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Becoming a Motherless Daughter
The loss of the daughter to the mother, the mother to the daughter, is the essential female tragedy.

                                                                                               -Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born

Tonight Joannie Rochelle carries the Canadian Flag at the closing of the 2010 Olympic ceremonies.As one door closes another opens. As the celebration in the pursuit of excellence ends a celebration of a life well lived begins. After the cheers from the crowd, the celebration with her team mates, coaches, family Joannie will begin to hear a silence she has never heard before.

Mourning works like any series of cycles: one ends and a new one begins, slightly different than it’s predecessor, but with the same fundamental course. A daughter who loses a mother does pass through stages of denial, anger, confusion, and reorientation, but these responses repeat and circle back on themselves as each new developmental task reawakens her need for the parent.

When I was 14 I lost my mom to a stroke. In the midst of the initial shock and numbness, I did not grieve -  for me this was best way I could grieve. But four years later at my graduation and shortly after as I stood on the 50 yard dash line as a Miss Saskatchewan Roughrider contestant I found myself suddenly deeply missing my mother. Years after this I was struck with deeply painful mourning after the birth of my own precious daughter.

At each milestone I came up and I know Joannie will also come up against new challenges that we as motherless daughter’s are frightened to face without a mother’s support, but when we reach out our mom is not there. The old feelings of loss and abandonment return and the cycle begins again.

Tonight Joannie Rochelle carries the Canadian flag for the closing of the 2010 Olympics. Tonight one door closes for Joannie and another opens.Without a doubt Joannie is being transformed. Job well done Joannie and life’s work well done Therese’ ... may you rest in peace.


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