It's been more than a month since I wrote a column on Mother's Day weekend about the tragic story of my mother
-- And the feedback is still coming in. I wrote of the abuse she suffered from my father, the struggles of being a broke and divorced mother of three boys, her death from breast cancer at age 42, and my deep regrets. I have received hundreds of comments. Much more than from anything else I've ever written. It's also the most difficult thing I've ever written. I am much more comfortable writing about current events than of a painful time in my personal life.
The comments were so moving, so touching, and so encouraging that I have to share them. Some came from elementary school friends and cousins, who remembered my mother.
--From Mark, "Your mom was the best."
--From Marti, "You made me cry Jim! Your mom was wonderful to Helene and I. She was kind and beautiful."
Some came from high school and college friends, who I never told of my upbringing.
--From Tom, "Jim, thank you for sharing your story...Your mom's story. I must say you kept it all hidden so well."
--From Jim, "My hat's off to you for being able to write this...and for the benefit of perfect strangers. I read it three times. Really really powerful."
Some came from people I have never met, but have similar backgrounds.
--From Judith, "As a woman who also lost her mother to cancer, I can relate. As a single woman who raised three children in poverty, I can relate...You have fulfilled your mother's dreams. By writing this article, you made my Mother's Day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
--From another Judith, "I too grew up with fighting and lost my parents way too soon...We never think anyone could have grown up like us."
--From Pamela, "Thank you for that article and your honesty. It made me feel less alone in the pool of regrets I have about my own mom."
And so many more from friends and strangers.
--From Peter, "I'll give my mom a hug and a kiss tomorrow. When I do, I'll think of you Jim."
--From Linda, "Your mom would have been so proud of your life and family. There are tears in my eyes. A real tribute to your mom."
--From Steve, "Your column was so honest, revealing and emotional. It will always stay with me. Brilliantly written and heartbreaking."
--From Rita, "You made me cry, Jim...Your mother would be so very proud of the wonderful man you became."
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I was afraid to write this column, and you readers rewarded those fears in an overwhelming, heartfelt way.