Trials and Tribulations of a Motherless Mother


Motherless mother mother and daughter at Disney

For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mother. I look back on that all too familiar question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The job I wanted when I grew up changed frequently but the one thing that stayed consistent was that I longed to be a mom. We tried for our son for a couple of years and were finally blessed with him in September of 2016. Seven years too late for my biggest fan to meet her first grandchild. Thus began my life as a motherless mother.

My mom fought breast cancer tirelessly for 5 years.

She was taken from us in 2009. I was 22. So many important events in my life and the lives of my brother and sister were done without the person who was the most important. Aunts and cousins were there to see me graduate from college. And a single white rose took her place in the front pew at my wedding. But unfortunately nothing, or no one, could take her place in my son’s life.

He’ll only ever know her from stories I’ve told him.

He’ll only ever know her face from pictures in albums. He won’t get the absolute joy of feeling her warm embrace or the love and kindness she had for everyone around her. He won’t get to experience her sweet spirit, or the positivity and encouragement that she bestowed genuinely and whole-heartedly on everyone she knew. Inside and out, she was radiant.

She was so proud of her three kids, she loved to hear me sing. One of my favorite memories is her sitting on the foot of my bed asking me to sing for her, when in just a few hours she would proudly sit in the audience for the third night in a row to hear me sing in our church Christmas play. I’m devastated and heartbroken that my son won’t have his very own sweet memories of her to make his heart happy on sad days.

I finally understand her.

Raising my son without my own mom in my life has been one of the most gut wrenching experiences of my life. Always wishing I could pick up the phone and call her with all my questions. Wish I could tell her that I get it now. I understand her now. That I know now how intensely she loved me. I never got the chance while she was alive to understand that motherly love. What I wouldn’t give to have one chat with her about my son, and about motherhood.

Every decision I make as a person, and now as a parent, has her in mind. I like to try and live my life to honor her. My son’s life would have been so enriched with her in it, but my memories, stories, and lessons passed down will have to do.

The thoughts of leaving us behind plagued her mind.

She had time during her fight with cancer to think about the things that were most important to her. And she had time to write us letters reminding us she would always be in our hearts. I know how badly she wanted to be around to meet her grand kids because she told me. She knew she might not ever get to hear a sweet little voice call her grandma.

These are the things that now plague my mind. What would she say? How would she think of me as a mother? What would she think about this amazing little boy I get to call my son? My life as a mother is amazing. I cherish my son and am so thankful for him every single day. Although I wish she was around to be a part of my all important village. This child would have adored her with all his heart. And part of me has this guilty feeling knowing he will never get to meet her.

They say time heals all wounds.

But nine years have passed and the wounds are still there. Seeming to always reopen. Learning to live this life of a motherless mother hits hard on certain days. And other days all I can do is be incredibly thankful for the loving, and fulfilling childhood I experienced because of my amazing parents. Because of my mom I am the mother that I am. So, although I don’t have a mother I can pick up the phone and talk to, I have all these memories, life lessons, and morals to raise my son on. Those that only a mother could give.

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Katie is a military spouse originally from Florida, and has been back on the Gulf Coast since 2017. She received her bachelor’s degree at Troy University before meeting her husband and moving to the Midwest. She became a mother in 2016 to her son Ben and is the bonus mom of 15-year-old Donny. She made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom when her son was 8 months old, and they got orders to move back down to the coast. Her days consist of play groups, arts & crafts, and playing outdoors. In her spare time she enjoys getting pedicures, binge-watching her favorite shows, going on walks, reading, and trying out new local restaurants. Katie looks forward to exploring her new city and surrounding areas, meeting other moms, and finding fun, family-friendly events to enjoy with her family.


  1. I love this piece so much. My mother is still here but my grandmother was SUCH a huge part of my life…she was the lifeblood of our family and I miss her so much. That longing for her increased once I had my daughter…my beautiful little girl who looks and acts just like the granny she’ll never meet. She’ll only get to hear about this wonderfully amazing woman at family gatherings and stories from me and her GeGe. It’s been 3 years but it feels like a lifetime since she’s been gone. May both of our angels rest in love.

    • They’ll live on through our stories, there will just always be something missing. I keep reminding myself how important the stories are.

  2. I was also a motherless mom and a military spouse! My mom battled pulmonary fibrosis for thirteen years. She passed days before my brother’s sixteenth birthday and was buried on his birthday. She never knew my husband or her three grandchildren. Being military separated us from family. Money was tight and we couldn’t afford trips home to visit. We were very much alone here!

    • Judy,
      I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Mine also never got to meet my husband, there are always those events that we wish they were there for… no matter how much time passes.

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