I don't know why but I was anxious after reading this email. Though I was saddened that this woman lost her mother and identified with her on this important level, I was uncomfortable with someone speculating about my intentions or writing about me. I had put myself in this position and yet instinctively I wanted to guard my story.
"It is mine to tell," I said to Lori. "She's a writer. What if she decides to include me in some piece she's working on? What will she say about me if she writes about my placing the ad?"
"The story, the whole thing, is unique to you. She could try to put herself in your place but it won't be you. You are the only one who can write this story."
Dear fellow motherless mother,
Thank you for the letter. I appreciate your response. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. As you've said, it is a different situation, but I know that the loss is always meaningful and profound. You clearly knew your mother much more than I ever did mine and I can imagine that void is significant for you.
It sounds like you have written to me because you are interested in the topic of what it means for a woman to be without a mother at various stages of her life simply for research purposes. I would direct you to the series by Hope Edelman: Motherless Daughters, Mother of My mother, Letters from Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers. She has certainly thoroughly covered this topic in an insightful way.
If this is your sole agenda for contact, I apologize but I don't feel comfortable answering questions about my story in any detail. I don't want to see my search and its implications incorporated as research material into your own writing. I cannot give permission for my story to be used in this way without more information about your intentions. I hope you will understand that this is my personal quest. To answer your specific questions, I will say that I am not trying to echo the relatonship with my mother and that I have been interested in the significance of the mother-daughter bond for many years both personally and professionally, having trained as a Psychologist.
I wish you luck with your research.
All the best,