Another memorial service today. The mother of a couple of my long time friends, in a small gathering at a funeral home.
In the fifties and the early sixties, a single mother had a tough time making it. People would talk, there weren't many social services, and, of course, it is hard raising four kids with two parents, much less on your own. I would go over to my friends' house, she would always be there, but she was a little different from most of the other parents. She always talked to to me, asked me what I thought about things, expressed an interest in what we were doing. Perhaps she was just checking up on who her children were associating with, but nevertheless, she did communicate.
At the service one of her sons gave a heartfelt appreciation, the other children also spoke. Their father, who had abandoned them when they were young, was not spoken of. They made their family work in their own fashion, sometimes it has to be that way. There are many ways to have a family, those of us with children usually try to be a good parent (or a good enough parent) and really, what is the alternative? To try to be an evil parent? (Or just give up?)
She had lived a long life, within her modest means, she was active until only a few months ago. No apologies are ever needed for a life well-lived. No single mother need ever apologize for her life, if she is trying to be a good enough parent. A family is what you make it. She made hers, and it shows favorably in her children, it shows.