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Published May 08, 2011, 12:00 AM

Bursack: Mothers come in many guises

Dear Readers: Today we celebrate mothers. Many women will be honored with special meals, cards and gifts given by their biological or adopted children, often with the loving help of their adult children’s spouses. Women who are mothers will also be honoring their own mom.

By: Carol Bradley Bursack, INFORUM

Dear Readers: Today we celebrate mothers.

Many women will be honored with special meals, cards and gifts given by their biological or adopted children, often with the loving help of their adult children’s spouses. Women who are mothers will also be honoring their own mom.

Many people will also be celebrating the lives of women who are not their biological mothers, or even the woman who raised them. A special aunt; a grandmother who assumed the role of mother; a neighbor who could take time to listen to a teenager’s woes when the biological mother, for whatever reason, could not can also be considered a mother in the broader sense of the word. Any woman who can offer strength, courage, guidance and love to youngsters needing someone to believe in them is “mothering.”

A woman who I was honored to call a friend died recently. She suffered a great deal, emotionally and physically, yet she absorbed the hard knocks life threw her way and then turned these tough experiences toward helping others. Though she only had three biological children, she will be remembered today as a mother to many people. My hope is that the people this unique woman mothered will pass her love and courage on to others.

This Mother’s Day, please consider if there is a woman other than your own mom who made a difference in your life. She may be old and frail now. She may live in a nursing home. She may have children who live far away. These children may call. They may send flowers and cards. However, they may not be able to visit her in person. If you can, honor her with a visit, even if it’s short.

If you are visiting your own mom in a care facility, look around. Are there women sitting in wheelchairs, alone and seemingly uncomprehending? Take time to give one of these women a hug. Take time to honor her with some conversation, even if it’s one way. It’s likely that she has touched many young lives during her lifetime. You could even pull a flower or two from the bouquet you are bringing your mom. Pin it on the woman’s dress and see what a difference that small gesture will make in her life. As people notice the flower, they will comment. She will get more attention. Perhaps she will feel loved for a time just because you took a little notice of her.

Honor your own mother today, of course. But remember other women who have touched your life, or who may have touched others. These are the mothers of our world.


Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at www.mindingourelders.com. She can be reached at carol@mindingourelders.com.

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