Writing in honour of all mothers

Stanley Oliver
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Stan's Stance

Stanley Oliver

The very word can and does conjure up such emotion that it is hard to put into words. For many people, the second Sunday in May is a time of celebration but also a time of reflection and sadness, especially for those - such as myself - who no longer have their beloved mothers with us.

She was a beautiful lady, both outside and inside.

She was the rock and glue that held our large family together. Not only did she raise a family of 11, she worked outside the house, volunteered and became a community leader in her own right.

While I was involved in the political world, she often called to give her take on the current issues and provide her best suggestion on what I should do; for that I am forever grateful.

She was suddenly taken from us in 2009. While we were all shaken, our close-knit family was blessed to have the late Florence Oliver as their confidante, mentor, advisor, elder and most of all, mother.

She, along with many mothers, in my view (and I am not humble this time when I express my view) are the pillars of the family and our communities. They were the leaders in the communities in numerous aspects, including church, school, council and various other important not-for-profit organizations. They really were the ultimate caregivers.

All this got me thinking: where did Mother's Day originate?

After a little bit of research, I was surprised to learn that it is relatively new in terms of celebrated days/holidays. It actually began in the early 20th century and was first celebrated in 1908, when a lady named Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her late mother in West Virginia. Her mission was to have a day, once a year, officially recognized as a holiday in honour of all mothers.

This was something her own mother (who was a peace activist and who cared for wounded soldiers) campaigned for years prior to her own death. Due to the hard work and lobbying efforts of Anna Jarvis, several states began to officially recognize the second Sunday in May as a holiday/day to celebrate and honour mothers.

The concept soon caught on across the United States as well as other countries, as not only a day to honour mothers but a "great home day" where sons, daughters and husbands thank Mothers at home in a way that strengthens family ties and gives emphasis to the true feeling of home life.

Although Anna Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day, she along with many other social activists of the time soon became discouraged and somewhat resentful of the commercialization of the day. In her view, the day she worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment, not profits by large greeting card companies like Hallmark.

She became embroilled in a battle with greeting card companies, candy makers and the commercial flower business and even organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to attempt to stop the commercialization. We all know how that story ended, because today - although I am sure we sincerely try to celebrate and honour our mothers - it has become one of the most successful occasions in which people purchase gifts, cards, flowers and arrange elaborate dinners. But have we become too commercial?

Some would argue "yes," others would say, "no," because if it were not for the commercialization and promotion of the day it would have withered over time and slipped away.

Whichever side of the debate you're on (and I am sure we could have this discussion about other holidays/occasions) I encourage all - young and old - to take a few minutes each day and remember your beloved mother, take it from an old softy that misses his mother every and each day.

It does not have to be an official Mother's Day to pick up the phone and say, "Hi mum, I miss you and love you." A mother's love is truly a blessing.

Geographic location: West Virginia, United States

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