A visit to your local Hallmark card store can bring you to tears this time of year. It’s Mother’s Day, and you are facing it without your mother. Even if your mother passed many years ago, the loss and grief can overwhelm you. Regardless of how old you are, or how long it has been, these commemorative holidays are particularly challenging. The loss of people who play a key role in family traditions leaves an obvious hole in the holiday. Like a puzzle with missing pieces, the picture isn’t complete.
“Mother’s Day can be a special one even with loss,” explains Margaret Pancoast, BSW, a bereavement coordinator with Angelic Health Palliative & Hospice Care. “Life does go on, and no one, least your mother would want grief to overwhelm your life.”
As a way to honor your mother’s memory, Angelic Health is seeking your cherished “pearls of wisdom” from your mother and we will post on our Facebook page as a way to honor her memory. Send your mother’s favorite sayings to MBarham@angelic.health by May 8 for our Mother’s Day posting.
Additionally the Angelic Health bereavement team also offers the following suggestions to help you enjoy the memories and honor your mother on this special day.
• Share memories. Look through old family photos to inspire recollections.
• Let go of guilt. It is common to feel that you could or should have done more for a parent. It is always easier in retrospect to think of ways you could have spent more time with a loved one. If only you had known what you know now. Be content to know that you did all you could with the resources you had at the time. Guilt will overwhelm your fond memories of time you spent with your mother.
• It’s okay to cry. Face it, you are going to feel sad. Feeling the loss of your mother on Mother’s Day is an expected reaction. This is especially painful if this is your first Mother’s Day without her. Yet, like with guilt, try not to let your emotions overwhelm you. Let in those happy memories and enjoy them.
• Surround yourself with others who loved your mom. This is a good time to get together with family and friends. Having those around who were a part of her life will increase the feeling that she too is with you. If you can’t physically gather, call others who may also be feeling the loss.
• Celebrate the day in your own way. Plant flowers at her gravesite or your own home. Light a candle at church. Symbolically share that cup of coffee the two of you enjoyed together. If you’re celebrating the day with your family, say a few words about mom at your Mother’s Day dinner or brunch. Bring her into the day with you. Listen to your mother’s favorite song, wear her favorite color, or serve her special dessert as homage to her memory.
• Respect that with life comes changes. We know that death is a part of the life cycle and life is for the living. You honor mom best when you enjoy your life, yet you may have bouts of depression.
“It’s important to know that grief can hit at any time,” explained Pancoast, “It can come up many years later and can be triggered by another event such as a death or even a birth in the family.”
Hospice support is provided to family members for more than a year after the loss of a loved one. If you are experiencing overwhelming grief, you should reach out for professional intervention.