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Writing the Film Mother’s Day After Living the Day

In 2014 when I rode my motorcycle out of my mother’s driveway with tears in my eyes, blood pasting my sock to my ankle, my throat raw, I thought, gosh, that was like a movie. The emotions were so intense (both loving and challenging), the conversation so explosive, but I didn’t do anything with it. I didn’t even talk about it.

That’s a problem. All too common of a problem.

The stigma of mental illness plus the stigma of keeping family struggles private isolate so many of us.

It took another mother asking me, “Travis, do you know why my son hates me? Why is he so irritable all the time?” I realized we weren’t alone. And eventually found the strength to write a transcription account of that difficult day where my mother’s life was changing so much.

Mother’s Day was born, and I called my mother. We reassessed those events for the first time, and she gave her blessing while also asking to not read or watch the film as it may reopen wounds that have healed. And through the process of working on the film, and doing a lot of talking about the subject of family struggles and mental illness, I learned just how common it is and how strong of a connection we can make with others to get through it. I learned essentially that vulnerability and talking honestly creates space for others to be vulnerable and talk through what’s on their mind.

Fear breeds fear, but courage breeds courage.

Pan-Am Films’s goal in telling this story, mostly volunteer, is to help others recognize the realities others go through and have the solidarity and courage to move forward with their own. Then lastly, to connect them to resources like those at Spectrum Health. We greatly appreciate the service Spectrum Health provides to the community and hope projects like this bring awareness to mental illness and available resources.

Mother’s Day plays thru Thursday June 24 at the North Park Theatre. Spectrum Health is one of the film’s sponsors.

Trailer and more information at

By Travis Carlson

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