Don’t Call Me Mother | A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness


Don't Call Me Mother. By Linda Joy Myers

“I wanted to tell the secret stories that my great-grandmother Blanche whispered to me on summer nights in a featherbed in Iowa. I was eight and she was eighty . . . ”

At the age of four, a little girl stands on a cold, windy railroad platform in Wichita, Kansas, to watch the train take her mother away. For the rest of her life, her mother will be an occasional and troubled visitor who denies her as a daughter.

Linda Joy Myers’ compassionate, gripping, and soul-searching memoir tells the story of three generations of daughters who long for their absent mothers, all the while unwittingly recreating a pattern that she’s determined to break. Accompany Linda as she uncovers family secrets, finds solace in music, and begins her healing journey. Learn how she transcends the prisons of childhood to seek forgiveness for her family and herself.

This new edition includes an afterword that wraps up the saga as Myers confronts her family legacy and comes full circle with her daughter and grandchildren, seeding a new path for them.

Mothers, daughters, broken links, and loss are the themes of this poetic memoir that shows no matter what happens, mothers and daughters are always looking for the love that’s inside, even if it seems to be missing or unspoken. This memoir also develops the theme of forgiveness–Myers  searches for it, and even when it doesn’t seem to be possible, that kernel of hope keeps her believing that though it may be hidden from view, her mother and grandmother are still capable of love.

The story takes readers through the Willa Cather Great Plains, highlighting the fact that we all come from a place that etches within us its songs and rhythms, and from these day to day gifts of landscape, storms, and wind, we can find the comfort we need, even when people fail us. All children, even adults, need to hold onto hope that healing, love, and forgiveness are possible. Don’t Call Me Mother will show you what it is to hold onto that vision, even when it seems foolhardy to do so. It may take years to bring the positive light of love and compassion into the fore, but it is possible.

Read this book to find out how.


Praise for Don’t Call Me Mother

The new afterword pulls back the veil and lays bare the actual healing power of memoir. Poignant, visceral, and triumphant, this new section left me shaken and stunned with its raw beauty. As a reader, I felt I was witnessing transformation.

–Kathleen Adams LPC, Author, Journal to the Self and Scribing the Soul Director, Center for Journal Therapy and Therapeutic Writing Institute


In this new edition of her memoir, Linda Joy Myers illustrates just how powerful the combination of memory confronted, forgiveness offered, and new love expressed, can be. What I admire most about this book is the way the author takes you to her most sustaining love — the prairie land of the Midwest — and concludes her story as a return to that place where forgiveness becomes “a feather on my heart, as natural as the plains wind.”

–Shirley Showalter, former president of Goshen College, author of the blog I Have a Story


With poetically visceral prose, Linda Joy Myers tells of her relentless work to emerge from an abandoned and abused child to a forgiving and loving daughter, mother, and grandmother. This must-read memoir brings her raw dark secrets to life. I couldn’t tear myself away.

–Madeline Sharples, author of Leaving the Hall Light On


Don’t Call Me Mother takes me deep inside the mind of a young girl who has been spurned by that most important person in her life, her own mother. Without a guide to help her develop into a woman, Linda Joy is forced into a vulnerable, innovative search for dignity and survival that is at the heart of every hero’s tale.

—Jerry Waxler, M.S., founder of the Memory Writers Network, author of Memoir Revolution, and Four Elements for Writers


Linda Joy Myers eloquently renders the details of her past in this transformative memoir, allowing all of us to find redemption through her honest courage. For anyone yearning for self-discovery, Don’t Call Me Mother serves as a compelling guide on a journey to wholeness. I loved the book.

—Michele Weldon, assistant professor, Northwestern University and author of I Closed My Eyes, and Writing to Save Your Life.


Myers is courageous and persevering in this story about the primal pain of mother abandonment.

—Tristine Rainer, author of Your Life as Story: Discovering the New Autobiography and director of the Center for Autobiographic Studies


This is powerful stuff, insightful, detailed, layered, emotional without being manipulative, insightful without being indulgent. It’s a wonderful read, a marvelous examination of life and its inevitable conclusion. I loved it.

—James Dalessandro, author of 1906


With unerring honesty and painstaking detail, Linda explores and re-experiences her family’s many generations of loss and grief, and in the process frees herself from her history and uncovers her deep ability to love.

—Elizabeth Fishel, author of Sisters and Reunion: The Girls We Used To Be, the Women We Became, co-editor Wednesday Morning Writers.


Could you still love your mother, even if she left you? In this gut-wrenching, poetic memoir, Linda Joy Myers explores three generations of maternal abandonment in her family—and movingly explores her own quest to break the chain.

—Melanie Rigney, former Writers Digest editor


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