it’s all about Margaret

Mother’s Day is upon us. If you can be with your mother, give her a big hug. If you can’t be with her due to distance or some other reason, get in touch with her by phone or via a visual call if you can. And if your mother has passed, hug her spiritually. I believe that most of us never stop loving our mothers and that they never stop loving us. If that is not the same for you, I am sorry. But please help me in celebrating the wonders of motherhood with a salute to my and every mother who has graced this earth.

honouring our heritage

This post was first written and posted in 2010, as I reflected on life without my mother over the (then) 40 years since her passing. My mother, Margaret, died in January, 1970, from cancer. I update and circulate this post every so often to honour Mother’s Day (which this year falls on May 14th) and hope you’ll join me in saluting the spirit of motherhood.

Back in 2010, I’d had a handwriting analysis and projective personality assessment done 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. (Blogging has opened so many amazing doors for me on both a personal and professional basis.)

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 physically 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 sometime around 1940 (and colourized by my father.) I recently learned that the name Margaret, actually means “Pearl” in its origins, and only noticed today that she is wearing a multi-string necklace of small pearls in the photo. Synchronicity or symbolism?

I won’t go into details about the personality analysis I received back in 2010, but can say that it was indeed a year filled with people and images that have reinforced my mother’s presence and importance in my life–now more than 53 years since her passing. We never stop missing our mothers. and we should never forget where we come from.

remembering my mother

At the family reunion I wrote about in this post, 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 had 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. (Doreen passed on in 2021.)

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.

That 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 reflect back on 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 who have made an impact on those they love.


This photo of me and my mother was taken at Clear Lake, Manitoba, likely in the area of 1960.











Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

78 Responses

  1. Mary says:

    What a beautiful Mother’s Day reflection! Thank you for sharing it. Love the photo of you and your mother.
    My mother passed away 2 years ago during the pandemic. I have so appreciated long phone conversations with her sister these past 2 years. I feel it’s a connection to my mom. I look forward to seeing my aunt in September.

  2. Kim Lawrence says:

    That was a beautiful message about your mom. I hope everyone gets to celebrate this special day with their mom’s. Make sure you shower her with love and affection. ❤️

  3. Christine Smith says:

    Such a poignant memory, Doreen. My heart is with you. On this Mother’s Day, I am reminded of my childhood and living through WW11 where all the mothers were left alone to cope and did so so bravely. I feel so fortunate to be a mother myself and to have three beautiful, kind persons in my life who have given me constant joy.

    • Thx so much for sharing your own thoughts on motherhood, Christine. I truly admire the wonderful relationship you have with your children. It is such a such and supportive bond that unfortunately, not all parents get to experience. ❤️

  4. Kathe Lieber says:

    Oh, Doreen, yes! I wish I’d had the chance to really know my mother, who died of cancer when she was 35 and I was 9. I miss her, but I don’t have many memories. On the other hand, I’ve sought out mother figures all my life. I’ve been so lucky to know so many mother figures and make so many memories.

    • Thx so much for your comment, Kathe. I forgot that you were only 9 when your mother passed. She would be very proud of the loving mother you have become. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  5. A lovely personal post Doreen one of love and discovery. This a gentle reminder to cherish time with our mothers. She would be incredibly proud of your life journey.

    • Thx so much. Sherry. Thx for stopping by. I know the subject of motherhood is important to you in relation to your relationship with your own daughter and your mother. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  6. Cher Bigelow says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I have never met my biological mother, and I often wonder if she ever thinks about me. I choose to believe that she does. I am lucky my adoptive mom, chose me 45 yrs ago and am grateful to still have her in my life, and my sons life. Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. I hadn’t read this post before Doreen. It’s beautiful. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to lose your mother at such a young age. But typically Doreen, you focus on the positive and how lucky you are to have so many cherished memories of your mom through other people who knew her. That special 40 is amazing and I’m so glad to hear how it played out. Thank you for sharing these very intimate memories. Your mother was absolutely beautiful, just like you.

  8. Frances Petrowski says:

    What a heartwarming post Doreen. I see all of your mom’s attributes in you, especially your positive nature and welcoming smile! It’s so awesome you got to meet with her Doreen to share stories of old. That’s what I find I am in search now more than ever – stories from my parent’s past. Furthermore to receive pictures from your cousin, Valerie – what a blessing! I love pictures!
    I was very blessed to have my mom in my life until she was almost 87. Further blessings abounded in that I considered my mother in law as a second mom. They were both such models of love!
    Thanks for your post. It has made me delve into some great memories and not feel sorry for myself today that I’m not allowed to see my own kids.
    Take Care & God Bless

    • Thx so much for your beautiful comment, Frances. I remember your mother as being such a loving woman. She always made me feel that she cared and was glad to see me. Even if it had been years since we last met! I’m glad my post filled your spirit with love. That was the intent in my writing the post–to connect us all in the warmth and spirit of motherly love. ❤️

  9. Diane says:

    What a lovely tribute, Doreen! And what a treat to find people who remember her so clearly! Writing about my people who have crossed the veil brings them so much closer. Thank you for sharing your wonderful Mom!
    Diane recently posted…The Philosophy of MomMy Profile

    • Welcome to Chocolatour, Diane, and thanks for your comment. I really like what you’ve said re, “Writing about my people who have crossed the veil brings them so much closer.” That is very profound. I probably should do a tribute to my father for Father’s Day. He lived 25 years longer than my mother, so was in my life a lot longer. And his impact on me was very profound, but in a way far different than the nurturing love of my mother.

  10. Your mother was beautiful! What a lot of interesting “coincidences”. I didn’t know that about the number 40. My 40s were pretty tumultuous years–so I believe it is a powerful number. May your mother rest in peace.

    • Hi Nicole and welcome to Chocolatour! Thx for your comment. Yes, it’s really interesting how certain numbers seem to really have a powerful significance. Hope to see you here again soon. I hear you’re a chocolate lover!

  11. Doreen, I hadn’t seen this post before so I’m glad you reposted it. I love all the old photos (reminds me to take more or at least some, LOL). Aside from the devastation of losing your Mom at such a young age, there must always be that nagging question about what she was really like. I’m glad you found the elder Doreen and sorry you lost her too. Your Mom would be proud of the woman you’ve become: fun, smart, kind & supportive.

  12. Janet May-Hewson says:

    Beautiful picture of you and your mom. You look so much like her. Reflections are so important in our lives. Hugs!

  13. Linda Paul says:

    Doreen, this is a moving tribute to your mother–to all mothers. As I read how others have described your mother, ” positive nature, love of beauty and nature, infectious laugh, warm embrace and welcoming smile.” I thought that although we’ve never met in person, those are all traits that I associate with you. I’ve never felt your warm embrace or heard your infectious laugh, but through the years of getting to know you and seeing images of you in your posts, I imagine your laugh and would easily expect a warm embrace from you. The rest of the descriptors are obvious in your writing and love of adventure.

    • Linda, thank you SO much for that heartfelt comment. What a wonderful way to start off my Monday! I do hope we get to meet someday soon, as we’e had many great interactions over this 10 years or so that we’ve become online friends. And for those who don’t know Linda, she is a writer who has published an intriguing book about her own mother’s memories. Visit her site for more info about it.

  14. I’m glad that writing the 2010 and then updating and sharing it every year, is a good practice for you, Doreen. I’m a bit jealous that you have wonderful memories of your mother, but also reassured that good mothers do exist.

    • Thanks for sharing that personal comment, TammyJo. Yes, I have close friends who have had a difficult life with their own mothers. The word “mother” doesn’t give anyone qualifications to be loving and supportive. But I do envy my friends who either still have their mothers with them, or have wonderful memories of a lifetime of togetherness that sustains them through the loss.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Valerie Stark says:

    Beautiful tribute to your Mom (my cousin Margaret)!

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

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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? ❤️

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. Beverly says:

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

    • Thanks so much, Bev. Your comment means much to me as I know how important family is to you.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…it’s all about MargaretMy Profile

    • Debbie says:

      Such a beautiful photo of your mother. She was a beautiful woman and I can see her in you. Our mothers are such an important part of our lives. We learn a lot from them, and when we loose them a part of us is never the same. I’m sure your mom would be very proud of your accomplishments in life.

      • Debbie, thx so much for your heartfelt comment. I truly appreciate it. I am inspired by the love you share with your beautiful daughters and grandchildren. Wishing you a very Happy Mother’s Day next Sunday.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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 …

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. wizardofwords says:

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

  34. Margaret Ann Fehr 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. 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!

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

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