Motherless Day

“So what are you doing for Mother’s Day?” asked the perky medical assistant taking my vitals.

“Nothing,” I said.


“Well, if my mom hasn’t passed away, she’d be in Thailand so that’s kind of hard. Besides, Thai Mother’s Day is in August, so…”

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.”

“That’s okay.”

It still feels a little funny telling some strangers that my mom has passed on. A lot of “where are your parents?” question when people find out I wasn’t from here. I usually go with “My dad and brothers are in Thailand still” and hope that THAT would be enough clue for people. But most people followed with, “What about your mom?”

She’s dead.

Oh my god. I’m so sorry.

No, no. That’s okay. Really, I have nothing else better to do than trying to make you feel better about a line you’ve just crossed. Seriously. It’s my fault for not having a living mother you can asked about. And it’s my fault for not telling you straight off.

Hi, I’m Oakley. I’m from Thailand. My husband’s white. My mom’s dead.

There. Is that better? Great.

It’s been over a year and I’m still not comfortable saying it out loud to people.

Does anyone ever get used to saying it?  Could one?


  1. Penny Palanca   •  

    I think that it gets easier with time, but will be something that you never get use to or forget. My husband’s mother passed away almost 6 years age and he still has trouble. He tries to concentrate on it being for me, but… Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you.

  2. erin   •  

    it’s not that i don’t mind saying “my mom died” as much as the words aren’t quite so effecting this many years later. you’ll learn to give the rote response and it won’t bother you when they apologize for bringing it up. my favorite comeback usually makes people uncomfortable but they eventually laugh a little. it sounds like this…

    them: blah blah blah your mom?

    me: oh, no she passed away.

    them: oh, jeez. i’m so sorry.

    me: it’s ok. you didn’t give her the cancer. did you? well, did you???

    laugh often, oakmonster. it keeps the tears at bay.

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