A Mother’s Message of Love

May 4, 2011 by

A Mother’s Message of Love

Sunday is Mother’s Day.

My mother passed away fourteen years ago, in September of 1996. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about eighteen months before. After surgery and treatment, she went into remission for over a year. In that time that she was in remission, I became pregnant with our first child. Her first grandchild.

Lauren Rosenfeld with her mother's diaryWhen our daughter Mira was born, my mother was there for me. Vibrant, joyful, and celebrating this miracle we shared together. When I returned home from the hospital, exhausted and anxious about my ability to care for this new and fragile life, my mom was already in our apartment, making us lunch, ready to hold the baby, stroke my hair, and let me know that love was all I needed to be a mother — and because I had infinite supplies of love, I would be a great mother.

Two weeks later, she became ill again. And when Mira was ten weeks old, my mother passed away. She and I never got to celebrate a Mother’s Day together as moms.

When my mother passed away, my father gave me her teenage diary: a worn, green leather-bound book, with fragile, gilt-edged pages. The contents are fairly mundane: reports of spelling test scores, movies seen, and complaints about siblings and boredom. On the inside cover, though, is the most amazing entry. It is not by my mother, though. It is a note from her mother. My grandmother. It is written at 12:01 a.m., just a minute past midnight, on my mother’s 13th birthday.

This is what it says:

Ruthie dear:

Today is your thirteenth birthday and I felt I must enter your private sanctuary to tell you how really glad I am that you are my daughter.

Yes, I get angry with you for little things and correct you – but that’s part of making a “woman” out of you. I am confident that you will grow up to be the fine person that I know you must be, for you have every qualification for a young lady that parents might well be proud of.

You are kind, thoughtful, & sympathetic, eager to help people and lovable to all of us – and we love you for these qualities.

Honey, instead of a silly card that says “Happy Birthday” I’ll write it in my own way – I know dear, that your dad and brothers and sister feel as I do so I’ll say Good Luck, Honey. Stick together with your family always.


On the same day, my mother wrote these words in her diary:

Happy Birthday to me – my 13th birthday – that’s the writing in the front (of the diary) – and (when I saw it) me, like a little kid, starts to cry.

I share in my mother’s tears whenever I read my grandmother’s words. The love she conveys is so simple and yet so profound. A love that sees the past, present, and future of her child — proudly, fearlessly, and joyfully embracing it all.

The green diary my mother kept was not her last. She kept a daily diary until the day before she went into the hospital for the last time. In her very last entry, she speaks of her personal pain, not just her physical pain but her emotional pain as well, knowing that she was not long for this world. Her last written words though, were about her two month old grandbaby, and how grateful she was for the opportunity to hold her before she died; and how her pain disappeared whenever she held this tiny miracle. These were my mother’s last written words:

That baby is like medicine to me.

My mother and my grandmother are both gone now. But I carry them wherever I go. I carry their love in my heart today and every day. I pass it on to my four children. And they will carry it on and pass it to their children.

Our mothers may pass from this world, but the love we share with them is undying. Eternal. It’s like good medicine that restores our hearts and souls.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.


Lauren Rosenfeld is the co-author of “Your To Be List”

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  1. Beautiful story..sniff..sniff..

  2. This was a very nice story to read, Brooke. Thank you.

  3. Susan: I thought you were leaving on your cruise today – what are you doing at home?!?!?!?!

  4. The power of us sharing the experiences of our lives lies simply in that, the simple loving act of sharing the experiences of our lives… for we offer each other so much when our offer is of ourselves….

  5. David Traub via Facebook

    I love you Sue.

  6. Absolutely, my wise friend, absolutely…… ♡

  7. David Traub via Facebook

    What tumbles through my mind is how a simple act of love can be a brilliant dowry to carry you through life to be passed down, more precious than gold.

  8. Sounds like that’s arranged!!! : D

  9. Judith L. Goldfarb via Facebook

    would you like to see the finished product?

  10. Jude!!!!! what a wonderful story…..a story PG you will all be able to tell for years to come……these stories are what we are made of.

  11. Judith L. Goldfarb via Facebook

    A beautiful story. Here’s mine. When my grandmother came to this country as a young mother (four out of her five children were born in Poland. My mother was the only one of her siblings born here), one of the few things she brought with her were her Shabbat candle sticks, which belonged to her mother, who gave them to my grandmother, as a wedding gift. She would light them every Friday night, until she gave them to my mother, her only daughter, on my mother’s wedding day.

    My parents had two daughters, but my sister isn’t culturally Jewish and I am; so on my wedding day, I got them from my mother. I lit them for many years, but now, they were collecting dust, decorating the top of my book case. It was time to pass them on.
    I have no daughters, and four nieces. The one I’m closest to – my sister’s daughter – isn’t Jewish, so that left her out. Now, I was in a quandry. My oldest brother’s girls, Bonnie, Cindy; my other brother’s daughter, Lizzie… Who will get these precious family heirlooms? Bonnie, Cindy, Lizzie… Bonnie, Cindy, Lizzie… BonnieCindyLizzie…

    Then came the horrible news. My brother’s beloved wife of 42 years… stage 4 ovarian cancer. We were shattered. My brother, Janie, his wife, and their girls, Bonnie and Cindy, and the rest of the family, spent the next year praying for a miracle. During this time, my brother’s youngest daughter, Cindy, had a baby girl. If any family needed a reason to be happy, it was them. They had a big party to celebrate the birth of this precious child.

    While we were at this poignant gathering, my brother told me that my oldest niece, Bonnie, had begun to light candles and make Shabbat dinner every Friday. Finally, I had my answer! Bonnie would get the candle sticks! And she’d still be able to light them with her mother every Friday, for months to come. We wrapped up these precious items, to be shipped to a fifth generation of women in our family. It was perfect. She was the oldest girl in the generation after mine, and she had the oldest girl in the following generation; my great-niece, Amanda. The candle sticks had a good home, and a good future home. And just as a post script, on the very day Bonnie received the candle sticks in the mail, her son, Josh, came home from Hebrew school with the following assignment: write about something that’s been passed down in your family from generation to generation.

    From my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, to me, to Bonnie, and in years to come, Amanda, and then her daughter… these candle sticks connect the generations of women in our family.

  12. What a lovely story. It must be nice to come from such a family that is filled with so much love.