It started several weeks ago when I became instantly triggered for the day to come. I saw my first TV commercial showcasing a heart necklace with several birthstones highlighting the shape. Mother’s Day was coming ...
That precious necklace I saw on TV is a gift so many mothers have. I am not a mother, but I do have a necklace similar. It was my mother’s necklace. My brother and I gifted it to her when we were kids, and she wore it all the time. After her death, it was passed to me with the rest of her jewelry.
It's a token I hold sometimes when she feels too far away — something I can see and instantly brings me back to her long hugs and reminds me of the little things about her. Like the way she always moved my hair out of my face. Or how she always smelled like baby oil when she would work in the yard. She was always working on her “freckle tan” because she did not tan, she just got more freckles. These are the memories that make me smile, but also make me wish she was still around.
When I see Mother's Day advertisements, part of me becomes bitter and jealous of the people who can honor their mothers. I instantly grow a pit in my stomach knowing that this day can bring me so much sadness and loneliness.
But, as the years progress after the death, each Mother’s Day gets a bit easier. It is still a day that triggers many feelings and heightens my awareness of my mother’s death, but I have found a few ways that help me get through. Here's what I have learned over the years to make the most out of this spring day:
Avoid social media.
This is probably number one! If you are an avid social media user like most people are, you know that if you don't post it, did it even happen? There are so many people who love to honor their mothers on Facebook with a picture and sweet message of gratitude to the woman who gave them life. This is so deserving as mothers should truly be cherished. But, if this is something that triggers your sadness, like it does for me, it is best to avoid social media for the day.
Have a plan for what you will do.
This is a great idea for those people who can benefit from a little healthy distraction. Whenever there is any big day such as the death anniversary or her birthday, I like to plan something fun to do that day. Sometimes, I am one to overthink things and if I must sit alone on a sad day, my thoughts spiral and I end up getting down on myself. Each year on Mother’s Day, I plan something fun. I plan something that always makes me happy. This year, I plan to treat myself to some ice cream and work on a DIY project I have been meaning to do for ages. Whatever it is, plan something that will make you happy and just do it!
Do something to honor your mother.
If you are the type to dive headfirst into your feelings, think of something to do to honor your mother’s life. Whether it is planting a tree, visiting the grave site or playing her favorite music and dancing around the kitchen singing at the top of your lungs (I may be guilty of doing this to a Celine Dion song or two), do not be afraid to feel those feelings. But, I also recommend having someone to talk to if you choose that route — which brings me to my last tip …
Designate a person for support.
We are not made to take on all the world’s problems alone. Find a friend, family member, pastor, neighbor, someone you know who will respond. Everyone feels love different ways so I encourage you to find someone you can rely on to pull you out of a hole you can potentially spiral in to. I have a friend who always know those days that are hard for me. She either checks on me or makes me a priority to respond to. I know if I need to let something out, she will be someone who will hear me out.
All in all, take the day for what it is. Have a plan and reflect on the good, happy times you had with your mother. Feel her love in everything you do and enjoy the memory of her life.
Erin’s House is here to support our community through their grief. If you are in need of resources or support, please reach out to us to speak with a Child Grief Specialist: Info@ErinsHouse.org or 260.423.2466.
Written by: Emily Mock | Family Support Coordinator