Amid the global Mother’s Day celebrations, Hollywood star and activist Angelina Jolie has paid tribute to women around the world who stand strong to protect their children in face of adversities, including a global pandemic at our doors.
The actress, who is mother to six children, including biological ones and those she has adopted over the years, reminisced about the grief of losing her own parent in a poignant essay she penned for the New York Times.
“I lost my mother in my thirties. When I look back to that time, I can see how much her death changed me. It was not sudden, but so much shifted inside. Losing a mother’s love and warm, soft embrace is like having someone rip away a protective blanket,” wrote Jolie in the NYT piece.
Her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died on January 27, 2007 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 56 at the time.
Jolie spoke about getting a tattoo in honour of her mother, a ‘W’ for ‘Winter’, which was a Rolling Stones track that her mother sung to her when she was baby. The actress went on to write: “She loved to feel alive. She loved to laugh. When I was down, she would break out those rock songs and remind me of the fire within.
“One of my early memories is of her lighting candles and placing Beatles albums around the house the night John Lennon was killed. The other time I recall her being worried about a public figure’s health was when Pope John Paul II was shot.”
Jolie also touched on her father, actor Jon Voight’s affair, which changed their lives. “It set her dream of family life ablaze. But she still loved being a mother. Her dreams of being an actor faded as she found herself, at the age of 26, raising two children with a famous ex who would cast a long shadow on her life. After she died, I found a video of her acting in a short film. She was good. It was all possible for her,” Jolie further wrote in the piece.
The filmmaker and human rights advocate also wrote about life coming full circle as she herself deals with motherhood. “I now know what it’s like to be alone and to wrap my coat around those I love. And I know the overwhelming sense of gratitude at being strong enough to keep them safe and warm. When your children come into your life, they immediately and forever come first,” Jolie wrote.
As a tribute, Jolie also took a moment to pay tribute to refugee mothers, saying that “through refugees, I’ve come to believe that a mother is the strongest person on earth”, while also speaking up for women who are facing abuse while protecting their children.
“Women who are abused aren’t “weak women,” they are often mothers,” wrote Jolie. “They are often trying to manage danger with no way out. They will stand between their child and harm.”
Jolie ended her essay by saying: “So to the mothers everywhere who feel helpless — yet who still give every last bit of energy, every last bite of food and the only blanket to their children — I honour you. And to anyone who is grieving this Mother’s Day, I hope you will find consolation and strength in your memories.”