Mother’s Day is complicated for me. On the one hand, I so much enjoy watching my children find creative ways to let me know how much they love me, while on the other hand, it’s a day that can rip off every scab from the loss of my own mom nearly 9 years ago.
With the passing of time, special days have become easier to handle and I find myself looking back with fond memories and smiling at everything she was to me far more often than the crushing grief that I once felt would never go away. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days that I simply would prefer to crawl back into bed and sob for hours, hurting and devastated that I can’t share my triumphs and struggles or even just a boring, cloudy afternoon with her. But those days are fewer and further between.
In years past, I have had to find ways to cope with Mother’s Day because more often than not, my husband has to work and I’m left to handle the shenanigans of my two littlest boys, who still don’t quite get the picture that this day is supposed to be about ME and who aren’t quite as in tune with the emotions it can dredge up.
One of the things that I have found that helps me to cope is to take time on special days, like Mother’s Day or her birthday, to honor her memory. By paying tribute to the person she was, I’m keeping her memory alive for myself and for my children who only knew her for a very short while.
We like to remember my mom as we sit down for family meals on special occasions. I still find myself wanting to prepare dishes that I know she enjoyed. And if someone almost burns the dinner rolls? Well, we all know mom is making her presence known.
We have volunteered for Compassion in her honor on the anniversary of her passing. Giving time to a ministry or cause on a day that we’re naturally inclined to think about her gave our service extra meaning. We could feel her with us and knew that she was proud that our support was on her behalf.
Creating a memory book, scrapbook, or video is an easy way to relive happier times and fond memories when you have lost someone dear. You’ll see their smile, recall fun times, and their voice and laughter will fill your head. While it was hard to look at pictures for a long time, now I enjoy showing them to my children and telling them stories about their Grammy.
If you are still in a place where you’re just not ready to face the memories, that is completely natural. Finding distractions that will take your mind off of the holiday can sometimes be the best thing when you’re still heavy in a grieving period. Call a friend and make a plan to go somewhere quiet or head out into a crowd that will simply keep your mind off feeling lonely. Don’t feel as if you need to face the day alone to keep from “spoiling” others’ fun. Those who support and care for you should understand your feelings and want to be there to see you through.
Whether you are celebrating your mother on Earth this Mother’s Day or finding ways to cope with her loss, I hope that you have a day filled with love, support, and create memories that will live on forever.