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Coping with loss on Mother’s Day

It is occasions such as Mother’s Day when we feel the loss of a loved one most deeply. It is a marking of time, another year on, another twelve months we have made it through without that special person.

For many women, loosing a mother facilitates climbing up the ladder of generations, instead of wedged in the middle, running around after both children and elderly parents, we find ourselves on the top rung, the old Mum that if we are lucky, is gifted with bouquets and outings.

For anyone who is grieving the loss of a mother or of a child, this a time of deep liminality, a numbness, half in the present and half engrossed in bittersweet memories of our loved one. 

How do we cope? Most important to take time out from social media. Why compound the sense of loneliness and grief by viewing posts showing photos of happy smiling families or of other people reliving painful memories. Dwelling upon other peoples lives will definitely not enrich your own.

What can we do to mark the occasion without our relative? The obvious is a traditional dutiful trip to the cemetery with bunches of spring flowers to place on our loved one’s grave. Keeping busy is another option, perhaps baking Mom’s favourite cake and indulging in those precious memories for a short while. Commemorating them by planting a rose bush, tree or container. A simple ritual of remembrance, raising a glass to them, lighting a candle or a visit to their favourite location. Creating something in celebration of the wonderful person she was, a collage, a painting or as in my case, writing a poem.

Perhaps though, we should mark the occasion in different ways? It is the grieving who need the tender love and care. Could we not treat ourselves? Allow ourselves a day off from our usual weekend chores, a little treat from the shops? Spending time outside enjoying the spring weather, sitting in the sun listening to the birdsong. Spending quality time with family or friends enabling us to create some new happy memories.

However we choose to spend the day, our mothers would want what they always have done for us – only the best! For us to concentrate upon the happy memories and to remember them fondly with love and affection, whilst endeavouring bravely to continue our lives without them.

I Miss You Mum by Katie Gorvin-Hughes
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