A Motherless Daughter Ponders Dating and Love

At 25, I realize the experience of losing my mother will continue to evolve as time passes. Even if I had spent every waking moment with her until the day she died, I would still be here. I have no mom to talk with about my romantic relationships. She loved giving advice, so I know she would have taken great pride in being my shoulder to cry on and my closest advisor.

I try to find substitutes. My father is a big believer of, “when it’s right you feel it.” His idea is too rose-colored glasses for me. Giving my feelings such free reign would set me up to fail at love every time. Relying on my feelings would seem to hinder my job as a partner, which is to love someone unconditionally, or so I think.

I can’t help but wonder if my exploration would be less chaotic if my mother were around. I know she would help talk me through every problem I faced. Without her, I’m left to come up with my own theories.

At first, I applied what I know about friendship to love. If you look for love, you get none. If you look to give love, you get plenty. Then, three months ago, I found a letter my mother wrote that made me question my theory. She said she put everything aside whenever her family needed something from her without complaining. Then she wrote, “Unfortunately, it was not reciprocal.”

My hurt feelings aside, her comment worried me. I wondered if 25 years from now, I would be saying the same about my husband and children.

As time passed, my perspective revealed hidden secrets behind her sentiment. She rarely, if ever, asked us to make sacrifices for her because she didn’t want to ask that of us. She wanted to be the mother that was always there, the one that the neighborhood kids would never forget.

As a result, she made sacrifices to achieve these goals. And my inbox proves her dedication did not go unnoticed. People email me about MamaQuest.org, my blog to honor her, all the time because she was truly unforgettable.

Now I see that a better explanation of romantic partnership and personal goals lies in the law of attraction. It’s easy to see our lives as a reflection of the things we’ve done and decisions we’ve made. I would argue our lives are a reflection of what we attract.  We are responsible for our devotion to love, not to our ever-evolving feelings. 

What my mother said before was just a feeling. She wanted a loyal, dependable partner and to see her children grow up. Indeed, she did attract those very things into her life.

My mother may have doubted her influence, but it was hard to see that when she was so obviously a powerful life force. Dealing with the loss of my mother’s energy and guidance will undoubtedly lead to confusion as I age and as I fall in and out of love. I can accept that she is not here to be my shoulder to cry on, but I also take great comfort in knowing that I will attract good things into my life by giving love instead of only seeking it from others.

Lauren Muscarella 2010

Lauren Muscarella

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Lauren started the blog Mama Quest (http://mamaquest.org) in May 2010 to share stories of her journey through loss after losing her mother in 2006 at age 20. The blog also serves as an outlet to pass on wisdom she received from her mother, who died of breast cancer at 52. After an overwhelmingly positive response to the blog, she launched Trauma to Art (http://trauma2art.com), a movement to support and facilitate creative expression from those who have experienced loss. Now Lauren works to build the Trauma to Art community while writing a book of creative arts therapy activities for confronting grief as well as preserving the memory of lost loved ones. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys volunteering, traveling, wine tasting, and learning to speak French.

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  • Gloria Horsley says:

    Wow! We have to be careful the letters we leave around. Don’t forget that your mom was also a product of her generation. Life for women has changed a great deal in just the last 20 years. Women use to marry what they wanted to be and then lived through their family. I have been married to the same guy for over 50 years and attraction is where it is at. Your mom passed on many fine qualities that will make you shine. Find a guy who had a mother as special as yours and you will be there. Congrats on your blog to honor your mom.

  • Lauren Muscarella says:

    Thank you for the kind words.

  • JESSICA DE GRACIA says:

    I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL LAUREN. MY MOTHER PAST AWAY SEVEN YEARS AGO. I ACCEPT HER DEATH AND EVERYTHING. BUT LIKE YOU SAID JUST HAVING THAT SHOULDER TO LEAN ON MOM. I HAVE TWO CHILDREN A BOY WHO IS SEVEN AND A GIRL WHO IS ONE. THEY ARE MY PRIDE AND JOY EVEN THOUGH I HAVE THEM IN MY LIFE AND NOW THAT IM GETTING OLDER. I FEE LIKE I NEED MY MOTHER MORE THAN ANYTHING. I TURN 25 ON THANKSGIVING AND HOLIDAYS ARE HARD FOR ME TO CAUSE.WHEN SHE WAS HERE SHE WAS THE ONE WHO HELD EVERY HOLIDAY. GOD BLESS YOU AND BE STRONG. JESSICA DE GRACIA

  • Lauren Muscarella says:

    Hi Jessica, Thank you for your beautiful note and the holiday well wishes.

  • Christie says:

    My mother passed away when I was young and I never got the chance to really know her, a person other than my mother. She is forever perfect because of my lack of memories.
    I love how you are seeing your life as a journey. It is a journey and it is very hard to go it alone but trust in yourself. You’ll get to where you need to go!