The Other Side of the Couch – Lessons From My Mother


I woke up several days ago with an unexplained and surprising feeling of sadness.  I was down, and blue.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  As far as I knew, everything was all right in my life at the moment.  I was coming to the tail-end of a nasty virus, but I was feeling better every day.  I had taken an allergy medicine the night before, but it was one that was familiar and had never caused any odd reactions.  And yet – I was quite sad.  I had some cancellations that morning, and I decided to check in with my husband and daughter, who were meeting for lunch, to see if I could join them.

Sitting at the table, waiting for food service, I began to muse again on what was going on.  I talked to them about it – said I was feeling sad, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.  I was lonely, and I felt a bit tearful.  Talking about it brought a few more tears.  We talked of other things and then, all of a sudden, I knew.

It was my mother’s birthday.  She would have been 95 this year.  She died twenty-four years ago, six months before her 71st birthday.  Every year this time sneaks up on me. One would think I would remember, but there is something about these anniversaries that keeps us a bit unconscious.  The amazing thing is that the BODY KNOWS.  Even though I was not consciously aware, my body and emotions were telling me to pay attention.

As soon as I recognized what was happening inside, I felt a deep sense of relief and understanding, and an equally deep joy in remembering all the special things about my mother.  Tonight, as I write about those sweet memories, I came across a little scribble I wrote a while ago.

My mother taught me many things.  Some of the most precious are these:


Create beauty in unexpected places, for no reason at all.

Cherish your women friends.

Go to lunch!

Be sweet.

Believe in yourself.

You are beautiful; believe it.

Church matters.


I am so grateful for the love we shared, and for having her in my life for seventy years.  I hope that my daughter will have as many sweet memories of me when that day comes.

I love you, Mother.


About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at

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