“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” That’s what my mom always said.

I’d holler back, “Well, one right and one wrong don’t make a right either, MMMommm.”

Whenever she said that, I had no idea what she was talking about. I took it as a sign of weakness like she was advocating I be a doormat. I was sensitive to the idea that woman are nurturing pushovers, only.

We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that women are people pleasers. We see articles saying women use the word “just” more than men, and that we apologize when someone bumps into us, again, more than men. This anecdotal research perpetuate the idea over and over that women still have some fine tuning to do. This fodder creates more of the same problem it seeks to solve. And it’s exactly the type of fodder I would love to debate with my mom.

This year I turned 30. That means a lot of different things. I’m about the age my mom was when I was born. It’s hard to believe she delivered her third child days before turning 31, while I get queasy over the idea of signing a lease that isn’t month-to-month.

Being 30 also means she hasn’t been alive for almost a decade. I say that with a dryness like she married a guy during her study abroad semester and I’m simply waiting for her rebellious phase to end. I want her to divorce the beautiful Spaniard she met and come home.

I want to sit and talk with her about the world. I want to have conversations about marriage and friendship and the upcoming presidential election.

Walking to work today I had the strangest of thoughts: “Isn’t my mom done being dead yet?”

I miss my mom dearly. I don’t really feel that I am grieving her death anymore. I’m grieving the grieving. Those emotions were at least raw. I felt closer and more connected because of the fact that I was more of a mess. I had struggles. I learned life lessons. I found ways to honor and remember her. Despite all that progress I still want her to come back. Usually at the end of a long arduous journey, at least you have a shot of getting what you want.

Now, instead, I find myself doing the one thing I wrote an entire book chastising: misdirecting grief. I am upset that my mother is not around and that affects my life in little ways that aren’t obvious. I can’t call her when someone has hurt my feelings to receive the nurturing brand of tough love only she can dole out.

All I’m left with are these little breadcrumbs of past conversations when I was a know-it-all teenager. I have to draw my own conclusions, which is a lot more work, might I add.

Ok, here’s my best attempt. Maybe when Mom said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she meant was that women aren’t people pleasers, they are peacemakers. Women, or just good people in general, know being right about something doesn’t reap many rewards. Treating someone badly to retaliate won’t bring about the desired result, and you won’t feel any better. You’ll be lowered down to their level. Perhaps she wanted me to know that it’s better to let things go than to take on a war so we save our strength and energy for nobler causes.

Since she implied all that with six words, I’m sure you can see why I would want her back home.


Lauren Muscarella

Lauren started the blog Mama Quest 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 the 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, 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.

More Articles Written by Lauren