Her Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Last night Canadian skater Joannie Rochette placed third on the ice, but won the hearts of every woman watching. Her mom died of a heart attack just two days before, never to see her stunning performance. Despite the emotional turmoil, Rochette skated with every ounce of her strength. But to me, it all came down to the end of her performance, her face looking into the crowd, scanning the stands, knowing for the first time that the woman behind her, wasn’t there to see.

This blog is about marketing, so I could easily defer to a tribute to P & G for their beautifully done and prescient “Thanks, Mom” Olympics campaign. But this one is personal. 

For those lucky women who had a great relationship with their moms, there is nothing sadder than that first moment when she’s not there to cheer anymore. My friend Ellyn Spragins who’s written the terrific series of books, “Letters to my Younger Self”, told of the first time she was interviewed on TV after losing her mom. She told me how her mom’s was always the first call she’d get to tell her she did a great job. The silence was deafening.

I know that feeling. Three years ago, a month after I lost my mom, I was interviewed on GMA, ironically talking about a piece I’d written for MORE magazine about how daughters can cope with talking to their elderly parents about health and aging. I remember coming off the set and thinking that my mom, who always left the first voice message telling me she loved my dress or my answers, wasn’t there to call. As women, there’s a part of us who’s still the girl who needs to hear it from mom.  When your baby takes its first step, you get the promotion or get over a disappointment, you’ll want her to know.

Today is my mom’s birthday. And for Joannie and Ellyn and all the women who miss the one who applauded the loudest, I say this. She’s still watching and smiling. In her eyes, you’ll always win the gold.

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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