Feb 21, 2011

Congratulations and thanks to Rosie O'Donnell. And wow!

Rosie O'Donnell, who lost her mother to cancer just before her 11th birthday and has been a longtime advocate for motherless daughters, will be getting her own talk show on Oprah's OWN network. In an interview reprinted in the Chicago Sun-Times she talks about learning about her mother's history for an episode of the NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?"; starting a new talk show; and being a motherless daughter. She also gives a big and very generous shout-out for Motherless Daughters, and tells the story of how I tried to contact her more than 15 years ago when I was first writing the book.

I was a guest on Rosie's Sirius radio show about a year and a half ago, and she's incredibly warm and smart and plugged in to social issues. I think she's going to do a sensational job with her new TV show.

I'll reprint an excerpt from her interview below...although I'm always uncomfortable being self-promotional like this, I'm hoping it'll help some readers. And that's always the goal. You can read the whole interview with Rosie here.

You can also watch the episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" right here. She finds another motherless daughter in her family's history--and lots else.

From "Genealogy show helps Rosie O'Donnell face mother's death" Chicago Sun-Times, February 17, 2011

O’Donnell was only 10 when she lost her beloved mom to cancer.
“Nobody mentioned my mother after she died in 1973. It was like Lord Voldemort. You couldn’t say the name,” she says. “Nobody said ‘mom’ in that house or ‘mommy’ or ‘mother’ from 1973 on. I always wanted to know who she was and what she felt like, and to have her and see her through a woman’s eyes as opposed to a child looking up to their mom.”
O’Donnell says fans approach her all the time to talk about losing mothers to cancer.
“I think no matter what age, when you lose your mom it’s your mommy,” she says. “I remember my friend Jeannie lost a mom who was in her 70s and a grandmother in her 90s and when her grandmother died, she kept calling out, ‘Mommy, mommy.’
“The bottom line is that everybody has that kind of natural, base, primal wound connection, and if it’s severed it becomes a permanent wound,” she says. “My wound is the mother-child connection. But I did find out that when you do search for your lost parent’s past that it does help heal it a little bit.”
O’Donnell has other advice.
“I’ve found that the most helpful thing I could tell anyone to do who has lost their mother is to get the Hope Edelman book Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss,” she says. “When she wrote the book in ’95, she had written me and asked if I could do an interview. I remembered thinking it was going to be cue violin background music. You know, poor celebrities whose mothers have died when they were young. If I had known what that book was really going to be, I would have participated and I would have begun my healing so much earlier.”
The comedian says that as she ages, she also laments.
“It’s weird for me to be 49 years old, a decade more than she lived. I’m getting to things that she never did, like raising teenagers.
“In some ways, she’s lucky,” she jokes.
She sobers and adds, “I’m getting to experience it all, but I don’t have a mother to call and talk to about it.”


Anonymous said...

WOW-love your words and also Rosie's.

Allison Gilbert said...

For so long all of your fans have known what a pioneer you have been...I doubt there is one motherless daughter or motherless mother who has not been somehow strengthened by your words or generous sprit. It's only fitting Rosie has known this all along too!!! Congratulations!
-- Allison Gilbert

Anonymous said...

"Advocate for motherless daughters"? I didn't realize they were so oppressed. Sheesh.

Hope Edelman said...

Oppressed? That sounds a little dramatic, and wasn't what I meant. Someone who talks openly and publicly about a subject that girls were long encouraged to keep under wraps is an advocate in my mind. For more than 15 years Rosie's been talking about early mother loss and sharing her story with others so that those who haven't lost mothers understand the unique issues these girls face.

kario said...

I can't even begin to count the number of times I've recommended "Motherless Mothers" over the years. In fact, I loaned my own copy out and can't remember where it is...

I watched the Who Do You Think You Are segment with Rosie the other night and was moved to tears.

Unknown said...

To Anonymous-Yes, an advocate for motherless daughters. There is nothing oppressive that comes forward from that phrase. Perhaps you weren't one of us who experienced the loss of a mother. "Motherless Daughters" has helped many of us and Rosie's been a good voice as well.

MaryEllen said...

I love your book, it has helped me so much. I finally passed the magic number last year when I passed my Mom's age that she died. Unfortunately that was the year I got diagnosed with breast cancer myself. I vow to fight and win for us both.
Thank-you Hope and Rosie for speaking about a subjet that no one will.