What Do You Do When Mom is No Longer Here?

Mother’s Day When You’ve Lost Your Mom

As I was meeting with clients throughout the last week there’s been a consistent theme- motherless kids missing mom, and facing the Hallmark extravaganza of the year: Mother’s Day. Walk into the grocery store and there are more flowers than the Valentine’s Day array. Social media? A nightmare. Pinterest? Don’t even think about it. Stop for a meal somewhere? Mother’s Day specials everywhere. Even the casino where we went to play Bingo yesterday had “Mother’s Day Bingo.” What?

It doesn’t matter if you lost your mom last week or a decade ago, this week you will be reminded at least every hour of every day that she’s gone. What do you do with a day created to make mom feel special when she’s not here?

If you’ve recently lost your mom, this will be a new experience. You may be casting about for how to handle it, or fielding calls from people wanting to include you so you won’t be alone. There’s a rule for this: You can decide how you want to spend this Sunday, and if you want to do something to remember your mom or simply take a time out until next year. Folks with recent losses typically don’t do all that well in a large group or with big expectations heaped on them to respond to a certain event or moment. They need and “out,” so they can get away if it feels too overwhelming. If you are that person, and you decide to go to an event, you may want to drive yourself or have a friend take you with the understanding that if you give the signal you will both exit, as quickly and graciously as possible so you don’t feel obvious. The first motherless Mother’s Day is your call- you get to decide what you want to do.

If this is not your first day without mom it can still rekindle the loss with all the focus on the day. If you need to find a card for a daughter who’s now a mom or for a mother-in-law you have to get past all the cards you can’t send your own mom. You may be facing all the joy of the day with grandkids or other family who are celebrating with their moms and find yourself wishing your mom was there to see all of it. If you attend church there may be a moment where flowers are given to moms. Or white flowers to those who lost their mom. The gestures are touching, and loving, and meant to be kind, but they can still sting, can’t they?

So what do we do, those who are missing a mom or a special mom-type who is no longer here to be celebrated for their role in your life?

©     We celebrate them

©     For who they were

©     For what they did for you

©     For how they helped make you who you are today

©     For the love you still carry with you, across the years

©     We remember them

©     We talk about them- not so much that it overshadows those who are celebrating with their moms, but enough to mark their place in the day for you

In my house there will be a celebration for my mom, whom I am lucky enough to still have with me. There will also be a trip to the cemetery for her mom, my late spouses, and my children’s birth mom. The kids probably won’t go, and that’s okay- they don’t feel a need to do so. I will take flowers for them, and they know it. I will also take a time out to remember my late mothers in law, and an aunt who was like a second mom to me. And then I will celebrate the day with my daughters, one of whom is now a mom herself. There will be room for everyone’s emotions, and an out for anyone who needs it. There shouldn’t be huge stress over a day that was created to honor moms. We have enough stress in our lives, don’t we?

So here’s to Mother’s Day, spent in a way that makes it okay for you, reduces your stress level, and allows you to remember your mom in a way you feel you can manage. Maybe it’s an In’ N Out day? A day at the beach? A trip to the mountains? Favorite childhood menu items at home (because who needs crowds of people forcing their children into dress clothes and fancy restaurants on the busiest day of the year?) Who says peanut butter and jelly or fried bologna sandwiches can’t be fun again? (I didn’t say healthy!)

Happy Remembering Mom Day. I am glad you had her in your life.