I will never forget my first Mother’s Day without my mum. It was May 2009. Almost one year after she had been taken from those who loved her, far too soon, from cancer. It was a horrendous day. So conflicting… I had 3 young sons who were so excited yet I had heightened emotions and an increased feeling of loss. I literally wished the day away.
For many, as Mother’s Day approaches, there is a renewed sense of loss. That old familiar feeling of pain creeps back into the hearts of those who are reminded, over and over of what they can no longer celebrate. To add to the turmoil, many of those are mothers themselves, expected to look forward to the day, and rightly so, as they will be celebrated.
No matter how long you have been without your mother, each Mother’s Day is tough. Sometimes, for unexplained reasons, some years are harder than others.
What I have learned as I approach my 7th Mother’s Day since my mother passed away is to be open to anything. I remind my family of the sadness I feel to help them understand and I just put one foot in front of the other, making sure that I am kind to myself, as that is what is most important. I know it sounds dramatic, but there is a reason for that.
Author, Leigh Van Der Horst. image supplied
When we lose someone we love, we move through the grief process until we are comfortable with our progress and we tend to hover there for a while until we are forced to continue moving forward. For those who have lost someone who is Internationally celebrated annually, there is no escaping the obvious hole that we have in our lives with them gone. We are reminded by television, print media, social media, retail, advertisements, giveaways; you name it.
Our friends have plans to spoil their mothers and our husbands hope we are strong enough to attend family events in honour of his mother. Our hearts yearn to do the same but we just can’t.
Acceptance is a major component of moving forward after loss. And mostly, I believe that I have accepted my mother's death from cancer (albeit, still unfair) yet, each year, I am challenged to ‘accept’ all over again, which can be tiring and damaging. By the 7th year however, I have learned some valuable coping lessons and here they are.
Knowing that you are vulnerable will help you get through.
Be aware that you are entering a stage that will feel somewhat sad and don’t feel as though you must apologise. You will be snappy, you might take things a little more personally than usual, you might be teary. This is all a normal reaction to the hype surrounding Mother's Day, roll with it and try to get lots of rest to stay strong.
Leigh, with her son. image supplied