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.
This past week I asked everyone who is my email list to send me their best wisdom about how to handle Mother’s Day after losing a child. I also posted it on my Facebook page and asked for people to share tips on that support other bereaved moms. Wow… I’ve been overwhelmed with love, compassion, insight and kindness. This includes the amazing women who have said, “I have no idea what to do, help me!”.
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
- 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.
- 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. Honor your uniqueness.
- 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 let down 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?
- 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 Mom’s Who Know
The remainder of this post is a summary of how other bereaved Mother’s have handled Mother’s Day after losing a child. I have had to edit some a bit, but have made sure to leave the message untouched.
AND – I want you to comment at the end. Share your own wisdom – Your voice needs to be shared! What you have to say could make a profound difference in someone’s life.
- 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 honor 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 guess my advise 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
- Last year I bought myself the most vivid flowers I could find at the store (with purple in them of course), “from Kade.” ~Jenny
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 favorite desert and then eating it in his or her honor. 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
- 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 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 everyday 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.
- This 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 dishonoring 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. ~Anne M.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- I am trying to keep my sons name alive by supporting a foundation that helps families with a child with cancer. ~Hulya
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Now it’s your chance to create healing and be someone else’s inspiration! Comment below and tell us how you handle Mother’s Day after losing a child.