L ike so many of the women that come to Kara for support, I am a woman who has experienced the death of both my mother and my child. For me it was many years ago now but still even after 21 and 19 years respectively Mother’s Day is a multifaceted experience for me. It’s hard even after all this time, to find the balance between celebrating Mother’s Day with my phenomenal surviving daughter Sarah Jane and dealing with the shadow of the loss of my loving mother Frances and beautiful child Alice who were both taken from this world too soon.
It’s taken years of practice to get through the day elegantly. The early years were filled with the dread of figuring out how I would just make it through the day. Later, once I had proved I could get through it, the day became more about how I can honor my mother and my daughter and at the same time be able to engage in activities with Sarah Jane. I took baby steps at first. I took time to think about these two precious people, lighting a candle and spending time thinking about them privately. It was as if my pain was too great and hard to share with anyone. Later as I traveled deeper into my grief journey I have been able to articulate what is helpful to me and what makes Mothers Day both manageable and even enjoyable. I have come to realize the greatest gift for me on Mother’s Day is to have someone speak my child’s name. To know that she lives on in other people’s memories is truly comforting.
Interestingly, now I find myself able to separate my grief from my ability to be fully present with Sarah Jane and our celebrations on Mother’s Day. I am very aware that the day impacts Sarah Jane also. She has lost a grandmother and a sister. Like all difficult days we do better when we plan something together. Over the years we have been able to embrace meaning and joy together on this special day – finding just the right balance of celebrating and remembering.
Mother’s Day is a celebration for mother’s everywhere and at the same time there are so many people who have suffered losses which make this day very difficult to navigate. It also can be very challenging to know how to support others who are impacted by grief on special days like this. If Mother’s Day is a difficult one for you, I hope that you will trust that over time you can build some resilience and be able to find ways that make the day more manageable and meaningful. Take some intentional time this year to think about the things that add to your well-being and consider carefully what feels okay for you. Our staff has put together a resource ( Mothers Day for the Grieving ) with some tips and ideas, not only those who are grieving, but also for those who support them. We hope that it is helpful as you navigate this day. Wishing you comfort.