Self Love & Grief
10 DOs And DON’Ts For A Motherless Mother’s Day
Losing a mother is excruciating.
Some days, we don’t know how we’re going to get through.
Motherless Mother’s Days are the worst.
In this post, you’ll find 10 DOs and DONTs for how to cope with your first (or yet another) Motherless Mother’s Day.
I lost my mom in 2013 a week after Easter Sunday making every Easter through Mother’s Day since then almost impossible to bear.
It is survivable. How do I know? Because I’m here writing this to you.
I’d like to say things get easier with time but honestly, the experiences are different for each person.
Below is a compiled list of 10 DOs and DONTs I’ve found to get through and even enjoy the days that feel the toughest. My wish for you is to find solace and comfort by incorporating some of these ideas.
Be extra gentle with yourself.
Gently remind those around you “it’s that time of year” and you’ll be creating extra space and kindness for yourself.
Find a special and specific way to celebrate her
Share your special and specific celebration with people you feel safe with
Whatever makes you comfortable
Over exert yourself
Feel obligated to explain yourself to other people. A gentle reminder can do wonders.
Feel obligated to celebrate the traditional way
Isolate or wallow in despair alone
Be concerned with how others are (or aren’t) dealing with it
SPECIFIC IDEAS FOR THE 10 DOS AND DON’TS
The main bullet points are general ideas you can try. I included specific things I do in orange.
DO be extra gentle with yourself. DON’T over exert yourself.
Move slower. Take extra care when bathing, feeding, and preparing yourself for the day. You can expand this by taking extra care when bathing and preparing yourself for bed the night before.
Any time you notice yourself wanting to be in a rush or haphazardly do things. Remind yourself “it’s okay to go slow”.
Treat yourself to that extra something special that makes you happy. Maybe it’s an extra pillow for bed. Or an extra spoonful of sugar in your morning coffee. Get the dessert. Upgrade the service. Take a taxi instead of public transportation. Get the massage. Go see the movie you’ve been meaning to see. Binge on Netflix a little.
I start the day with a nice long meditation and prayer, count my blessings, get a massage or manicure/pedicure, and treat myself to a little extra dessert I normally wouldn’t.
DO gently remind those around you “it’s that time of year” and you’ll be creating extra space and kindness for yourself. DON’T feel obligated to explain yourself to other people.
The week before, email work colleagues letting them know you’ll need some extra space this day/week to grieve/mourn/celebrate your mother. If a day off is what you need, don’t feel guilty about requesting for it.
The day before, text/call your friends and family letting them know you may not be as available during the day.
I specifically let my friends know that I won’t be available to hang out that day (or much during the week) and to please be mindful of the time of year when contacting me or asking me for something.
DO Find a special and specific way to celebrate her. DON’T Feel obligated to celebrate the traditional way.
Find something specific and joyful that reminds you of your mom and make it a point to do that today. It could be something she loved to do for herself or you liked to do with her. Or it could be something that generally reminds you of her.
My mom loved ice cream. I mean she was obsessed. My sister and I used to buy pints of coffee ice cream from Haagen Dazs and it would miraculously disappear within the hour if you didn’t take care to hide the stash. I make it a point to get some ice cream and enjoy it as if she’s with me. I even do her happy ice cream dance. Bonus points if I get Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream.
A family tradition was to go to this old fashioned ice cream shoppe called Jahn’s in our neighborhood. My mom, brothers, sisters and I would go there to celebrate literally everything. That shoppe has since closed down but whenever I get a chance, I head over to a similar shoppe and get a 3 scoop banana sundae because those were her favorite.
Ever since I was little, my mom used to say God gave her beautiful flowers for Mother’s Dayazalea motherless mother's day amelia fortes self love story because the azaleas in our front yard and the sampaguitas in our house would bloom so beautifully and make every room smell sweet. As a little girl, I literally thought God made the flowers bloom and smell so sweet just for her. To remember her, I like getting fresh flowers and letting their intoxicating scent fill me up. Sometimes, I feel like she’s right there with me.
Know that you get to have the space you need to honor your mother and your feelings. If other people are celebrating Mother’s Day with a huge get together or party, don’t feel obligated to go if it is not in your best interest. If other people are sharing photos of them with their mothers on social media, don’t feel obligated to follow suit. Some people even prefer to avoid social media on days like this.
If you are not sure how you want to celebrate, you can simply let people know you would like the flexibility to decide last minute what you want to do. Guilt free.
There are many mothers in my family so Mother’s Day is a huge deal. If you’re like Filipinos at all it usually means church followed by a huge family get together with way too much food. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t join in and celebrate the way everyone else did but now I know, I get to have the space I need to honor my mother. I usually just tell them I may or may not be joining the festivities and to please give me the space to decide last minute.
“Grief is easier to process when around others who can relate to how you feel. #AFlameToRise”
Grief and Loss support groups are another great way to connect with people who can relate to what you’re going through. I’ve mostly attended support groups in Los Angeles. Below are two of my favorites:
If you don’t live in Los Angeles, below are some ways you can find a grief support group
Find a local church and ask them about their Bereavement services.
GriefShare.org – you can search for your local support group using a zip code
DO Whatever makes you comfortable. DON’T Be concerned with how others are (or aren’t) dealing with it.
The grieving process is extremely different for each individual. Honor the differences and similarities you find.
“The grieving process is extremely different for each individual. #AFlameToRise.”
When my mom passed away, I found great solace in posting on Facebook memories, photos, and thank you letters to her. Others might have been more comfortable retreating from social media. No way is right or wrong. Do whatever makes you comfortable and feel happy.
If being alone makes you comfortable, like I said above, take care to not isolate for too long. Healing happens best through community. Find at least one safe person you can share space with during your difficult times of grief.
“Healing happens best through community. #AFlameToRise”
People may also get angry and project their feelings on others. When my mom passed away, some people in my life expressed anger towards other people in hurtful ways. I try not to get sucked into the drama and give them the space to have their own experience. This bullet point alone can be its own post that I will write at a later time especially if you will find it helpful.
I lost my mom April 2013 and my nephew in September 2015 just two days before he turned 25.
The 10 DOs and DON’Ts above are things I learned that have helped me get through some tough times.
If you feel these lists can help you (or someone you know) get through their tough time, please share this using the links on the left.
If you have any questions or other ideas, let me know in the comments below.
*Amelia Fortes is a lifestyle edutainer and intuitive coach who travels all around the United States empowering people to make better life decisions and to see the world. Visit AmeliaFortes.com to book Amelia for speaking or coaching services.
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