^^^ The Mourning Mother sits opposite the Mourning Father at the Vimy Memorial in North West France
Today is Mother's Day - a day to honour and embrace those who do the mothering in our lives.
On tour, we are constantly reminded of the overwhelming love a mother shares, as well as the overwhelming trials and tribulations it takes to do so.
In the Gradara Canadian War Cemetery in Italy, a mother wrote on her son's epitaph: "God be with you, till we meet again - Mother." This last message from a mother to her son will stay with me always. John Crowley was only 18 years old when he died in September 1944.
I'm reminded again of another mother, an American woman, Florence Haney, who carefully scrapbooked her son's life, following his journey faithfully, cutting and pasting newspaper clippings, photos, letters, and cherishing little souvenirs that came with his letters. The scrapbook includes pictures of Manning as a little boy, growing up. She includes a poem she had written to him entitled "A Thousand Times A Day", sharing that she was thinking of him and wishing him well, a thousand times a day.
The scrapbook is so delicately and lovingly put together - but the last page comes too soon - the letter notifying her of her son's death, in Holland. October 9th, 1944.
Today I am thinking of Florence and all of the other women like her. I am sending a deep, strong, virtual hug to all of those women, past and present. We are thinking of you, we are honouring you, and we are so grateful to have you in our lives. It is their powerful love that keeps us going (exhibit a: my mom, the unwavering Susan Corso!!!).
Here's a beautiful video (sponsored by Ancestry.ca) with our friends David O'Keefe, Wayne Abbot, and Jory Brentjens, at the Groesbeek Freedom Museum, who have reunited the scrapbook with the Haney family.
Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers, mother figures, those doing the mothering.
And, mom, if you are reading this, I love you!