If you had the chance to tell your mother what often goes unsaid, what would it be?
As Mother’s Day approaches, an emotional video shows a slice of the breadth and layers of feelings, connections and complexities people have with their moms.
What Will You Say, was created by Vancouver-based Echo Storytelling Agency. The concept came from the agency’s president Samantha Reynolds, who wanted to show the power of story and how inherently we’re all about emotional connection.
No stranger to publishing personal memoirs, Reynolds hit us in our hearts last year when the agency produced the Father’s Day video Tell Them Now, which went viral. Seventeen fathers and their children from Vancouver showed their vulnerabilities to each other, and judging by the number of clicks, it resonated with people.
This year the focus is on mom. The three minute video shows a series of people, young and old, talking about their moms and regardless of what their experiences are, there’s no getting past the raw emotion and vulnerability.
“The last one was ‘pick up the phone and call your dad’, this one is ‘pick up the phone and call your mom’ and get past the Hallmark threshold… and get a little deeper,” Reynolds said.
“It seems to be hitting people and raising bigger questions.”
An only child raised by a single mom, Reynolds recalls the experience as being “pretty intense” and an “all-consuming influence” in her life. In a blog post, Reynolds explains her inseparable relationship with her mother as a young girl to feeling free when she moved away to university, but then relying on her again when she became a working mother of two children.
“Now that my mom is in her late seventies, the tenderness I feel towards her is like a strange ache. I feel her generosity, compassion and resourcefulness inside of me like a tangible inheritance. Meanwhile, I try to ignore the signs of her aging, her slowing down, her forgetfulness, the clench of my heart each time one of her friends passes away.”
Relationships with our mothers can be far from perfect, but then no relationship, no life story, ever is.
Working on this project Reynolds says what she found incredibly interesting was no matter what question they first asked, the emotion was right on the surface.
“One question like ‘Tell us about your mom’ and it was as if we nicked this well that just sprung out, and it was surprising to them. A lot of them said, ‘Why am I crying?'”
WATCH: Online journalist Paula Baker shares reaction to the Mother’s Day video celebrating the love we have for our moms.
From little kids being adorable to others who no longer have their mothers or dealt with mothers that struggled with addiction, the video packs a powerful emotional punch.
Relationships with our mothers ebb and flow — is there something universal to that experience or is everyone’s relationship with their mother totally unique?
Reynolds says making this video and seeing people’s vulnerabilities and the regrets they shared showed her the experience of a mother is profound, regardless of what that experience is, it leaves an emotional mark on everyone.
“We invited sons and daughters to share stories about their moms, and give them a chance to tell their moms what often goes unsaid,” Reynolds wrote in her blog.
“I hoped this eclectic group of individuals would speak to some universal truth about motherhood. I hoped it would reassure mothers they don’t have to be perfect yet would also underscore how important moms are (whether they think they’re doing a good job or not)… The results were even more powerful than I hoped.”
The Mother’s Day campaign includes the hashtag #WhatWillYouSay to help motivate people to connect with those that they love.