One of Her Greatest Lessons

By Christy Gualtieri

Thud: Peter, you know what?
Peter: What?
Thud: My happy thought will help you.
Peter: What’s your happy thought, Thud?
Thud: Mine’s my mother.  Do you remember your mother, Peter?

  • Hook (1991)

Mother’s Day is approaching, and I sit uncomfortably between two worlds: being a mother myself, and having to remember my own Mother’s passing.  She died last year at the end of January, and it seemed that all of the Mother’s Day decorations and cards exploded in the grocery store right after Valentine’s Day, leaving me with a lot of time to think about what I would be missing.

The week before Mother’s Day last year, I found myself grumpy, irritable, and just plain angry at things I normally wouldn’t bat an eye at.  It was fear — how would I get through the day? Would I be able to enjoy my own Mother’s Day, my own children, on that day? Or would it just be about my own Mom, and how much I missed her? The day itself came and went and it was difficult, but here we are, another year later, and I find myself facing those same emotions, that same fear.

But this year, I’m a little farther out from the day she died, and it makes a difference.  Last year, Mother’s Day was a brutal hit of reminders about how she’s just not here anymore.  And this year, I’m feeling more reflective about it.  I think about how she gave me a great gift just before she died, a great lesson that I think – and hope – to turn over in my mind when the holiday comes.

Just before my mother died, in the last few months and in certainly the last few weeks, she became very aware of what was important.  Issues she had cared about barely even registered with her; things to gossip about just fell away.  Time became very essential, and the things that she felt mattered the most to her – her faith, her family, the love she had – those were the things that now occupied her mind.  She didn’t have time anymore for the trivial things, because she could see now how much they truly didn’t matter.

And this year, I am leaning on that example. I’m taking stock of what I find to be important to me, and holding them closely, learning how to let the other things go.  All of the fears, all of the worry, all of the thousand little insignificant things that would make up my day are things she taught me to get rid of so I can focus on the rest.  I hope I am able to keep trying to do that, and I am grateful for her example that showed me how.

I wish a very happy Mother’s Day to you and yours, especially if your mother is no longer with you.

A quick reminder! May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and I encourage you, if you haven’t already, that it’s a great time to find a counselor or therapist who can best meet your needs.  If you’re feeling alone, depressed, anxious, or just plain “stuck”, know that help is out there for you! It has done wonders for me personally, to get to know myself and what really matters in my life, like my mother did.  I hope the same for you!

Until next time, be well!

Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health.