With Mothers Day just over a week away, Cathy Sosoli, Lead for our Patient and Family Support Team, shares ways you can manage the day or help someone who is bereaved to do so. Please share this article with anyone who may find it useful.
“Well, a mother, a real mother, is the most wonderful person in the world. She’s the angel voice that bids you goodnight, kisses your cheek, whispers ‘sleep tight.’” – Peter Pan
Who is a mother?
Regardless of our gender our mother or mothering figure is someone we care about, value and treasure. It could be our biological mother, grandmother, a father (who has to be both mother and father), neighbour, older sibling, or friend.
Whoever it is, when that person dies, it leaves a huge gap; a gap that is often filled with sadness, loss, grief, anger, numbness, yearning or a multitude of other feelings.
If our relationship with our mother was difficult or even non-existent; if she wasn’t there for us or was abusive; or if we are estranged, then our grief can be complicated by the loss of our (perhaps secret or unacknowledged) ‘dream’ of a ‘’magical reconciliation’ and unanswered questions. No matter the situation, a gap can still exist.
In the lead up to Mother’s Day, we’re constantly reminded of this gap. When we no longer have our Mother or mothering figure this can be really hard. So how do we navigate such an ‘in your face’ event?
Asking yourself some questions might be helpful:
- What were your traditions prior to the death of your mother?
- What do you actually want to do to mark the occasion, if anything?
- What do others want you to do?
In our team, we encourage people to plan and there are two main approaches:
- To engage
- To escape
Before Mother’s Day, it’s a good idea to bring anyone close to you together to talk openly about how you might respond. During this talk:
- Allow each person to share the importance of the day for them (or the lack of importance)
- Make a plan for the day that includes everyone
- Be open about your need to escape if it feels too overwhelming for you.
Some of our wonderful St Catherine’s families and clients have also shared some ideas that help them cope with Mother’s Day. I thought I’d share these incase you find them helpful too:
“Keep to the traditions as you have always done. Take a few moments to share together what you loved and valued about someone”
“Do something completely different and create a new tradition. For example, a picnic or a family walk”
“Donate to an organisation or a charity, either by participating in an event close to the day or giving financially in the name of the person who has died”
“Plant a tree or buy a bench in their memory”
“Do something that your mother loved doing. For example going to the theatre or a family craft project.”
Whatever you choose to do, and however you choose to do it, remember to be kind to yourself.
“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”—Washington Irving