Mother’s Day: a day filled with warm memories, joy, flowers, Hallmark cards, and celebrating moms everywhere, right?
Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone.
There are many who will enter Mother’s Day with a heavy heart of grief, confusion, lost hopes, disappointment, intense sadness, and regrets:
- some have experienced the death of their beloved mother
- some moms are desperately missing their much treasured child who died
- some have experienced a miscarriage or stillborn birth
- some have never had the ability to have children
- some have regretted having an abortion
- some have placed their child up for adoption
- some have a very tumultuous relationship with their mom; some moms have a broken relationship with their child(ren)
- some adult children allow their spouse to keep them away from their mom; some moms allow their spouse to interfere in their relationship with their children
- some realize that this is the last Mother’s Day they’ll have with their mom or child due to age or illness
- some mothers have written their child off; some children have written their mother out of their life
- some moms will not get to spend time with their child(ren) due to custody issues
- some moms will not see their child due to military duty, travel for work, or they don’t live close by; some children will be missing their moms due to deployment, work duties, or location
- some were adopted or raised by an aunt, grandmother, family member, or friend and are missing their mother deeply due to death, circumstances, or location
- some have mothers or children who are incarcerated
- some have mothers who have alzheimer’s or dementia who do not remember their children
- some are stepmoms with stepchildren who are less than kind and vice versa
- some moms feel rejected, uncared about, or unloved…some won’t even be acknowledged or appreciated
There are many heartbreaking situations and reasons why this Mother’s Day will be less than ideal and very heartbreaking for so many people.
Life, and holidays, can be excruciatingly unfair and painful. It can be difficult to see others who still have their moms with them…those who have all their children…those who were blessed enough to become a mom…or to see happy families when you are in devastating heartache and pain.
Here are some tips of how to show compassion to all who are discouraged, hurting, or dreading Mother’s Day:
- Show compassion and concern. Ask how they are doing, tell them you are thinking about them, and ask what you can do to make their day better.
- Realize how hard the day will be for them and go out of your way to make them feel special. Ask if they’d like to go out for brunch. Send or give them a card, buy them a special gift, ask to make them dinner or ask if they’d mind if you had dinner delivered to them, or buy them some beautiful flowers.
- Invite them to a movie, out to dinner, or out for coffee. Let them freely talk about whatever they’d like to talk about…without judgment and without unsolicited advice. Sometimes, it helps to have somebody genuinely care who will compassionately listen. Ask them to share something special about their mom or their child(ren).
- Acknowledge their loss and heartache. Mention their loved one by name and tell them what their loved one meant to you. You won’t be hurting them by bringing up their name…trust me, their loved one will be on their heart and mind all day.
- If you have a vacation home or extra timeshare points, offer to give them the gift of a weekend getaway.
- If you know of someone who is hurting, invite them to church and/or invite them to spend the day with you. Include them in all your plans for the day or a portion of the day.
- Think of a special way to remember your family members and friends’ moms, child(ren), or loved one. Light a candle in their mom or child’s honor, or help to decorate their loved one’s grave with flowers or items you know they would’ve liked. Do something you know they would’ve loved.
- Love them! They do not need a lecture on how they should feel or what they should do — and they definitely do not need to be told to “move on,” or “get over it.” They need people in their life who allow them the beautiful freedom to miss and deeply mourn the treasured person they are grieving, missing, and deeply love.
- If someone you know has a difficult relationship with their mom or child, reach out to them. Tell them you’re thinking about them by calling them, making them a gift basket, giving them a card, or by inviting them to do something that gets their mind off of their struggles.
- If you know of a military mom, send her a care basket. Be sure to send letters from her kiddos and photos, too. If able, set up a time to FaceTime or Skype as well. If there is a mom whose husband is deployed, consider doing something sweet for her too!
What if you are the one who is hurting? Here are some creative ideas of how to get through the day:
- Pamper yourself. Clear your schedule and remove any uncomfortable expectations others may place on you. Take a day off and do whatever makes you feel calm, relaxed, happy, or peaceful.
- Take some time to look at photos or home videos of your mom, child, or loved one. As you look at each one, remember the special bond and incredible memories you shared together.
- Take the day to journal or make a special scrapbook of your loved one and all the wonderful memories you shared together.
- Write a letter to your mom, child, or loved one and share what’s on your heart and mind.
- Spend the day doing what you normally would’ve done if your loved one was here…or go to a place that was special to the two of you. Know that your loved one loves you so very much, they want you to experience love, encouragement and comfort.
- Celebrate your loved one or honor your loved one’s memory by having a “garden day.” Plant a tree or some special flowers in their memory and create a beautiful space where you can go in days to come to celebrate or remember your loved one. You could also make a pathway out of memory stones or buy a special bench, hammock, or chair to enjoy in their memory.
- Have a relaxing movie day by either going to a movie or ordering take-out and renting movies that will make you feel closer to your loved one. Don’t forget yours & their favorite movie snacks and a comfy blanket.
- Invite others who are missing their mom or child to do something fun or meaningful. It truly helps to be around others who “get it.”
- Have a day of “writing & learning”: writing letters of gratitude to those who have had a positive impact on your life..it could be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, child, family member, pastor, schoolteacher, friend, etc. If you have children, or nieces and nephews, be sure to share the warm memories and stories with them and teach them what was taught to you.
- Consider spending the day doing a relaxing hobby and including others in your day. I had a teacher who took a special interest in me by teaching me how to make pies, and I also was taught to bake by my mom and sister. I really enjoyed investing in this hobby and teaching my younger family members how to bake, too.
- Attend a church service with family or friends…or go by yourself and have a “God day” where you spend the entire day with just God and you. Go to a park and have a picnic lunch, lay in a hammock while listening to music, read your Bible and pray. Pray for everybody in your life. Share with God everything that is on your heart. “God days” are very refreshing and can set you up for a much better week!
- Last, but not least, make Mother’s Day whatever you would like for it to be. You may feel comfortable doing the usual familiar traditions that have been passed down to you…you may wish to spend and enjoy the day with your remaining loved ones…or you may want to create brand new memories, traditions, and experiences. Go out of town, take a day trip, and/or do something relaxing or special. Surround yourself with love. Pour into others. Encourage others who are hurting. There are many ways you can choose to celebrate or remember your treasured mother, precious child, or loved one, and many ways to remember or celebrate the day.
God loves you and cares about every intricate detail of your heart and life. He wants to help you pick up the pieces of your shattered life and help you to rebuild it. It may not be the exact life we signed up for or wanted, but God can help us realize that life is still an adventure worth highly valuing. Take the time you need to create a “new normal”…it takes time and it is totally okay to break down or be disappointed as you press forward. Learn new things each and every day. Learn from past mistakes and always look for better ways to live life. Look for and secure the support you need from family and friends…tell them what you need. Feel what you need to feel.
To experience the death of a mother or child is excruciating. Be kind to your heart and do whatever you have to do to get through the day.
To every mom, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, sister, niece, and woman in the world, I wish you a wonderfully beautiful, relaxing, and highly blessed Mother’s Day! Thank you for all of the ways you make (and have made) the world a wonderful and better place! You are so incredibly valuable, special, and unique and life wouldn’t be the same to your loved ones had they not had you in their lives! Pamper yourself this weekend—you deserve it!
Wishing everybody an incredibly peaceful, blessed, comfortable, and memorable Mother’s Day! Allow yourself the freedom to do whatever brings you comfort and makes your heart smile!
Gratitude & blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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🌼FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays