MOTHER'S DAY AFTER THE LOSS OF A CHILD
Couragious TCF Members
Beloved Mum & Dad of Alfie 27/10/2012 -02/10/2013
Loved Mum & Dad of Elsie and Bertie
Loved Mum & Dad of Elsie and Bertie
How To Handle Mother’s Day After Losing A Child
by Paula Stephens |
by Paula Stephens |
Many people consider Mother’s Day to be a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ drummed up by greedy retailers. And maybe it is. I read the other day the average Mother’s Day gift is $172.00. But $172.00 won’t bring our beloved children back and Mother’s Day, sans the Hallmark card, becomes a day when we are surrounded with reminders of our loss.
I believe that part of our healing journey is to offer our wisdom and insight into those who have come after us, and those who are just now coming out of the darkness regardless of time. I know for me, I never thought about how I would handle Mother’s Day after losing a child – until I had to. You are such a source of profound healing- pay it forward!
Here are my Top 4 Tips on how to handle Mother’s Day after losing a child
1. Grief is a dynamic process, what worked last year might not work this year and what works this year will change next. Leave yourself open to new ways of approaching where you are. Also, if you have a tough year, don’t get attached to thinking, “that’s how it going to be for the rest of my life!”. Accept it as simply being a tough year and look to find ways to improve it.
2. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You are the only one who can determine what you need. You are as individual as the relationship you had with your loved one. Honour your uniqueness.
3. Know that it’s not just ‘the day’ that makes it hard. Often it’s the days leading up to and following it that weigh on us. The anticipation and the letdown can be very exhausting. Set aside 10 minutes to check in with your self – How’s your energy, your mood, your body, your emotional state?
4. Don’t be afraid to feel like you’re moving forward – We don’t HAVE to stay stuck, we can choose happiness… If for no other reason than you, of all people, deserve it!
Tips & Wisdom From Incredible Mums Who Know
'In all my grief on the first Mothers’ Day without my daughter, I forgot to call my own mother. Just before bed that night four years ago, I remembered that I still had a mother. A mother who was worried about me. A mother who had lost a granddaughter and was grieving herself. So I guess my tip for newly bereaved mothers would be to call your mom. If your mother is no longer alive, do something in her honour and be happy she didn’t have to go through what you are going through. And then be good to yourself. Because that’s what your kid would be doing on this day. Be kind to yourself FOR your son or daughter who died.' ~Robin B
'I am trying to keep my sons name alive by supporting a foundation that helps families with a child with cancer.' ~Hulya
'This is my “trick” to help me make it through all the special days/holidays in which I spend with family. The rub comes when they expect me to be happy and celebrate while I feel like I’m dishonouring the memory of my child by being so. My “trick” is to PREGRIEVE. I select a day in which I celebrate the life of my child who died. Then later on the holiday I can more freely attend the other celebrations'.
Make time for grief. If I don’t do this and just keep pushing it off. The grief will seek me out and make itself known with no warning and usually at the most inopportune times. It is ok to be….angry, happy, sad, frustrated, depressed, fatigued, passionate, etc. Grief takes so many different shapes and sizes. No two are the same.' ~Jenna
'We are coming up on my third Mother’s Day without Kade. A couple of my girlfriends were running the Rockies Homerun for the Homeless 5K with their families, the race fell ON Mother’s Day (this year unfortunately it does not). It was perfect. My hubby and I trained a little for it, did it with friends, and had a patio lunch with them afterward. I have learned that it is important to have *a plan.*' ~Jenny R.
When my son died, my thoughtful sister in law made ribbons for us to wear to the memorial service from his blankets. With this energy, I can take him with me everywhere. On Mother’s Day, I pin this ribbon over my heart, and in spirit, he joins us in the celebration.' ~Jennifer R.
'I like to get inexpensive flower pots, plant some pansies in them and put on porches of friends that aren’t expecting anything:) makes me feel good and not think about my sorrow!!!!' ~Saraha
'I guess my advice is maybe more for families as a whole… Don’t feel you can’t ‘celebrate’ the day. You are a mummy and it is as much your day as any other mother.' ~Hannah
'Since I have other children I feel like I need to let them have the day. I spend time alone in the morning before the day starts and remind myself I am creating memories with my surviving children'. ~Pam
'Give yourself permission and grace to NOT celebrate if it doesn’t feel right. Mother’s Day for a bereaved mother is not the time to bow to the expectations of others.' ~Amy
'I switched around what I’m doing at work that day so I’ll be working with 2 special people & we can make it a nice day:).' ~ Carol
'We lost Patrick the week before Mother’s Day. I dreaded the day, but dread doesn’t keep those days at bay. Time passes the same with or without your child. Early in the day, Patrick’s 12 pall bearers, all very close, rang my doorbell. They presented me with a James Avery bracelet, from Patrick and them. I’ve never taken it off. It’s my permanent Mother’s Day gift. I suggest that you purchase something that you wear every day that reminds you that you’re still a mother to someone in Heaven. Dread is a poison that can ruin every month, every holiday of the year. I find that the dread is more painful than the day itself. I do acknowledge that there is a great deal of power in a holiday, for grieving people. But, I simply refuse to let it steal my entire life. Yes, I battle with special days, but I always win. My proof? It’s my 4th Mother’s Day. I may not like it, but it hasn’t taken me down. The Monday after, I will still be standing…I’m a survivor, scarred and battle-worn, but still standing.' ~Patti B.
'I have been walking this road for 23 years. Our son, Marc, was 18 when complications from a 4month battle with lymphoma ended his life. I would suggest to someone just starting, to make their child’s favourite desert and then eating it in his or her honour. Memories are so very important now , as this is all we have to keep our children alive in our hearts. And memories of those living years must not be overshadowed by the actual time of illness and death. There are more good memories than that. It also feels good to be doing something in remembrance of them. I have been serving cherry cheese cake for 22 Mother’s Days now and will continue the tradition.' ~Linda
'Last year I bought myself the most vivid flowers I could find at the store (with purple in them of course), “from Kade.”' ~Jenny
'Prior to the passing of my son I used to celebrate (brunch get together) with all the mom’s in my family. After his passing (and now) I find alone time (take a walk/get a massage, etc) to reflect how my life is, as a mom, right here right now. Mother’s Day has changed through the years for me. I am thankful to be at a place of gratitude now♡' ~Olivia
'I’m choosing to keep it low key this year. It’s only been three months since I lost my oldest daughter. I will do something low key with my youngest daughter. ..maybe a small meal out. Maybe I’ll read sitting out in the sun and take a nice walk'. ~Stephanie
On the days that have huge overwhelming significance to me (not just Mother’s Day), what I’ve done is plunge into volunteer work. I am working with my hands which for some reason feels very good, and I am helping others for a whole day. I volunteer weekly throughout the year, but make a special point to work all day on these two significant days. I sent love and support to all who will read this message.' ~Karla
We also practice honouring our son every year on his birthday with a hike in nature and a “release” of some kind-balloons or a boat float, for example. This event allows me to reserve other dates for their own purpose as well. Lots of love, understanding and forgiveness-self to self.' ~Jennifer R.
Live in the sunshine of your loved one’s life, not the shadow of their death.