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Mother's Day

I've hated Mother's Day since I was 7. I choose to celebrate my mom in my own way.

These days I鈥檓 just coping at the keyboard, telling stories of the everyday people in our community who matter. People like my mom who deserve to have their stories told.

Louisville Courier Journal

My mom died when I was 7 years old and I鈥檝e hated Mother鈥檚 Day ever since. I met my stepmother when I was 8 years old. I love her and she deserves all the tribute I can muster 鈥 but not on this one day.聽

If you look up my mother in the newspaper archives, you鈥檒l find the photo of the car crash that killed her. Feb. 25, 1983, in the Kentucky Post. I saw it at a neighbor鈥檚 house I visited shortly after she died. The newspaper had been saved, carelessly tossed on a stack of papers near an end table. I was young, but I could still read. I knew what I was seeing.聽

A few years ago I asked a friend to go to the library for me and get the article that I thought ran with the photo, but there was no article. Just a photo with a headline and a caption. My friend omitted the photo per my request. The image is etched in my brain; I don鈥檛 need to see it again.

Bonnie Feldkamp

The headline read, 鈥淚ce snarls I-275 in Wilder.鈥 The caption read, 鈥淲estbound I-275 became a sheet of ice about 8:15 this morning when snow froze on the roadway. A Toyota skidded on the ice and struck an electrical pole, and four or five other cars went out of control. Two women in the Toyota 鈥 Bonnie Feldkamp, 32, of Walnut Street and Susan White, 33, of Wilson Ave, Cincinnati 鈥 were admitted to St. Luke Hospital.鈥澛

That鈥檚 not a typo. Bonnie Feldkamp was my mother. We have the same name. Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is my full name 鈥 our full name. I am her junior.

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp with her mom also named Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, Christmas 1982. Bonnie Jean (mom) died in a car accident in February 1983.

She died in that hospital two days later. Brain dead. My father and my grandmother signed the papers that permitted surgeons to harvest her organs and we all let her go.

I often wonder who benefited from my mother鈥檚 organs.聽

Happy Mother's Day?:Why I wrote a book on my kids' great-grandmothers

I celebrate my mom by telling the stories of people like you

I was a writer at a young age. It didn鈥檛 seem like a choice, really. If I wasn鈥檛 writing in my diary, I was writing sentences and essays assigned as punishment. As a teen, I kept a journal and wrote poetry.

Diaries were for amateurs. Journals were for serious writing, or at least that鈥檚 what I thought at the time.聽

When I was arrested in middle school for destroying property, even the judge sentenced me to write an essay about positive ways to deal with my anger, along with a letter of apology to the property owner.

It would seem that everyone agreed I was better off with a pen in my hand.聽

Parents need helpregulating their children's social media. A government ban would help.

At 48 years old I鈥檓 still learning to use my words. These days I鈥檓 just coping at the keyboard, telling stories of the everyday people in our community who matter. People like my mom who deserve to have their stories told, deserve to have their voices lifted.聽聽

I used to think that writing was my immortality, but really it鈥檚 my mother鈥檚. Her name deserves better than a mention in a caption under a smashed up Toyota on Page 1.聽

I don鈥檛 need to celebrate her on Mother鈥檚 Day. I celebrate her every time our name appears on a byline.聽

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is the community engagement and opinion editor for The Louisville Courier Journal, where this column originally published. She can be reached via email at BFeldkamp@Gannett.com or on social media:聽

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