You feel it looming. You know there’s no avoiding it. On the horizon is a grief trigger that you cannot avoid. A day filled with flowers and happy faces and family photos…for everyone but you. That’s how it feels anyway. It’s Mother’s Day and for you that means pain.
Perhaps you have lost your mother. Maybe you never had one, or you have had a falling out.
Maybe you lost a child, or your children are not present in your life.
There are many causes for grief on Mother’s Day. No matter the cause, we want to help you make it through.
It may feel as though you are an outcast. You may feel resentful of those who aren’t feeling pain. Try to remember that though you feel very alone in your pain, there are others who are also experiencing grief. It may help to reach out and find support in others who are feeling similar things as yourself. Try attending a support group, joining a group on social media or speaking to a counselor.
It may feel counter-intuitive to reach out a helping hand to others when you are in the trenches of grief. However, helping others gives you a sense of purpose. It can help to take the focus off of your pain for a while. It also causes an endorphin release when you help someone else. See if you can volunteer your time helping at a local orphanage, hospital, assisted living facility or counseling center. Visit others who may feel alone. Being there for them is certain to lift your spirits.
Try looking around and taking in the small things that you can be thankful for. It may be as simple as a smile from a stranger, a warm cup of coffee in your hand or a safe place to sleep. It’s hard to feel fortunate when you’re feeling the emotions that grief can bring. Still, try to take notice of these things. It will lift your mood and help you to feel gratitude, which is a strong antidote to depression and sadness.
Maybe you just want to wallow. Maybe you have been suppressing those feelings and the floodgates of emotion are starting to break open. Take some time to feel. Don’t pressure yourself to put on a happy face. Cry your eyes out for a while. It’s OK. Allow yourself to acknowledge those feelings. Then remind yourself to get back up and try again.
You may not know this, but there is such a thing as Grief Recovery. In recovering from grief, we don’t let go of the person we are grieving or the memories we hold dear. We simply choose to move through the pain and to a place of letting go of it. We come through to the other side where we hold dear the person and memories, but we are no longer a slave to the pain. We learn to say goodbye to the pain while still keeping the person and memories alive in us. Take heart in knowing this is possible. If you would like to know more about grief recovery, check out our frequently asked questions here.
This Mother’s Day try to remember these things. Be patient with yourself. You may need to embrace more than one of these things in order to prepare yourself and make it through the day. Allow yourself to do so. You can do this.