The (Dead Mothers) Club is an HBO documentary that looks at women who have lost mothers at an early age. It features interviews with Jane Fonda, Rosie O'Donnell, and Molly Shannon and follows three ordinary women as they come to terms with the deaths of their mothers. Each woman has her own story and has to figure out how to navigate life in the aftermath of such a devastating loss. For Jordyn, a high school graduate applying to college, that means choosing not to attend her mother's Alma mater, UCLA, and instead going out of state for an education. For Ginger, an artist living in Mississippi, it means trying to make sense of her mother's suicide and using art as a means of healing. And for Leticia, a new mother who tests positive for a gene mutation that caused her mother's fatal breast cancer, it means leaving New York and moving back to Brazil in order to reconnect with a loving community of family, friends, and neighbors.
All three women are haunted by their mothers but, at the same time, they are also determined to create new lives with husbands, children, and friends. They find meaning in their relationships with others. I think that's the most beautiful part of the documentary, how it shows that we can move through grief and survive loss by forging stronger, deeper connections with the people around us. None of the women have made it on their own; they've relied on fathers, grandmothers, husbands, sisters, friends, and their own children. Losing a parent is a defining moment but that loss can be an impetus for creating meaningful social bonds.
The movie tells us that 1 in 9 Americans will lose a parent by the age of 20. The (Dead Mothers) Club might be watched by a young woman who has lost her mother and maybe it will remind her that she is not alone despite the isolation she feels. We need to continue to talk about the loss of parents, we need to create community out of it, we need to support one another and offer compassion because so many of us are living without a mother or a father and the pain never really goes away.