Happy Mother’s Day to All the Kitchen-Table Mothers



Picture taken in 1990–Agnes and me

Originally written 4 years ago but completely re-done for today.

Picture taken in 1990–Agnes and me


It is not fun to be motherless any day of the year, but sometimes you have no choice in the matter. Is one ever ready to lose a mother? Mine died of cancer when I was barely 12. Some days I feel I missed out on so much, but because of a kind neighbour named Agnes Rychard in Cowansville, Quebec–a little of my mother was returned to me.

We all have issues to deal with. I think this is part of life’s journey back to our true pure selves, but without a real feeling of love early on, it’s challenging. How do motherless children get through Mother’s Day? I personally would like to think that some of us have had people like Agnes in our lives. Adoptive mothers, or those that chose to be by our side, were born with the ability to change someone’s life. They gave us places to feel safe, loved, and shed a few tears.

Agnes has remembered each and every birthday with a greeting card, and we still sometimes swap photos, stories and treasured mementos through the mail. She has allowed me to know my mother in a new way. Thanks to her, when I look at these mementos I discover new pieces of my mother all the time.



The late Bernice Crittenden Knight who died at the age of 34 with my late sister Robin who died at age 40. I can’t remember how much time I spent with my mother– that is how little I saw her through no fault of her own. I hate cancer


This woman took the time to rescue snippets of my mother’s plants while a construction crew tore my childhood home down. With my horticultural talents, I successfully ended up killing every plant she gave me, but I still got to enjoy them for a short time. I always knew in my heart she had a dream, but there was never an ounce of anger shown when my late sister and I chose others over her sons for partners.

To all these women who took the time to befriend a young girl or boy in their time of need I am sending you my heart. If your doors had not been open we would have never become part of your “kitchen table family”. Mine was a table that was filled with comfort food, conversation, accompanied by the songs of Hank Snow and Jim Reeves playing in the background.

I used to hate Mother’s Day, but thanks to Agnes, my mother still lives somewhere within me in a very real way. Each of those moments and days she spent with me worked to create a world in which my sons will carry me within themselves as they move forward in their lives, no matter what lies ahead. These women were always busy with their own families and their hands were always full, but so were their hearts.



Me and Agnes Rychard in Cowansville 2016


Agnes Rhycard 2016


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

5 responses »

  1. Thanks Linda!
    My mom was left motherless at the age of 9, with a sister, 6. Mom’s
    father quickly left to go north and set up the radio lines, leaving the girls in a convents &/or w a maternal uncle and his family. Mom spoke of missing her mother often and of her anger towards people who had mothers but spoke ill of them. The two sister also lost a younger sister a few years before they became non orphans.
    I appreciate your term “kitchen table mother’s” for my mom had many in the form of aunts. My grandmother was one of 16, some barely older than herself. Then
    Dodee, my mom’s nickname that was the name her grandchildren referred to her, became a “KTM” to many, who became the same for many. Ultimately, all 6 of her own had the tendency to do and be the same.
    Now I love to hear stories my kids, nieces and nephews tell about children and neighbours they share their time and space with as mentors and supporters. The tables may not always be in the kitchen anymore yet the hearts threads in community are continuing the miraculous tapestry of love in action.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very touching story Linda. As a stepmom, I know how important it is to reach out & help kids without a stable family life. My stepkids’ biological Mom passed away from cancer a few years ago & they honour me by calling me Mom now. Guess i did something right. There are 7 of them (4 in one family) (3 in other). I am a great grandma. The famiies keep growing.


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