Mother’s Day Grief
Mother’s Day is one of many ‘special days’ in a year on which anyone who has lost a parent, partner or child or are struggling to conceive can experience a spike in their grief.
Mother’s Day can bring up many feelings when you’re bereaved – such as envy of those that still have their loved ones, anger that the world is going on even though they’re not here anymore, loneliness, sadness, guilt and many more.
As the day gets closer, reminders are everywhere and it can all feel quite overwhelming so I wanted to put together some tips to help you get through this Mother’s Day:
Actively remember the person. Whilst it might feel painful to think about the person that has died, chances are they’re going to be in your thoughts anyway, whether you’re conscious of it or not. By doing something to remember the person, you are taking control of the day and facing your grief head on. Your way of remembering them can be as simple as lighting a candle for them or setting aside some time to think about the good times you shared. Some people like to still celebrate the day as they would have if the person was still there, sometimes even setting a place for them at the dinner table. The point is to do what feels right for you.
Make your plans flexible - There is no way of knowing for certain how you are going to feel on the actual day. Things you thought you couldn’t face might help or the plans you already made might seem like a chore.
Communicate with those around you - Because everybody grieves differently, it can be hard to know how best to support each person. By communicating your needs for the day with those around you, you can avoid offence, hurt and confusion if their idea of help is not quite what you need rather having the pressure of pretending adding to an already tricky time.
Practice self-care - Grief is draining at the best of times and self-care is always important, but even more so on special days such as Mother’s Day. Be kind to yourself and do things that give you a little boost. Treat yourself to a bubble bath, cry if you feel you need to, nap if that’s what feels right and express the feelings that come up for you. You deserve to pamper yourself and treat yourself gently during this time.
Talk to someone - A simple fact of grief is that talking helps. If you feel you need to, reach out to a friend or relative that you can be completely honest with about how you are feeling and who won’t try and ‘fix’ your problem or turn the conversation into one about them, but who will listen non judgementally and really hear what you are trying to say. Some people find it easier to talk to someone they don’t know for fear of worrying or upsetting those around them. If this is the case, get in touch with an organisation to find the support that suits you best. Our free Dandelions groups and programmes are great for meeting others in a similar situation and our counselling offers the chance to talk one to one and process your feelings at your own pace. There are also helplines available should you want support in that moment, such as the Cruse helpline on 0808 808 1677, the SANDS helpline 0808 164 3332 or the Samaritans 116 123.
Journal - Journaling is a wonderfully powerful tool in grief, it’s a consistent outlet for your feelings that is never off duty and non-judgmental. Because the journal is just for you, there are no rules on how you have to use it. You can use it to write letters to the person that has died, or someone you have unfinished business with. Use it to pour out your feelings onto paper, to note things you are grateful for each day or use it to keep track of your moods and identify triggers. There are many ways and uses for your journal and you can mix it up to fit what works for you each day. The journal is just for you, it doesn’t need to be neat or tidy, it doesn’t even have to make any sense, it just needs to allow you to get those feelings out.