Aging Poem

Shortly after her death I found a copy of this poem in my mother's belongings.

Latest Shared Story

I can relate. It seems this is how it is now. But try not to allow it to make you bitter. The isolation is worse than death, so don't let it make you bitter. We are elderly now. Our...

Read complete story

Share your story!


The Forgotten Mother

© Ruby Latimer Edwards

Published on February 2006

A gray old woman sits all alone
Unloved, uncherished and unknown.
Sitting beside her broken door.
Dreaming of days past long ago,
When children played about her knee
Filling the air with childish glee,
Tended by her with loving care.
Knowing the blessing of a Mother's prayer.
But now they have gone, each to his life
A girl to her husband, a boy to his wife,
Forgetful are they of her who sits here
Silently wiping a tricking tear,
For striving for things in a life so brief
Blind their poor eyes to a dear Mother's grief.
But does she upbraid them in word or in mind.
Nor does their neglect to her seem unkind.
She'll forgive and forget all unkindness they've shown
This poor old mother who sits alone.


  • Stories 41
  • Emailed 67
  • Favorited 14
  • Votes 1541
  • Rating 4.49
  • Poem of the week


Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • by Niki Bentley
  • 1 month ago

I can relate..there is some solace in knowing I am not alone. However, being a single mother, doing my best and raising two adult boys who are now successful men, husbands , and fathers, I feel a deep sadness. I am not included, and always made to feel like I have done them a horrible wrong in some way. I can't do anything right. I am starting to wonder what's wrong with me. Yet their father and I divorced when they were small, he rarely saw them, paid little support, lives 3000 miles away and they welcome him into their homes. I wish I could let it go. It makes me feel so small. Like I am a failure.

  • by Forgotten Mom And Dad
  • 5 months ago

My husband and I are always neglected; they spend each holiday w/ the DIL's family, which only hurts because it is *all* of the holidays and they show Them they care...but not us. That is a very painful contrast. We always showed family unity on both sides of the family and caring for every individual family member's special event no matter if we were close to them or not: it is not unreasonable to expect and hope for the same thoughtful consideration in return. This isn't about materialism. Most parents just want to be shown that they matter.

What would make a difference? Just being sent a free "Happy Birthday!" image off of the internet and sending it in an email. Then we could print it out and have something tangible to cherish. That would make a big difference. But it has never happened, and we've learned not to hold our breath. At least my husband and I will go to our graves knowing we never inflicted this type of emotional pain on our own parents. But, so much for karma.

  • by Margaret Blaine
  • 1 month ago

I can relate. It seems this is how it is now. But try not to allow it to make you bitter. The isolation is worse than death, so don't let it make you bitter.

We are elderly now. Our stories of our children leaving us behind are somewhat alike. Our son died about a year ago from military disability. He'd moved away with his family but phoned and Skyped us every day. Our eldest daughter retired and was gone in about a month's time. Rarely hear from her. All our grandchildren grew up and moved on without us. We see our youngest and her baby from time to time. We are very old and I imagine kind of boring. We are closer to heaven than earth. I pray that our children and their children will be more cohesive. I would not wish this on anyone.

Don't let it make you bitter. It seems this is the cycle of life. I hope you have a system of belief. We are Christian and get a measure of comfort from it.

  • by Marie
  • 3 months ago

I remember being told to Honor Thy Father and Mother. I did and I have no regrets.

Perhaps, I never instilled that value into my children. If I go to them, they work around me, in their busy lives, I get in the way. At least I feel I do. Their needs and wants are priority. I often come home wishing I had not gone. Being dismissed is painful.
I reflect, that we the parent(s) may appear so independent, so capable that even when we ask for some quality time we are dismissed.

I for one get lonely for a time when children included their parents in events and in holidays and made every effort to be there. My children forget I need them. How sad for me.

  • by Martine Cochrane
  • 6 months ago

All these posts make me very sad.
You all talk about how much you sacrificed for your children, but YOU made them.
They didn't ask to be born! How can you say that you sacrificed your life for them when it was your choice to have them?
I am a mother of three boys. I don't expect anything from them, I just want them to be happy with their life.
I didn't have them so that I had someone to take care of me when I'm old, or keep me company when I'm lonely. Yes, it's nice when our children do interact with us, but if you change your attitudes and stopped making their life conditional, surely they would want to spend more time with you?
Look inside yourselves for your happiness. Don't look to find it from someone else!
As A wise Native American once said,

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,
We borrow it from our children!"

Wishing you all happiness from within, not from without! x

  • by Marie
  • 3 months ago

I do not believe any Mother(or Father) feels that she/he sacrificed their life for their children, however: I do believe many did make sacrifices for the good of their children. I think it is unfair to say that as a parent we want "payback" or that our attitudes must change. Parents just want to be acknowledged. I for one am happy with the life I have but it is even better when my children just call to say hello.

For all the parents who raised great kids but wish they would call more often.

  • by Martine
  • 7 months ago

I feel very sorry for all you sad and lonely mums out there.
Perhaps if you had all been giving mums without EXPECTING to get something back for it, you might be more loved! Your children didn't ask to be born. You had them for your own selfish reasons. Perhaps so that you had someone to look after you when you were old! Listen to yourselves! 'Poor me, poor forgotten ME, nobody loves me! Sounds to me like you love yourselves more than you love your children. No wonder you've been forgotten!

  • by Margie
  • 5 months ago

How do you know these Moms/Parents were not giving and put their children last??!! You are clearly judging a person you know nothing about!! You obviously don't know the pain of being cast aside by grown children. This younger generation is the "Gimmie generation", they feel they are entitled, and their affection must be bought..

  • by Jodie Horrocks
  • 5 months ago

Was your own mother so cruel to you that you feel the need to lash out at all mothers?! You don't know their stories! You don't know what sacrifices they may or may not have made! If you must lash out, lash out at the one that hurt YOU! DON'T lash out at the Mothers that worked their tails of to provide a nice home for their babies! Not all Mothers have been there for their children, BUT, not all Mothers deserve the wrath you just dished out! Your anger at your own mother just hurt a whole lot of undeserving Mothers!

  • by Judi Judge
  • 7 months ago

I have thought about the fact that I have not heard from my children for a while. I raised them and sacrificed for them all of their lives.They used to include me in a lot of things, but I hardly ever hear from them now unless they need something. I am a breast cancer survivor and had to quit working and retired. I get depressed and cry about it a lot because I love them so much, but they seem to have forgotten me. My oldest daughter is very religious. She stays too busy with her art gallery and church to think about me. My other daughter is a functioning alcoholic who cannot pass her regular bar after work to visit or call. My divorced son just fell in love again so now I don't hear from him either. He used to stop by a few days a week. I only see my grandchildren at Christmas, and my great grandchildren don't even know who I am, it breaks my heart. I try to stay busy, even opened two Etsy shops on line, but it still does not fill that void in my life.

  • by Marie
  • 3 months ago

I have read your words and my heart is sad for you. I understand and relate to what you are saying. I too have a good life but seem to have been dismissed by my children. I am hurt and disappointed. I know it will not change your life but please know you are in my thoughts. Be gentle and kind to yourself.

  • by Bonnie Wheeler
  • 3 months ago

I'll soon be 89 and I still enjoy being with my children more than anyone else. I have friends that I associate with but my joy is being with the children and grandchildren. I can understand how someone can be in a crowd and be lonely at the same time.

  • by PHYLLIS MCCORD, Chesterton, Indiana
  • 8 months ago

WOW...and I thought my children were the only ones who had forgotten how much I sacrificed and how hard I worked just to get by. Now, in my retirement years, a phone call is a rare thing. Of my five, I have 2 who seem to care although they are not exactly "in my face" on a regular basis. I learned something from it all. Really...don't count on your offspring in your golden years. They are much too busy with fancy phones and Facebook to give you the time of day. I love my kids. Maybe I wasn't the best mother, but my love never wavered and never will. I called them last week to tell them I loved them (on cell phones that never get answered) and of the five, I heard back from ONE. Sad days we are living in ladies. It is my fervent prayer that those of you who have been wounded by the "me-itis" that has infected today's youth will heal and find some peace and joy in your life exclusive of those who hurt you. God bless.

  • by Ell
  • 3 months ago

Yes, it is truly said these days compared to when we grew up. I rarely hear from my daughter unless she wants something. For the past 14 years she has told me she would be coming for Christmas for a week or two (and I arranged to schedule time off from work) - then at the last minute (day before or hours before flight was to arrive) she calls to tell me she is not coming. On some of those times it was because her mother-in-law wanted them with her - for 14 years - how hurtful indeed. I have now learned to plan for myself instead of counting on my daughter to visit. Phone calls, emails will go unanswered for weeks and sometimes months at a time. It still hurts - after all these years.

  • by Amelia Harding
  • 7 months ago

Dear Phyllis,

I could have written this myself though I fear we are not alone. It is a heartbreak I did not see coming and boy does it hurt. If I get a response in text it is short and never includes an invitation. I invite them for the weekend or for lunch to no avail. Generally they are busy with their own ,"things to do" and I can't come watch, help, pick up lunch , etc.
I live alone, something I often wished for. Now that I have it I want to remind people to be careful what you wish for. It's unfortunate you are so far away we, at least, could trade stories over lunch.
You are in my thoughts and I wish for you a healthy distraction to cheer You.
God Bless

  • by Richa, Virginia
  • 1 year ago

I too have been a devoted single mother. My now 30 year old daughter always adored me but recession of 2009 bought some hard times. I at 50 found myself unemployed for 4 years and my daughter was too mixed up in her life as my energy was running thin. She was not there to give me emotional support but accused me instead and said cruel words which fed into a mild depression. Anyway, she gives all her energy and love to her friends and her new family/ families as she just got married. I am the forgotten and feel worse than death itself to find myself so very unloved and last on her list if even that. I have to always swallow my pride and be the grown up just to get some stolen moments that I can live on. So, I too cry as I write this and join some of you in your pain. 3 years ago I would have never imagined this as everyone envied our relationship.

  • by Marie
  • 3 months ago

I am so sorry to hear parents so distraught by the behavior of our Children. I was so hard on myself, wondering, searching feeling guilty. No longer do I bear the blame. My children are adults and they make choices. I will, sadly, accept that I am not a choice.

Bless us.

  • by Janice Gardner, MD
  • 1 year ago

I hope you feel good about the fact that you have been the bigger person here. I'm sorry that she is not able to recognize your pain and give you the love and support and understanding that you need and deserve. I don't know if you are a religious person but I know that there are many good and wonderful people who have suffered very difficult things in this life....
You must feel that she is feasting from the banquet of life while you are left with the crumbs...
She may not be able to return your love and value you in the way that you need at present - so perhaps you should seek out new friends or other family members to fill this need to love and be loved.....
Perhaps in time - as she sees you living a happy and fulfilled life she may realize what she is missing and if not - you have developed a wonderful life of your own from which to draw strength and fulfillment.

  • by Olga, Ohio
  • 1 year ago

My eyes filled with tears as I read this poem and the shared stories of others. I realized that I am not alone. I raised my daughter from the age of 3 on my own. Any single parent knows what a struggle that can be. I was there for her each and every time she needed help. Today, she hasn't spoken to me in over 8 months because I disagreed with something she wanted to do. No Mother's Day card, no birthday card, no phone call. Nothing. It hurts so much. And you wonder why is this happening? What have you done wrong?
When my father died, I made sure to see my mother, who lived on her own, every weekend to take her shopping and for my daughter and myself to have dinner with her on Sundays. It gave my mother something to look forward to. I did this until she died at age 86 and I don't regret one moment.
I can relate to the above poem and to the mothers who shared their stories. I wish there was a support group for forgotten mothers because there are so many of us. God bless you all and stay strong.

  • by Maggie Gray
  • 7 months ago

Maybe start a support group yourself try Facebook and head it: 'Are you a lonely forgotten mum?'. I think you will be surprised by how many there are out there. I am one of the lucky ones. I have contact with my children but I do appreciate how sad it is. Spread your wings don't sit and wait for your children to contact you. Make a cheery phone call to them, saying that you are enjoying life. You give birth to children raise them nurture them then let them go. Too many of my friends are totally wrapped up in their children and grandchildren. Instead of enjoying life with people of their own age and interests. I love my kids and tell them often. My kids love me and tell me often but we all have separate lives. The first lady that commented on here said. I sacrificed for my children. Perhaps that is where the problem lies. I don't consider bringing up my children a sacrifice. It was the best thing I have done in my whole life and loved every minute. I was not perfect mother but Did my best xx

  • by Amy Foldery
  • 1 year ago

I never knew that so many mothers shared this type of heart ache! I unfortunately am experiencing this with my son who is only 15 years old! He lives with his father now, and because of something or things that I have done, he does not want to have anything to do with me. I cannot begin to understand what it is I have done that was so horrible, that he would want to completely disown me like this. Many people have assured me that in time he will "come around". That this time in a child's life is difficult anyway, and when you have parents that are divorced it is so much easier to walk away from a parent if they are not happy with the way the parent that their living with is treating them. I pray my friends are right, but am currently mourning the time I am losing with him until that happens...if it happens. I am so thankful that God put this site in my path. I know my friends empathize with me, but people here really understand and have felt and are feeling what I am feeling.

  • by D. Lannoye
  • 2 years ago

Before retiring, I worked in the senior living industry. I cannot even begin to tell you the times I have seen sadness in a seniors eyes because family has "forgotten them."
Old age is often portrayed as a time of take it easy, reflect and take hold of opportunities to do things that were put off while raising families. Unfortunately, the aging process is not always so pleasant. Events such as constant and possibly debilitating medical issues, the loss of friends and loved ones and the inability to take part in once-cherished activities can take a heavy toll on an aging person's emotional well-being.
While I worked in the senior living industry, I would have my employees write down the five most important things to them on slips of paper. I then had them fold the slips of paper and lay them down in front of them. As expected, the items would be things like - my children, my husband, my parents, my health etc. One by one, I would take a slip of paper from them to try and communicate the emotion of loss. None of us will totally understand what their loss feels like until we age, and walk in their shoes.
When I look at seniors, I see veterans that fought for our freedoms, farmers and ranchers who fed us from their long days of toil, teachers, nurses, and doctors. These individuals put the shovels in the ground and made this country what it is today. Honor them - remember them.

  • by Julie, Ipswich Uk
  • 2 years ago

We are now living with my 81 year old mother in law. It is very hard. She is suffering from severe depression, my husband has started smoking again after several years (outside) and I hit the wine as soon as I come home from work. I have a 91 year father and 86 year old mother who still look after themselves even though neither are totally fit, but they get on with it and I help as much as I can. My mother in law is totally and utterly pathetic and doesn't try to help herself expecting everyone to feel for her, I hate it, but she's old so therefore we accept that it is our duty to be there for her and support her as much as we can. If only she had been as supportive of us over the past 30 years, perhaps I wouldn't feel so bitter about the whole experience.

  • by Allegiance
  • 6 months ago

I feel so bad for your Mother in Law. Don't you realize that she knows what you are feeling? Of course she is depressed. Many senior widowed women are deeply depressed from their loss. Where and how are they going to feel needed and loved? Not at your house for sure. Your Mom and Dad have one another. They are not lonely, so you are not put upon. Your MIL has no one. She knows that and I pity her. You have no idea how bad loneliness can be. I doubt the two of you have any worthwhile communication. Does it occur to you that your husband loves his Mother and is also suffering depression because he knows how much you resent her. Smoking relieves the tension that you cause. Too bad. Maybe if you would stop telling him how much you resent his Mom, he could deal with the situation better. Picture how you are going to feel, when you wind up in the same situation. Your life will not be the same forever and with your attitude, I don't see anyone caring that much for you in the future.

  • by Renee, North Dakota
  • 1 year ago

If I could have my mom back to put her back into bed, or help my daddy to the bathroom, or my sisters into their pajamas or give my brother another back rub I would gladly do it.

  • by Dee Phillips
  • 2 years ago

As I sit in this CICU with my mother, I cry. I live with her and care for her. I do the best that I can and often feel unappreciated. My life? My life is her until she dies. I wouldn't have it any other way. Shame on you children who are not there for their Mothers. My only sister passed years ago, my father is gone too. I know it's so depressing watching this unfold I just don't know what to do. I feel so alone.

  • by Katy
  • 2 years ago

I raised 3 children on my own, now that they have grown I'm now all alone. Mothers day is 2 days away and know one has called to make plans on spending the day with me. I just want to craw into a deep hole and cover up.

  • by Diana
  • 5 months ago

It is so painful when your children that you sacrificed everything for act as though you don't exist. Its cruel and heartless. The Bible says honor your Mother and Father, but nowadays there isn't a lot of honoring---just pain. I prayed so hard I would get one little card, but all I got was junk mail...I cried so much today. Its so painful to be forgotten.

  • by Shawana
  • 2 years ago

OMG I have been taking care of my grandmother for 13 years. during that time I had the privilege of taking care of my mother too, she died in 08. It has been hard to watch my mother and grandmother realize that all that they have done for our family has gone unappreciated. It is a very sad thing to watch.

  • by Delhi - India
  • 2 years ago

Our daughter recently married and flew from our nest to another city where our son in law works. They make it a point to stay in touch with us over the months through phones, sms's and social network. Though we miss her a lot, we look forward to their calls , emails and messages.
Maybe we are one of the few lucky ones to have got loving children and our son in law has taken the place of a son in our lives.
It is equally important to realize that we need to give our children their personal space and respect their choice. Its all a matter of understanding and a little give and take and life goes on smoothly. ~ beegee

  • by L Throop
  • 6 months ago

It's great that your kids stay in touch but it's not as easy as you say in your comment at the end. Some of us have done all that yet we have been totally cast aside. Think about how you would feel if you had maybe a phone call once or twice a year, hearing from others who they do speak with, and being treated like I'm invisible.

  • by Ohio
  • 2 years ago

I am This Grandmother. My heart aches for anyone that is going through having their family forget them. I wasn't perfect started at 16 being a mom but I never neglected my children. I have tried everything to be excepted, I have finally decided to leave well enough alone and go on without them. When my great granddaughter was born they didn't put me or my mother in the birth announcement I felt like someone stabbed me in the heart. Maybe I shall divorce my children that treat me so unkindly. I have one out of seven that includes me in her life.

  • by Carol, New Zealand
  • 3 years ago

Today I sat and listened to a perfect stranger tell me about her children and how busy their lives are with work, children, events, holiday plans and with every part of their busy lives I watched her emotions pass across her face from happy to sad and at the end I saw contentment within her not hating nor begrudging them their lives.

I walked away later and reflected on what had just happened and realized how my mother must feel as we got on with our lives and realized that a stranger had given me insight to my mothers world.

I might not say I love you as much as I should and I get involved in my own world but I never stop thinking about you because without you their wouldn't be me. Love you forever xxxxx

  • by Sister Lydia
  • 3 years ago

I have realized that raising children is not a guarantee that anyone will be around in one's old age. Thus, I have steeled myself and taught me to be satisfied with my own company, hoping that God takes me out before I need to have someone help me in any infirmity. In other words, I'd rather be dead than depend on children or grandchildren in this age of elder and other types of abuse.

  • by Darla, Wv
  • 3 years ago

In 1999, I lost one of my best friends, in 2000, I lost a sister, 10 months younger than me, in 2001, I lost a 2nd sister, two years younger, in 2009, I lost a 3rd sister, also younger. In 2010, I lost my mother and a younger brother. In 2011, I lost my husband. After losing my husband and his income, I lost my home and had to move in with my daughter and son-in-law for 4 months. I have 3 grandchildren who I was very close to until recently when my daughter informed me that she did not want them around me because of my dark depression. I feel so lonely, so very sad and can completely identify with Terri from Va.

  • by Terri, Suffolk VA
  • 4 years ago

OMG, I am that woman, my son has totally forgotten me and I live with my daughter that wishes she could. I stay in my room all the time just to keep from feeling the way they make me feel. I am their only living parent and did my best, but I feel like they are punishing me for not being good enough :(

  • by Maria, Texas
  • 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing. Tears fell as I read this poem. This is all too familiar to me. I am that forgotten mother! I try to figure why my children don't include or want me in their lives, and in the lives of my grandchildren, when exactly did this happen, over time or all of the sudden? Wasn't I a good mother? Have I not always been there when they needed me? How can this be? Crying as I write this. Thank you again. Blessings to all the forgotten mothers out there.

  • by Greg Isabel
  • 4 years ago

Really touched my heart as my mom just turned 90 and I am only one of three children that seem to give a damn about her and I am wondering why...

None of us were abused or neglected, perhaps spoiled and she has always been there for all of us and yet my brother and my sister just don't seem to care...

Remember everyone, Dead noses can't smell Red roses, so treat the living right while they are still here to enjoy it!

  • by Franca, Oregon
  • 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing. Tears fell as I read this poem. The heart ache your mother describes is all too familiar to me. I am that woman! The poem takes away some of my pain as I realize I'm not the only mother that has been forgotten. I try to figure why my children don't include or want me in their lives, when exactly did this happen, over time or all of the sudden? Wasn't I a good mother? Have I not always been there when they needed me? How can this be?
Wow, I didn't realize I was carrying all this pain. Thank you again

  • by Susann, Tx.
  • 4 years ago

I am the youngest of 7 kids, I live 11 hours from my mom my oldest brother lives 20 miles from her drops by couple times a year at his own will. There are 3 more of her kids within 50 miles of her. One hasn't seen her in 7 years. She knows I love her and she knows they don't. You can't fix that.

  • by Ft Oglethorpe, GA
  • 6 years ago

I just moved my mother in the apartment around the corner from me so that I could take better care of her. I am next to the youngest of six kids all with the exception of one are within a maximum of 1.5 hours drive from here. Two brothers even go to a place down the street to eat and drink and sometimes my sister meets them. They have yet to come see my mother or even call for that matter. This poem pretty much sums it up for her. I try to make up the difference but some things can't be made up. Thank You

Back to Top