it’s all about Margaret

This post is a tribute to my mother, Margaret who died in January, 1970. I update and circulate this post every year on Mother’s Day, although it was first written and posted in 2010, as I reflected on life without her over the 40 years that had passed.

I had had a handwriting analysis and projective personality assessment done that year by Annette Poizner of Toronto, she stressed the importance of the number 40 at the time of her analysis. It was this post written on Jan 23, 2010 on the fascinating subject of graphology that brought Dr. Annette Poizner into my life. She contacted me after finding my blog via a keyword search.

Poizner told me that 40 is an extremely powerful number in our personal development in that we are “ripe” by age 40 and ready to cultivate new skills we may have been pondering for years. We are ready to take on new challenges and forge a new path. She said that it was very significant that I was having certain dreams at the time we crossed paths as they were connected to my mother, who (Poizner believes) had chosen to forge a deeper presence in my conscious life after being absent from my side for the past 40 years. And it was precisely 40 years to the day following my mother’s death that I made the blog post that brought Poizner into my life — on the precise 40th anniversary of the death of Margaret Ann Herneshen.


This picture was taken of my mother (and colourized by my father) sometime around 1940. There goes that number 40 again …

I won’t go into details about the personality analysis, but will tell you that 2010 has indeed been filled with people and images that have reinforced my mother’s presence and importance in my life now more than 40 years since her passing.

remembering my mother

At the family reunion I wrote about in a previous post on this blog, I met a woman named Doreen Musick, who had been a good friend of my mother’s in her younger years.

Meeting Doreen made me wonder whether I have been named after this lovely woman, as she is the only Doreen I have encountered who knew my mother and father. I am pictured with her below.

I then had lunch with Valerie, one of my mother’s cousins whom I had not seen since I was a young child. She contacted me after reading an article I had written in the CAA magazine. Val came to the lunch with an envelope full of pictures of my mother and family from the early years. How enjoyable that was, to go through these pictures and share family memories with someone who knew and loved my mother.

This 40th anniversary of my mother’s passing was enriched with the joy of finding and reconnecting with people who knew and adored her positive nature, love of beauty and nature, infectious laugh, warm embrace and welcoming smile.

As I remember my mother in honour of Mother’s Day and approach the 50th anniversary of her passing, I can only hope that I am half the woman she was, and offer a tribute to all the great mothers of the world.











Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

47 Responses

  1. Christine Peets says:

    This gave me goose bumps, Doreen. It's so wonderful that all of these people have connected with you, and further connected you with your mother. People come into our lives for a reason, and things happen for a reason.
    Thank you for sharing all of these personal things, and the work of others that has enriched your life, and could enrich the lives of others, if they are open to it.

  2. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Christine. You're right. There is so much more available to us than the obvious … if only we open our minds to it.

    I'm glad my post touched you. I love blogging as a medium by which we can share immediate thoughts and get instantaneous feedback from those who care to share their thoughts. I find that so much more rewarding than writing for periodicals, where you often have to wait 6 months or more until your piece is published and then you wonder if it has indeed really touched anyone.

  3. Jay Remer says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your mother, and how it proves the power of synchronicity. This summer has been a very powerful one for me as well. It's so nice to have a kindred spirit with whom to share……..beautifully written! Thank you and many blessings to you.

  4. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much, Jay. Your friendship means much to me.

    You're the second person who has described the impact of this post in terms of synchronicity, (the other was in a private reply to me) so I've now added that as a label for this post.

  5. MAF says:

    Hi Doreen,
    Guess what… my mother died in 1970, Dec. 9th so I am approaching a 40 year mark of my own!
    My mother was 54 when she died after battling cancer for 7 years in the days when chemotherapy did not exist and the doctors treated her with massive bouts of radiation because her breast cancer was inoperable.
    It was like a different world then, and I'm sure you remember, that when you're a young girl, I just turned 21 and you were much younger, it seems so out of synch with everything else in your life.
    My mother in law died at the beginning of this month and I suppose in a way, I was able to bring my 'adult self' to her decline in the last few months, instead of the child I was for my own mother's death. It just made me realize how losing someone as important as your mother at a young age affects you in a profound way.
    I'm sure your mother would be so happy with how you turned out and carry on a part of herself in your life. I am sure that would also be the case with my Mom, but I guess I am always haunted by a sense of a life ended so quickly and how we would have interacted as adults.
    But there is always much to be grateful for, what memories remain and to cherish them everyday.
    Margaret Anne

  6. wizardofwords says:

    Margaret Anne: I always knew we had much in common as kindred spirits and the fact that you share the same name as my mother.

    But your comment above blew me away! The fact that your mother died from the same disease as my mother in the same year is amazing, and that your mother was just one year younger than my mother when she died (my Mom was 55 -which I will be next year!) Wow …

    It will be interesting to see if any unusual connections come your way to mark the 40th year of her passing. Or perhaps this IS one!

  7. ESTEE says:

    I read your blog this week about Aunty Margaret and synchronicity. It is wonderful. Thanks for posting the beautiful photo, too. I don't think I ever saw a picture of her, as we never had pictures of my dad's side of the family. In fact, the only photo I have of my dad is a wedding picture that my mom saved when she fled the farm in 1971 — if I remember right. …I'm glad my mom took the initiative to begin healing the family rift when she used to visit Aunty Florence, after she divorced my dad. I'm also glad that I continue in her footsteps!

  8. wizardofwords says:

    Right on, Esther. Family ties are certainly important. Sometimes we don't realize how much so. Good luck in continuing to build bridges as it's never too late.

  9. Tracey Arial says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom, Doreen. It's particularly inspiring to see how she continues to touch your life so strongly 40 years after her death.

    It's a nice reminder as I try to deal with the recent death of my own mother, Marilyn Violet Arial. She died in mid-June after catching pneumonia from one of her chemotherapy treatments. It was tough to watch such a strong women beaten by illness. (She had been successfully battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma for 13 years when she died at 67.) I'd been struggling with the possibility of her death, especially since she's been sick since Christmas, but I had hoped to spend one more summer with her.

    Yet, since her death, I feel her presence more constantly in my life, like she's standing next to me all the time. What a wonderful gift parents are. They really are a part of us, even after death.

  10. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much for your comment, Tracey. That wicked cancer. It took your mother, mine, Margaret's, and I'm sure loved ones of others reading this post.

    Your mother is likely already on duty as one of your guardian angels. That is why you so strongly feel her presence. I know that is the case with mine.

    Love and best wishes to you as you move forward.

  11. Gordon Graham says:

    What a great heartfelt post, Doreen, and such a positive way to look at life! My own mother died 37 years ago, so I will watch carefully for that 40-year vibration. It's certainly true: our mothers continue to touch our lives long after they are gone from this world.

  12. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for popping in, Gordon, and for sharing your thoughts.

    Do let me know if anything particularly noteworthy/special happens when you reach that 40-year mark, and in the meantime, enjoy the lovely life that you have.

  13. MAF says:

    Hi Doreen,
    Just wanted to share a book suggestion. It's called Motherless Daughter by Hope Edelman. It's a memoir of the author's experiences around losing her mother at a very young age, probably around the time that you lost your Mom. I read it some 20 years ago, nearly 20 years after my own Mom had died, but reading it really made me realize how grief at the loss of someone as pivotal as your mother, affects the way you relate to the world. It's not written to make the reader feel worse, but for me it made me realize that it does have an affect. For example, as a mother I would have loved to hear stories and advice that only my mother could provide from my own childhood days and what behaviors she saw in my son, that she might have been able to relate back to me when I was a youngster.
    The book brought on a lot of tears as I read it, but at the end it lifted some of the burden I felt and made me realize that I belong to a 'club' of grown women who enter their adult years with a unique perspective and in the end to be more gentle with myself.
    Margaret Anne

  14. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for sharing the book suggestion, Margaret. It sounds like a very worthwhile read.

  15. Suzanne says:

    Like Christine this gave me goosebumps too. Your mother was gorgeous, just like you. May memories of your mother remain alive through you and your family.

  16. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Suzanne. I know it hasn't been long since you lost your own mother. May her cherished memory remain strong and forefront with you always.

  17. Happy Mothers Day. Such a wonderful story.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Suzanne, and thanks for returning to this same post 2 years later! I love having your comments here to encourage me. They are much appreciated, as is your friendship.

      Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  18. Catarina says:

    Like your article Doreen.

    There’s more to life than meets the eye. But, for some, reason it seems we are not meant to know exactly how it works. Maybe because if we did we would all sit back and wait for things to happen instead of developing as human beings?
    Catarina recently posted…Is a world without borders possible?My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your thought-provoking comment, Catarina.

      As I just said to another blogger, I guess if things were too easy for us, we wouldn’t be learning the lessons we’ve been destined to learn. So we persevere …

  19. Susan Cooper says:

    What a heart warming story this is. You are well on your way to becoming a legacy to your mother. I know she is looking down form where ever she is saying “That’s my daughter!”.

    As I was reading your post I also understand why the number 40 is indeed a very important number for you. :-), Susan
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Nutella Panini RecipeMy Profile

  20. Anda says:

    What a beautiful post, Doreen! My heart goes out to you for loosing your mother so early in your life. My mother just passed away in January of this year and loosing her to cancer gave me a very different perspective on life.
    Anda recently posted…The Liebster Award: and the Winner is…My Profile

  21. Esther says:

    Hi Doreen, Lovely to see this most loving post again, about your beautiful mother — also my aunt Margaret. Next month is the anniversary of my own mother’s death (June of 2000) and who I still visit on occasion in my dreams. Bittersweet.

  22. Catarina says:

    Beautiful story about your mother. Our parents are always with us no matter how long ago they passed away. The difference is merely that they are now a picture in a frame behind glass.
    Today my father would have turned 93. The first thing I did when I woke up was silently wishing him happy birthday.

  23. Beverly says:

    You have written a beautiful tribute to your mother. Both of your parents would be very proud of you!

  24. Linda says:

    Something tells me, Doreen, that you are a chip off the block, with the hopeful exception that you will and have had a longer presence in this world than your poor mother did. I can imagine how important and affirming it is for you to hear family and friend lore about your mom. Even for those of us who’ve had the good fortune of having a mom around for a lot longer, there is something wonderful about hearing other people’s perceptions and memories about our moms.

    And your mom’s friend, Doreen? That has to be why she picked your name. How cool that you had the opportunity to meet her. And honestly, in that photo of the two of you, it’s uncanny; She could so easily BE your mom. There’s a resemblance there.

    Obviously you are doing the thing in your life that you should be doing. Your blogging has knit together some incredibly important connections for you.

    Thanks for sharing this very personal story.

  25. Judy Lawless says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Doreen. I can only assume that you were very young when she passed away, and it’s so great that you made so many connections with people who knew her and could bring her closer to you through their pictures and stories.

  26. Pat says:

    Loved this article Doreen. Not just for what you wrote but for everything shared by your friends and their memories. I am grateful for God’s blessing having my mom in my life for 47 years. Grateful to have you as my sister for how many years? ❤️

  27. Thank you for sharing your beautiful mother with us Doreen! Fascinating tidbit about the number 40. Hum …

  28. Phoenicia says:

    Thank you for sharing this Doreen. 40 years is a long time to live without your mother. She was a beautiful woman. I am sure you hold onto the memories and look back at old photographs.

    I feel I know more about you now that you have shared a little of your past.

    • Thanks for your comment, Phoenicia. Yes, its actually coming up to 50 years since my mother’s passing in January, 1970. Hard to believe! But, yes, I am very grateful that my father took lots of photographs and that has helped keep the memories alive.

  29. Your mother was lovely–like you, Doreen. I love the connections and synchronicities you describe.

  30. Valerie Stark says:

    Beautiful tribute to your Mom (my cousin Margaret)!

  31. Doreen — such a lovely post. I feel my own life started at 40 because that’s how old I was when I met my husband. We were married 7 months later and my 40’s were among the happiest years of my life. He brought me joy and, while he’s gone now, he’s always in my heart, as your mother is in yours.

  32. Taaza Tadka says:

    I’m sure your mother would be so happy with how you turned out and carry on a part of herself in your life. I am sure that would also be the case with my Mom, but I guess I am always haunted by a sense of a life ended so quickly and how we would have interacted as adults.

    • Thank you for this lovely comment. I am only seeing it now, on the day following what would have been my mother’s 104th birthday had she still been alive. Yes, I think those of us who lost our mothers at a young age really long for the unlived moments we would love to have shared with our mothers. All the best to you.

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