The photo on the right is of my mother placing flowers on my older brother's grave, as she has faithfully done for the past quarter of a century. She gave birth to him when she was sixteen. She lost him twenty-six years later. As I have witnessed it first-hand myself, I find myself completely undone by any mother who has lost a child.
One of the mothers of literature who really breaks my heart is Orleanna Price from Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. The novel is narrated by five different characters. Each of the four daughters tells her side of the family odyssey in each of the sections: "Genesis," "The Revelation," "The Judges," "Bel and the Serpent" (from The Apocrypha), "Exodus," and "Song of the Three Children." At the beginning of each section, the mother narrates an introductory passage. It's fitting that Kingsolver uses these biblical allusions ...