I went into a card shop today to buy a card for my Nan, at which point I nearly lost my shit.
It came out of nowhere – I had no idea it would hit me like that. In my mind, I always buy a card for Nan and none of the Mother’s Day adverts have bothered me – why would this?
And that, is exactly how grief and loss works. Taking steps forward and randomly tripping back a step until you move forward again.
Mother’s Day will literally mark 10 weeks since my mum unexpectedly passed away and I don’t know how I feel about that.
Nobody can tell you – or me – how we should feel in a situation like this. There is no normal or guideline called “How to grieve properly and what not to do” so in this case, we just have to muddle through.
Here’ what I can tell you about your first – and subsequent – Mother’s Day, Birthday, Christmas etc without your Mum:
- It will suck. There’s this big deal day all about mum’s and celebrating them and togetherness and your’s isn’t here anymore. It’s okay that you’re not excited – even if you’re a mother yourself.
- You might feel guilty. I feel guilty because if it was up to me, I would stay in bed all day and pretend it isn’t happening. I might also eat my feelings in the form of as much sweet and junk food I can afford. But I have kids and they want to celebrate me and I don’t want to let them down.
- It’s okay to feel how you feel: whether you’re heartbroken, angry, numb or everything in between. That’s okay. Grieving is a process and our feelings are valid.
- You can do something to mark the occasion or you can do nothing and pretend it’s not happening – whatever works for you. I will burn my Angel Wings Yankee Candle all day because I bought it specifically for days like this.
- You might be fine one minute and a total wreck the next – you won’t even see it coming. Don’t worry about it. Nobody is strong all the time and nobody expects you to be.
- What would your mother want you to do? Maybe something to think about before that day or on that day to try and help you get through it. Cook her favourite meal. Laugh at a Mother’s Day memory. Send yourself the flowers you would have sent to your mum. Whatever you think would make your mum happy. Will you cry? Probably. Will you feel better after? Only you know.
- If you think it will help and have somebody in mind, talk. Talk to your person about your feelings, your mum, whatever you need. this could be a partner, friend or even a therapist or support group.
- Take a moment to say – or write down – “thank you”. For some people, the opposite could help. Get your anger out. Whatever it is you’re feeling – get it out so it’s not all building up inside.
- If you know it will hurt, avoid your triggers. Avoid social media on Mother’s Day knowing that what you will see will hurt. Avoid the card aisle in the shops knowing it will be full of Mother’s Day cards and gifts. Do what you can to avoid those trigger’s until you feel like you can handle them better. Do not do this for a long-time. Distraction is okay, avoidance forever is not.
That’s all I’ve got. Will we survive this Mother’s Day? I like to think we will. It will be hard and emotional and lacking but we will survive. And then year by year, it won’t get easier but hopefully it will hurt less as we learn to live with our losses in a way that makes sense.
Know that I am thinking of everyone without their mother on this Mother’s Day and sending you all love, strength and comfort.