Coping with Mothers’ Day when you don’t have a mum

It was just after the Easter break when I was walking through the grocery store when that awful feeling started to form in my stomach. I remember thinking to myself “Already??? We have just finished Easter!” For the majority of women that have lost their mum, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know exactly the feeling that I’m talking about. That feeling of dread when it should be a feeling of happiness. That feeling of ‘oh my! There is so much Mothers’ day promotional advertising that I am over it’ or ‘I am sick of it and I don’t want to see it anymore’. And as much as we try and fight the feelings, the lead up to this day and even the day itself can leave us feeling a little jealous too.

Jealous of the lady that you don’t even know, in some catalogue for a store you hardly ever shop at, is looking over the moon because her children bought her slippers for Mothers’ Day.

Jealous that our friends get to talk about not knowing what to buy their mum for Mothers Day, or the ones that have already got their Mothers’ Day plans all sorted and a bragging about it to you and you just sit back and smile. You sit, smile and nod when all you really want to so is scream “WHO cares what you buy her! Just give her a damn hug, hold her tight and tell her how much you love her!”

After all that, when the dread and jealousy has left we’re over here just feeling sad. Sad that you don’t get to hug your mum, sad you don’t get to call her, sad about how long it has been since you last saw her, smelt her or felt her. For someone of us, the sadness might come because you have to look at her picture again to remind you of the finer details of her face you had forgotten. Sad you have your own children that want to spoil you and all you can think about is being sad that you don’t have your mum.

Whether it is dread, jealousy, sadness, anger or whatever other emotion you are feeling in the lead up to Mothers’ Day I want you to know it is ok. It is ok to want to feel all these emotions and more. It is ok to want to shut yourself off from the world and not even acknowledge the day even exists. It is ok to sit and cry. It is ok to long for your mum because no matter how old you are or how long ago it was that you lost your mum, we all need our mum.

While all these emotions are normal the one thing I have learnt about losing my mum and grief, is the more I tried to suppress the feelings and ignore them the bigger the eruption will be on the other side (losing control of your emotions).

It is ok to sit in your sadness and take time for yourself. It is ok to hide away for a little while before emerging as a stronger person for having gotten through another Mothers Day. What I don’t want you to do is to “pretend to put on a happy face” so you can get through the day or “I need to do this for my kids”, while it is true that you might need to be there for your family, it is also important to be there for yourself to acknowledge all that you are feeling.

While I have become much better at handling my emotions around these types of days there are a few different things that I have done to help get through them.

Here are 5 simple strategies that have help me cope with Mothers’ day.

1. Journal –Write down all that you are feeling about the day. Even if you don’t know howyou’re feeling write about it anyway. The simple act of journalling can help you get everything out of yourhead and on to paper so it isn’t just building up in there. Remember this isyour journal, it is only for your eyes so write what you want but remember tobe kind to yourself too.

  • 2. Go someplace that reminds you of her – Every year I like to go to my mums favouritecafé in my local city.  It isn’t close tomy house, It would usually require an hour train ride.  But is something I do for myself and a waythat I like to remember her.  It alsohelped my reflect on how she would feel at that café, which is something that brings me comfort. Whether it is her grave site or a place she loved tovisit make the intention of going there. Be surrounded in her presences.Remember the good times or remember the bad times … Just remember.
  • 3. Start anew tradition – While my only new tradition is going to place that my mum loved to visit, it is a new tradition for me. While I like to remember the old tradition of taking my mum out to anice restaurant, I much rather my new tradition. If you have children is important to start making new traditions so that your children have a memory that they will remember one day.

    4. Worry about your own peace because nobody else will – I learnt very quickly that even though I was extremely sad about not having a mum for Mothers’ Day, nobody else was sad with me. Nobody else knew my pain and it was not something I wanted to share anyway. While I didn’t want to talk about or share my pain I didn’t want it rubbed in my face either. So the one thing I do every year around Mothers’ Day is deactivate my personal Instagram and Facebook account. If for whatever reason I can’t deactivate them for that day, I will delete the apps off my phone.  Like I said, nobody else can or will relate to this day but you, so you do whatever you have to to keep your own peace. If that is getting away from your family, being by yourself, crying, if its disappearing for the day and not taking any calls then do that.  Do whatever it is that will help you feel at ease.

    5. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you have, allow yourself to be, allow yourself to cry. Like I said before, the more you might suppress certain emotions the more they comeback with a vengeance. Allow yourself to acknowledge that you are sad or angry and that this is an awful day.  Acknowledging these things, saying them out loud won’t make the pain any less bearable but it will help you to get through it.

    Just remember that this is one day in your grief journey.  One day that will neither make you or break you.  Acknowledge the day, escape it or be part of it, whatever you decide to do make sure it’s what’s best for you.

    If you have any tips on what helps you get through the day be sure to leave them in the comment section below. 

    Be kind. Stay humble

    Amany x

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    Published by Amy

    teacher and writer

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