This Sunday, May 8th is Mother’s Day—the day we set aside to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our moms. But for those who have lost their mother, this once happy day often becomes a day of somber reflections, and a painful reminder of one they so dearly love and miss. For some, the feelings become so painful they refuse to acknowledge the day in any way, shape, or form. But is avoidance really the healthiest way to approach the day if you’ve lost your mother? Perhaps it is, if the loss was recent, unexpected, or tragic. In such cases, it may even be advised. However, if we fail to acknowledge the day because we are stuffing our feelings of loss, pain, or grief, then it’s probably not a healthy approach.
The best thing we can do is to make the day one of celebration and remembrance. One way to celebrate mom is by performing one or more special deeds this Mother’s Day (or any day, for that matter) in her honor. Choose something meaningful and life affirming, and something that reminds you of her.
Plant something–a flower, a tree, a small rose bush or shrub. There is something about plants, and the act of planting that reminds us that life, and love, continue to bloom and grow even when separated by death. The plant will become a living memorial, a source of encouragement, and a tangible reminder of the nurturing and never-ending love between mother and child—regardless of our age.
Write her a letter. Many times the feelings we have for (or about) our moms go unexpressed—especially if it has been some time since her passing. Likely we don’t share as much about her with others anymore. We’re afraid they may not understand our long-term and ongoing process of grief. But the thoughts and feelings we experience stem from a heart of love, and love should always be expressed. Putting our thoughts in writing is an excellent way of processing these feelings.
Speak to her. Yes, it’s ok to do this. Studies have shown that the greater majority of the population believes in an afterlife of some sort. If, in fact, we’re right, then perhaps the spirit of our loved one is not as far or as separated from us as we think—perhaps they are even within earshot. But if not, speaking aloud still provides many benefits. It sharpens the memories we have of our loved one, and this makes us feel more near to them. It also helps us to keep details and important family history straight for future generations. And verbalization also helps us to resolve both positive and negative feelings. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings out loud. There is amazing power in the spoken word.
Shift your mentality. The way we deal with difficult situations is significantly impacted by our mentality, and how we think about the situation. Those who have experienced loss must choose whether to grieve in a healthy way (by acknowledging feelings of loss while taking comfort in memories), or an unhealthy way (by focusing solely on the loss). Just remember, your mother would want you to choose the healthiest way possible.
Losing a mother is a devastating experience; this cannot be denied. However, we can learn to honor our mothers in memory, as we honored them in life.
Warmest thoughts to/of all moms . . . those present . . . those departed . . . gone, but never forgotten.
Have a Blessed Mother’s Day.