Many families across America will gather to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 10th. This is a beautiful day that might include Church, brunch, flowers, gifts, hugs and lots of love.
However, for many people, Mother’s Day can be a difficult and painful day; a day when death and loss are brought into the spotlight.
For those who have experienced a death of a child or the death of their mother; an estrangement from your child or mother; a miscarriage or the inability to bear a child, this day to celebrate motherhood can be challenging.
Like other “special” days, the anticipation of the day is often more excruciating then the actual day itself. It helps to have a plan in place for the day.
Give yourself permission to do as much or as little as you feel you can. For example, you might tell your family that you will attend Church and join them for breakfast but that you are unable to stay for the celebration afterwards.
If you are grieving the death of a baby, child or mother you can honor their memory by performing a ritual such as planting a tree or flower, lighting a candle or releasing a balloon. You might want to do an activity that your deceased loved one enjoyed such as watching their favorite movie, listening to the music they appreciated, playing golf or cooking their favorite dish.
If you are estranged from your son or daughter or mother, you might try writing a letter explaining your feelings. You can decide whether or not to send the letter but just by expressing your feelings you have moved forward in the reconciliation process and you should feel some peace.
If you always dreamed of being a mother and are unable to conceive, it might help to be a “surrogate” mother to a niece or nephew or a friend’s child. Most children could benefit from another adult role model in their lives. If being around other children or mothers on this day is too difficult, make plans such as traveling, working in the yard, going on a bike ride, etc.
In summary, Mother’s Day will be different for you if you have lost a loved one. To mitigate the pain of grief:
- Make a plan for the day.
- Give yourself permission to say no to celebrations if you are not up for it.
- Honor your loved one.
- Know that you are not alone in your sad or angry or resentful feelings.
- Be patient with yourself.