.

“Life is short, life is precious. Don’t wait, do it now.”
~ Mom

My mother showed me in words and actions that the greatest gifts we give each other are our presence and appreciation. Here’s a story from my book, My Mother, My Friend to help keep that in mind and celebrate Mother’s Day.

Mom, You’re the Real Hero In The Family

Last Photo with Mom

The phone rang at 2:40 a.m. I heard Jeanne’s voice, “Mary? Mom’s free now. She just took her last breath.”

“I’ll be right there,” I said.

The ten-minute ride to the house was filled with thoughts of regret, guilt and sadness. I was exhausted and had left the house at ten o’clock, kissing my mother good-bye and saying, “I love you.” I thought I felt her squeeze my hand ever so lightly.

Why didn’t I stay? I was glad that Eileen and Jeanne were there with her but I wanted to be there too when she left her body. I’ve always felt strongly about not wanting to die alone and wanting someone I love to be holding my hand when I die. I wanted that experience with her and yet, I never asked her what she wanted.

The house was lit up when I got there. Mom was still warm, but beginning to cool. Her skin was this odd shade of cream with a glow that still shines in my mind’s eye. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and wondered if her spirit was hovering about. Continue reading

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