Mother’s Day for the Grieving

Mother’s Day for the Grieving

I recently came across a friend requesting prayers for a family in her community. When asked about what happened she shared the news that the family’s oldest child, a 5 year old boy, had died the day before.

As I read through the shock wave of reactions and felt my own sorrow and nausea overwhelm me, and then I realized that Mother’s Day was just 8 days away for this poor mother. While she has 2 other children who will wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day” there will be a horrible emptiness where that other sweet little voice should be.

I’ve heard from many moms sharing in support group settings (if they lost their only child) how they still feel like a mom – that’s because they still are a mom. The absence of the child doesn’t change the identity of the parent – once a mom, always a mom. It’s the same when a parent dies, we don’t cease being sons or daughters, the connection doesn’t disappear even though it can feel like it does.

I feel that this blog has a responsibility to hear the voices of those who find Mother’s Day painful. This blog is dedicated to those who have lost a mother or a child, to those who have suffered through years of infertility and to those who’s mother-child relationships are strained and painful.

Mother’s Day isn’t always easy to celebrate, but it is good. It’s good to remember, to revisit times of hope, of freedom from worry, perhaps the days of our youths when “Mom” was a heavenly word that promised a bandaid for that cut knee or a hug after a hard day.

I am reminded of a story I heard recently from Doug Manning, a new friend of mine. He writes about woman in his congregation who’s 18 month old child died unexpectedly of what seemed like a normal case of the croup. Doug writes,

“I have always thought she was brilliance under pressure. Her statement was a flash of insight in a time of darkness – a flash of insight which ultimately changed my career and my life . . .

The young mother was crying hysterically. It is strange that we cannot allow tears. Nothing is more natural than to cry. Nothing gets as quick a reaction from us as someone crying out of control Everyone there that night began to react:

“There, there – now get a hold of yourself.”

“You can’t carry on like this.”

“Come on now – stop crying.”

Suddenly she stopped, stepped back, looked at them and said,

“Don’t take my grief from me. I deserve it. I am going to have it.”

I hope this philosophy can be a part, as you need it to be, of your Mother’s Day and a part of your life. If you need the day, a few hours, 10 minutes to have your grief, have it. Take it, you deserve it.

I also want to encourage you to tell stories, relive happier times, and find pieces of happiness to hold on to. Maybe even make time to honor those you are missing with some practices you can share with others.

As you are gathered together with your family, propose a toast to your loved one, share a memory you treasure about them and invite others to share their memories as well. The conversation may eventually move off topic, but stories will be shared, the name of your loved one will be heard, and you will be reminded of the precious fact that they haven’t been forgotten. They existed.

Wishing all of you, a meaningful Mother’s Day.

*to learn more about Doug’s story, read his book Don’t Take My Grief Away From Me

|| what do you think?

– Have you ever had a Mother’s Day that was unlike any other? Changed by a loss or broken relationship?

– What ways have you remembered those people that are missing from your family gathering?

– What do you think about Doug’s story? Have you ever felt like that poor mother?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.

42 Comments

  1. Shayna Mallik says:

    Wow Molly what a great and inspirational blog! It is so true I think we sometimes get busy in our day to day activities and forget once a mother always a mother. Just like once a daughter/son always a daughter/son. Mother’s day is always such a special day for me because I get to celebrate my mom, who is just amazing and so caring! I always give my mom thanks on a day to day basis for all that she does but o Mother’s Day it is even more special because it is a day dedicated to her! Again that you for such a great blog about this great holiday!

    Shayna

  2. Lauren says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story! Over the years Mother’s Day has been easier and it has become a time to reflect and share stories. Your words are comforting to those who have lost their mom and thank you for reminding us to celebrate them!

  3. Rosemary says:

    Thank you, Molly, for sharing this blog! Mother’s Day can be a good time to celebrate the unique mother-child relationship, and yet it may be very painful for so many people who have lost a mother or a child. I love your suggestions for recognizing the loss and for celebrating the good times and memories. Your ideas can give us an opportunity to find comfort and healing on what could have been a very difficult day.

  4. Joe Lavoie says:

    Molly
    This is a tough time for me and my family as this was the first mothers day spent in a care facility with my mom who is ill the mood of my brothers and sisters is not what you would normally have , however we all told our mom we love her even if she could not respond verbally back to us you could see it in her eyes . Since I was away that day I was on the phone and julie my sister said mom blinked her eyes when she heard my voice just the fact that she is still with us for this time I am considered blessed and will remember this time forever. Thanks so much again for sharing.
    sincerely Joe Lavoie

  5. Erin Fodor says:

    This mother’s day was pretty rough for my family. My brother was in a serious automobile accident early last Tuesday morning. He is recovering well, we as a family are just going through the repercussions. I received the call that morning, and then had to tell my mother, so we could head to the emergency room. I have not seen my mother that much of a wreck since we found out my father had been killed in an accident years prior. So this mother’s day we were very thankful yet reminded of just how fast your life can be changed forever. And to answer your second question Molly, Every year at father’s day, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, I try to make it to some form of large body of water since my fathers ashes are scattered at sea; and let off a balloon with a message for him. Thanks for the wonderful blog.
    -Erin

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