Mothers Forever is a verse novel that examines the lives of three characters beginning in 1887 and ending in 1980. The three are brought together by their sons' deaths due to military service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. To help cope with their grief, the three characters join an organization called the Gold Star Mothers, whose purpose is to help mothers manage the pain of losing a child in military service.
The story begins in Hamorton, PA with the birth of Martha Walker, the granddaughter of a runaway slave. Martha grew up to become a successful businesswoman and strong civil rights activist. She was a dedicated friend to Alice Hamlin, who was also born in Hamorton, PA. Alice's parents accepted the historical importance of Hamorton as an Underground Railroad stop and passed the lessons of tolerance, integration, and activism to their daughter. Martha and Alice are lifelong friends, who shared an art business, and steadfastly helped each other cope with the deaths of their husbands and sons.
The third character is Isabella Smith, an immigrant from Northern Ireland. Isabella was raised in poverty and faced discrimination as a Catholic. She worked as a housekeeper and custodian in Kennett Square, PA. She befriended Martha and Alice after her son is killed in World War II. Isabella also raised her grandson, who served and was killed in Vietnam. Even though she became an American citizen and was proud of her new country, Isabella chose to return to Northern Ireland for her final years.
Martha, Alice, and Isabella came together as a result of their personal tragedies. However, they each found greater purpose through the Gold Star Mothers. They performed charity for veteran's hospitals and participated in parades as a way to let people know that mothers carry a great burden as a result of wars. They also provided support for other mothers who carried the grief of losing sons to war.