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Things I Should Have Told My Mother While She Was Alive

Updated on June 30, 2014

Things Left Unsaid

The bitterest tears shed over graves are words left unsaid and deeds left undone. ~~Harriet Beecher Stowe

My mother passed away September 18, 2011 at the age of seventy-five. Our relationship was far from perfect, but I loved her and she loved me. Since losing her, I have realized all of the things I wish I had said to her while she was still alive. Some of these may seem silly, but they are important to me nonetheless.

If you're reading this, and your Mom is still alive, I hope you take it as a little push from me to you. Go tell her all the things that need to be said.

"Thank You"

Children never thank their parents enough for everything done for them. I know that my Mom didn't expect a thank you, but I have some specific ones that I wish I had said to her.

  1. "Thank you for loving Dad."
  2. "Thank you for forcing us children to hold back our shoulders and never slouch."
  3. "Thank you for always knowing when I was cold at night and needed an extra blanket."
  4. "Thank you for telling me stories about your life."
  5. "Thank you for talking to me about the 'birds and the bees' and for always letting me ask you about anything I was curious about - no matter how embarrassing the topic."
  6. "Thank you for making me laugh."

"I'm Sorry."

Regrets are ugly monsters that rear their hideous heads when you least expect it. Since Mom's passing, there are things that I've remembered for which I should have apologized. I'll never get the chance.

  1. "I'm sorry for being so impatient with you."
  2. "I'm sorry for all the times I rushed a phone conversation with you. I should have been a better listener."
  3. "I'm sorry for my teenage years and for keeping you awake at night with worry."
  4. "I'm sorry that you thought I loved Dad more than you. I should have done more to prove otherwise."
  5. "I'm sorry we argued so much, when I was planning my wedding."
  6. "I'm sorry we clashed over things that really didn't matter."

"You Are Beautiful."

I don't think I ever said those three words to my mom. She was a very pretty lady. People told her she was beautiful her whole life. Maybe that's why I didn't say anything about her beauty. I didn't think she needed to hear it from me too.

I should have told her how stunning I thought she was, and how I wish I looked like her.

"You're Strength Amazes Me."

My mom should have heard this from everyone around her. She had a rough start in life, and yet was the strongest woman I knew.

Mom was a very sickly child. Most of her frailty came from being malnourished. Mom was raised in coal mining camps throughout Appalachia. She spent her childhood cold, hungry, and in tattered clothes. At the age of six, Mom was sexually abused. She was later sent to live with another family for a year and work as their maid - at the age of eight.

Many other things happened in Mom's life that should have caused her to give up or, at the very least, stop trying. Mom always held her head high and never seemed to let things get to her.

I should have told her how awestruck I was by her.

"You Are An Amazing Cook."

Mom never followed a recipe. In her words, she "improvised". A little of this, a pinch of that, a smidgeon of something else....and something completely delicious would be the result.

I wish I would have told her how much I loved her cooking, and I wish I would have paid more attention to her methods. I'm sure my husband and children wish that too.

"I Wish I Was More Like You."

When my mother was alive, the thought of saying this to her would've made me cringe. Like I said earlier, we didn't have a great relationship. Like many mother-daughter relationships, ours was tempestuous at times. Telling my mother that I wanted to be more like her would never have crossed my mind.

Now that she's gone, I realize how much of her I admired. She was a Certified Nursing Assistant and took care of sick, elderly people in their homes. She also cared for several relatives(some she barely knew), because they had no one. It seemed like she was always moving someone else into our house, so she could care for them.

Mom also trusted everyone until proven otherwise. She gave everyone a chance, no matter what she'd been told about them. My siblings and I would scold her for trusting "untrustworthy" people, but she never changed.

Her level of compassion and trust for people was immeasurable. What a wonderful world it would be, if more people were like her.

No Second Chances

I'll never be able to say these things to my Mom. If your Mom is still alive, this is your chance. It doesn't have to be mushy. It doesn't have to be sugary sweet. Just tell her the things you think she should hear. You may not get another chance.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This was beautiful. My mother passed away a year ago. I agree with what you said in this hub, though my parents split when I was little. I'm now closer to my dad these days. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Jayhawk 3 years ago

      I lillearty jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!

    • basicallyme profile image

      Vicki 3 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you K. I'm sure you've been told this a million times, but I'm going to say it again. Please don't beat yourself up. You were only a child. Embrace the eleven years you had with your mother. Don't dwell on one argument. Again - you were only a child. By the way - I was 11 years-old in 1978 too. :)

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      You're words brought tears to my eyes. My mother passed in 1978, when I was eleven, and the last conversation that we had was an argument about whether what I was wearing was appropriate for an eleven year old. The next day she went into the hospital, the day after that she had surgery, went into ICU for three weeks, (eleven year olds were/are not allowed in ICU), and I didn't see her again until the day before she died, at which time she couldn't speak. I have lived with those very careless last words for a very long time, and they continue to be the biggest regret of my life. It did teach me though, it taught me, even at that young age, to be more careful with how and what I say to those that I love. I don't leave things left unsaid, and I tell those I love that I love them, every day, because you never know if today is the last. Good advice for everyone. Voted up, useful, and beautiful.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My dear mother is now gone and I am so glad that we had the relationship that we did. She was my best friend in addition to being a great mother. This warm and thoughtful article will serve as a wonderful reminder to everyone who reads it to take the time to tell loved ones what they mean to us while still alive. Up, useful and beautiful votes.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      Your thoughts for your mother are beautiful - luckily mine is still alive and I can tell her. I'm sure your mother knew how much you loved and appreciated her. Thank you for sharing and reminding us to say the right things when we can.