Holidays may remind us to celebrate what we have, but they can also ignite our grief for what we have lost.
Many face a Mother’s Day without a mom. Their stories vary. Their mom might have died recently or long ago. Some lost their mothers when they were still children. Others are estranged from their mom. Those who have a mom with dementia might be facing an ambiguous loss, with a mom who is physically present but cognitively absent.
I am also thinking of all moms who have lost their children. Again, their stories will vary, but they share a common sorrow.
For those coping with a loss, I hope that you will plan carefully for this upcoming holiday, and think about self-care. Having a plan, which you can flexibly change depending on how you are feeling, is often helpful as you approach the day.
Rituals may provide comfort. Some ideas include planting a tree in the memory of your loved one, visiting their favorite park, lighting a candle, looking at photos, or doing a charitable act in their name.
Being with your favorite and most safe and understanding people can also provide comfort. Plan to be with someone who will be supportive of you, and who will understand if you are tearful or angry, needing silence or needing to talk.
There is no timeline to grief. Even if your loss was long ago, this day might bring up a lot of feelings. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
I realize that everyone may not agree, but I will share one of my beliefs that brings me comfort, just in case it is helpful to others. For me, even after a loss, we do not have to lose our role. We can still see ourselves as daughters, or mothers. Our identities are impacted by our important relationships, and we internalize pieces of those who are beloved to us.
Sending out good thoughts and wishes.