published in Change, Death, Gratitude, Inspiration, Motherhood, Mothering Matters, Removing Barriers by Maryanne | May 6, 2015

 Mum’s the Word on Mother’s Day



Momma Pope having tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC, 2012

 “Mothers are all slightly insane.” 

― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

According to Wikipedia, “Mum’s the word” is a saying related to an expression used by Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part 2. It means to keep quiet, to say nothing. For “Mum” is a Middle English word meaning “silent.”

Now, my Mom was anything but silent. She got into an awful lot of hot water over the years for speaking first and thinking later. And more often than not, I was on the receiving end of that candour. But do you know, that’s what I miss the most about my Mom: her courage to be candid.

Sure, she could’ve softened the old truth a little now and then – tact wasn’t her strong suit – but she usually said it like it was.

My Mom has been gone now for 14 months. Boy, do I miss her! But I certainly feel her presence in my life and work. I can sense her strong spirit coming through in some of my characters…I find them saying things that I certainly couldn’t say – but that do need to be said.

Technically speaking, Mum’s the word for me this Mother’s Day – because my Mom’s not here to get all excited when I call (and pissed off if I don’t also send a card and/or flowers and/or chocolate). But that’s not to say that I won’t hear her voice, loud and clear, in my head – because I know I will.

For although my Mom lives on in me in many ways, I suspect the most important one is through my conscience – and for that gift, I am eternally grateful.

Another gift my Mom gave me – that ALL of our mothers gave us – that I am profoundly thankful for, is…life. She brought me and my brothers into this world and showed us how the game is played. And when she was done, she left.

My Mom lived her life her way. And as I watched the 5 min photo tribute, set to the song, My Way, again this morning, yes, I still bawled like a baby 🙁 but more importantly, I was reminded to use the precious gift my Mom gave me…to live fully, with no fear and no regrets.

Because our time here is finite.

Related blogs:

When a Fear Demands to be Faced

Even the Best Parties Have to End

Leaving What and Who We Love

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here. The Mothering Matters blog series begins May 11th, 2015…subscribe here to join the discussion.



  1. Lynne Karey-McKenna on May 6th, 2015 at 4:45 pm:

    Sending you love as you remember your mom this mother’s day!

  2. Jennifer Dickey on May 6th, 2015 at 5:28 pm:

    I could not agree more about your mom. She was a wonderful,
    spirited woman!

  3. Maryanne on May 7th, 2015 at 1:51 pm:

    She was indeed, Jennifer!

  4. Maryanne on May 7th, 2015 at 1:54 pm:

    Thanks, Lynne! And Happy Mother’s Day to you!!

  5. Maryanne on May 8th, 2015 at 7:18 pm:

    This awesome comment just came in via e-mail:

    Hi Maryanne —

    Thanks for the great blog entry, Mum’s the word — and I just finished watching the photo montage with music on your mother’s life — what a beautiful and adventurous woman she was (no wonder I am so fond of you, too!). That was a really lovely show someone (probably you) put together — what a wonderful tribute to such a cool lady — I especially like the photo of your mother wearing the big white sunglasses with the kerchief/scarf tied under her chin — a beautiful lady.
    GM, Victoria, BC

  6. Maryanne on May 8th, 2015 at 7:20 pm:

    But no – I did NOT do the photo tribute…the funeral home did it. My family gave them the photos and we chose the song. We were all sitting around my Mom’s living room the day after she passed away, trying to choose a song and when we heard My Way by Frank Sinatra, all of us were crying and laughing at the same time, so we knew we’d found the right song 🙂

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