Saturday, 30 July 2011

Q & A with Hope Edelman

When I first launched my blog I sent the link to the lady who inspired me to create it - Hope Edelman. I wanted to thank her for writing the book "Motherless Daughters, the legacy of loss". Not for one minute did I think she would respond but she did!! She not only responded but offered to complete a short Q&A for me. Hope, THANK YOU! Here are the questions and Hope's answers.

Question #1: How old were you when you lost your mother?

My mother died a few weeks after my seventeenth birthday, in the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. She'd been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 16 months earlier, when I was 15, but was active and involved with the family for most of that time.

Question #2: What is your greatest memory of your mother?

Ooh, that's a hard one. There are so many good ones. I'd have to say the very best was one of the simplest, just sitting around the kitchen table yakking with her or her and her friends. We lived in a very close neighborhood and the women and their kids would be over at our house all the time. It was like a nonstop cafe in our kitchen and I learned a lot about being a woman just from sitting with them and listening.

Question #3: How do you celebrate / honor your mother on special occasions, i.e. the anniversary of her death, birthday etc...?

It's been thirty years now (this month) since my mother died and over the years, especially as I've become a mother myself, I've transitioned from commemorating the event itself to acknowledging her influence on those days. I always tell my daughters and husband when it's the anniversary of her death or her birthday and try to share a story with them on those days that helps her feel real to them. Keeping her memory alive feels like the best way to honor her at this point. I also make sure to call my brother and sister every year on the anniversary of her death to see how they're doing that day and offer support. We usually wind up sharing stories about how we've felt her presence over the past year.

Question #4: When & why did you decide to write the book "motherless daughters"?

Soon after my mother died I realized there weren't any books for women who'd lost mothers during childhood. For the next ten years all of the books I found about mother loss assumed the woman would be an adult when the loss occurred. From time to time I would meet a woman like myself who lost a mother when she was still school-aged and noticed we shared a lot of characteristics as adults, such as fierce independence and self-reliance and the fear of losing someone else we loved. In 1991 I was in a graduate writing program and a professor there encouraged me to write the book myself. That's how it got started, and the first edition was published in 1994, followed by Letters from Motherless Daughters in 1995, and Motherless Mothers in 2006 after my daughters were born. It's been a true blessing to have been able to write these books and help so many readers. There's no better way to express it.

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