Brand building through storytelling

Readers honour their mothers with a bouquet of memories

My mother taught me to love the stories at the heart of every life. Now that she’s no longer around to meet me for a Mother’s Day lunch, her stand-in is the stories we lived together. It’s partly in tribute to her that I’ve created a forum on this website, the mother/daughter gallery, where readers can post defining memories of the women who formed them and the girls they are guiding into adulthood. If you haven’t toured the gallery, what better time than Mother’s Day? Here’s a preview of the feisty, unforgettable and sometimes maddeningly complicated woman-makers you’ll meet:

Dorothy, who could pluck a chicken, ride a horse bareback and saw a cast off her own arm, but never did learn to drive a car and destroyed a picket fence in her one attempt to learn.

Amelia, who as a young mother was angry, narcissistic and bitter but has softened with her descent into Alzheimer’s and is now a charmer whose wit delights her formerly resentful daughter.

Patricia, who defied the conventional wisdom that a child with Down syndrome should be sent to an institution.and championed the talents of both her girls.

Joy, who made her kids put a nickel in the charity box every time they said, “Shut up” and in the process taught them to enjoy supporting worthy causes.

Lisa, a proud adoptee who has herself adopted a child and considers herself lucky to have met her daughter’s birth mother.

Rakieh, felled by a heart attack at 55, whose daughter looks for her every day “in the hazel eyes of the woman beside me on the subway. In the auburn hair of the lady dining at the restaurant table adjacent to mine. In the lightly wrinkled hands of the grocery clerk as she hands me my change.”

Betty, who was so intent on raising courageous children that ther she didn’t admit to her fear of heights until she’d already led the family up the tower at Niagara Falls.

Some contributions to the gallery come from seasoned writers who crafted every word. Others come from women who had just made the wrenching decision to take a dying mother off life support. They don’t think of themselves as storytellers, but this story sat down in their path and demanded to be told. No matter how it came to be, I savour each one of these stories. I hope the next will be yours.

Click here to read my most popular Chatelaine editorial, “When your mother dies.” 

Posted by Rona

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