LIBBY Frankel was 14 when she lost her mum to cancer.
Not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her Wodonga-raised mother Beverlee Leitch.
“It was just Mum and myself so I was pretty much orphaned at 14,” she said.
“It was Mum’s dying wish that I stay in the same school so I boarded in Melbourne and I lived in Wodonga with my godmother in the holidays.”
Having settled in Wodonga, working in travel and gardening and fundraising for an African orphanage, Ms Frankel said that while life was rich and rewarding, Mother’s Day stirred many emotions for women who had lost their mums at different stages.
“I was in my developing teenage years when I lost my mum and I wish I could have known her as an adult,” she said.
“With the lead-up to Mother’s Day there are so many reminders on the TV and everywhere and you can feel pretty low.”
Ms Frankel attended the first Motherless Daughters Luncheon in Wodonga on the day before Mother’s Day in 2016.
“I know for some people it’s still too raw, even if it’s been years after their loss,” she said.
“But it was nice to get together with a bunch of women who had lost their mothers and share stories – not just about our mums but about everything.
“By listening to other people’s stories, you don’t feel so alone in your experiences.”
The second Motherless Daughters Luncheon in Wodonga will be held on May 20.
It is based on the initiative of American author Hope Edelman, who wrote Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss.
Women from around the world come together before Mother’s Day to share what it means to be a motherless daughter.
Wodonga woman Marissa Clarkson, who organises the Border event, said she hoped women who had lost their mums could honour that loss and celebrate having learnt ways of existing without their caregiver, teacher and mentor.
She said the luncheon would be held on the weekend after Mother’s Day this year to avoid clashes with other family commitments.
“The day won’t be overshadowed by sadness; we will celebrate that as women we have still continued on with our lives and moved ahead,” Ms Clarkson said.
The Motherless Daughters Luncheon will be held at Hollywood’s from 11.30am to 2.30pm.
Bookings are restricted to over-18s as numbers are limited.
RSVP by Friday to Marissa on 0419 488 252 (after 5pm) or email: email@example.com.