Whether this is your first Mother’s Day as a bereaved person or your 50th, Mother’s Day brings all of us pause. As we take time to think about our own mothers or perhaps the children we are missing that made us mothers – it’s important that we be present with the reality of those relationships. If you can be with your mom and your children are well – you should freely have the full joy of this day. Take pictures, speak from your heart, and try to make clear memories of the sweetness of health and family.
If your relationships are no longer tangible and you are grieving for your mother or child, you may be dreading this Mother’s Day. But there is an intentional design behind the annual commemoration of Mothers and Fathers and it doesn’t preclude the deceased. These holidays exist to honor life and celebrate our significant relationships – past or present. Pausing each year to pay special attention to these relationships gives us gifts of perspective and appreciation. Practicing a meaningful observation of these holidays is healthy and full of meaning for us.
I want to invite you to prepare for this Mother’s Day – to intentionally and thoughtfully create your ways of remembering. Don’t let Mother’s Day sneak up on you and don’t miss the meaning it could hold for you.
So, plan in advance – it will help to take away the dread or anxiety tethered to this day. Here are some ideas for things you could do:
- Visit an important site connected with your loved one. This could be their grave, a childhood home, or that favorite ice cream spot you visited on special occasions. It can be so helpful to get out of the house and go somewhere. Being a part of the world and enjoying the sacredness of a memory-filled place is a helpful way to honor the day.
- Make an effort to say their name aloud to someone. Saying their name is an incredibly simple and powerful way to honor and remember your loved one.
- Explore your memories. Look through some old photos, savor the nostalgia, and share some stories with a friend or loved one.
- Honor their presence in your life. Consider a few of your favorite attributes of your mother or child. Share these thoughts by raising a glass at your family brunch or write a thank you note to your loved one for all they’ve taught you.
These elements won’t take away the sting of grief but they will give you a place to focus that energy. Stifling or avoiding these opportunities to mourn, remember and cherish are unhealthy ways to go through these days. There is relief and gratefulness for people who give the time and effort, even just a few minutes, to honor our loved ones who have died. Don’t miss it, be in it.