Surviving Mother’s Day when you no longer have your mum can be one of life’s toughest experiences.
What was once a beautiful day for togetherness and celebration often becomes the very opposite: no public display of love, cards and flowers. It can be confusing and upsetting and can reopen the wounds of loss.
Joy Fairhall, grief support expert, says that many people – whether newly bereaved or those who have lived without their mothers for years – are uncertain of how to handle their pain on a day of universal celebration.
“When you’re faced with visiting the cemetery rather than visiting your Mum for a loving hug you, often find yourself wishing you could just hide away all day until the day is finally over. It’s even worse when you consider there are often weeks of advertising leading up to day itself. But you have no gifts or cards to buy, no restaurants or visits to book, no cake to bake to thank your mother for her care and love.
“It’s especially hard if you’re a mum yourself or have family Mother’s Day celebrations. How do you deal with your emotions when you are surrounded with excitement and happiness and love?” With many Mums having children later in life you often find yourself in a situation where you are surrounded by love from young children and yet feeling overwhelmed and sad that your mum is no longer here with you.
It’s particularly challenging if you have recently lost your mother, with emotions quickly bubbling to the surface and reviving pain that you might have thought you’d dealt with, sending you back to square one. It can be difficult, too, to find ways to speak to others about your mother and to explain that she has died without causing discomfort and distress for everyone.
Having supported many clients to get through special days like Mother’s Day I’d like to share how to turn this Mother’s Day into a positive occasion to express love and celebration. Today I’ll share a simple strategy that will help you honour and acknowledge emotions and while allowing you some control and calm on the day and for those planned family events. It will also support you when you are surrounded with your little one’s excitement, happiness and love
Plan your day and what you want to do well ahead and make sure the plan is all about you, what you want and need for your wellbeing and support. You are the one who is feeling the way you are, you know what you want to do so don’t feel pressured to do things because you feel you ‘should’
Panicking about not feeling in control is the number one reason people wish they could hide away, so planning is a great way to bring some control back into your own hands as well as reducing any overwhelm
Get in early
If you feel you need to visit the cemetery or memorial place for your Mum, try and do it just before or after Mother’s Day. By doing this you’ll find it allows you to spend more time sitting quietly, to fully allow you time to be with your feelings, acknowledge them and let them out. It also means that if you are a Mum yourself you can be fully present on Mother’s Day for your kids.
Use mindful techniques such as breathing, to calm and reduce those rising overwhelming emotions allow you to feel calm and in control. If you need time on Mother’s Day go and find a quiet place and let the emotions rise, don’t supress them, it’s normal to grieve and bottling the emotions up is not healthy at all. There are many techniques which are useful for calming that rising tide of emotions to support and to calm and focus the mind. I’ve created my own calming method ‘3 Minutes to Calm’™ that you may find useful you can find here as my gift to you.
If you are having a family Mother’s Day celebration be aware of other family members emotions especially if you are a close family. Understanding that this Mother’s Day will be emotional and difficult and that it’s ok, it’s normal to grieve someone you loved with all your heart.
If it’s another gathering let the host know in advance that you may disappear for a few moments and need to be alone or quiet if it all gets too much. Informing them of this means they will understand and know to give you some much needed space instead of pushing to see what’s wrong with you. It’s like having a little protection shield around you allowing you to have some time alone, allow the emotions to release and gain back some control.
If you, like me, have lost your mum, please know that you aren’t alone. Everyone who has lost their mother deeply understands how you feel, they are far more understanding realise. Reach out for help if you need it, and you will nearly always find someone will be there for you.
Allow the emotions to arise, don’t hold them back, a hug always helps and talk about your Mum remember the laughs, what made her special and how she made you feel. Talk to your kids about her, share the fun, the love and show them why Mother’s Day is really celebrated, it’s not the commercial stuff, it’s all about the deep, deep love between a Mother and child.
Joy Fairhall – Connecting Mind, Body and Joy
When life throws a curveball, Joy Fairhall is the person you want in your corner.
Founder of Mind Body Joy, Fairhall brings personal insight and professional expertise to help find the
positive perspective to overcome and manage life-changing events.
Author of the book ‘The Empty Pillow Beside You’
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