Transitions With Jean Blog

Moms: the greatest gift

Jul 7, 2024

Last month, I lost my mom. After talking to many friends, I find that I’m not alone. Their usual response is something like, “I lost my mom X years ago.” And silence. We all have a hole in our hearts. It is like I joined a secret club that no one wants to be a member of: Orphans.

Now, that is the last time I will ever use that word. It has such a sad sound to it. If I use that word, it becomes all about me. Nope. Not my style. Mom deserves more than that from me. So, yes, I will be sad for me, but I am relieved for Mom. She needed peace.

Instead, I will celebrate life. The gift.

My message today is for all of you who have lost your mom. Your experiences will be different from mine, but we share a very special gift called Mom.

In our first decade: Mom held us close when we scraped our knee, and she kissed it to make it better. She showed us the joy of giving by putting our handful of dandelions into a vase for everyone to see. She taught us the simple pleasure of an autumn afternoon at High Cliff StatePark.

Mom took us to school on our first day of kindergarten – then she pushed us forward, let us go, and said “You can do this.”

She taught us respect for others – “Never say ‘I hate you’ to your sister. Get along with your brothers and sisters – they are yours for life.”

In our teens: Mom knew we were moody and said mean things. She knew about zits. She also knew that we tested barriers and were rebellious. She kept loving us.

She smiled when we met our first love, knowing that it probably wouldn’t be the only time that would happen. She was there to support us after a bad breakup.

Mom made us get a job, so we learned the value of earning our own money. Then she made us contribute to the household. We argued that it wasn’t fair that we pay rent. Then when we moved out, we discovered she had taught us how to manage money.

In our twenties: Mom celebrated when we found our one-and-only. She planned our wedding, then soon started asking when we would be having babies. She joyfully held her grandchild with such pride.

In our thirties and forties: Mom was our biggest cheerleader. Honestly, she was the only person who wanted to hear about our successes without thinking we were bragging. Nobody celebrated us like Mom.

In our fifties: Mom was getting older and needed more help. She wanted to stay independent but was so grateful when we gave her a hand. She might even have started a chore-list for our visits – while never wanting to be a bother.

In my sixties: Now my mom is gone. I must figure out life on my own. I can do it because I still hear her. She is in my being. She is indeed the greatest gift I have ever received.

Jean Long Manteufel writes a column each month about life changes associated with aging. Send your
questions to or call 920-734-3260.