Mother’s Day is a beautiful day filled with appreciation, love, and adoration. We get to celebrate and spoil the women that brought us into this world and receive the same from our own offspring. It is a day of homemade cards, breakfast in bed, and gifts that say we value the most important relationship a human can have: a relationship with their mom. Sure, some of us think it is simply a Hallmark holiday, but none of us shy away from loving on our moms and making it as special as possible. It is truly a wonderful day!
Unless it isn’t.
Mother’s Day, for me, as a child and young adult, was nothing more than painful reminders that my mom had left this world by choice. While my classmates were making Mother’s Day crafts to present to their moms, I silently read a book, alone, at my desk until they finished their masterpieces. Every commercial and advertisement leading up to that dreadful day were full of moms and kids hugging, kissing, and smiling. I was not smiling. I hated every minute of this stupid holiday. As I got a bit older, I would stay home from church on Mother’s Day because they would hand out a flower to all of the moms and do some sort of special presentation talking about how selfless, caring, and loving moms are. Salt in the wound. I was so angry my mom left us. Why would I want to sit through such a presentation? While my friends were preparing special brunches for their moms, our family visited the cemetery. Mother’s Day was a horrible day each and every year.
Then, one year, it all flipped for me. I became a mom myself and began to count down the days until my child would create their own masterpiece in school and deliver it with smiles, hugs, and devotion. It became one of my absolutely favorite days. Maybe because I am making up for lost time! I treasure those hugs, their creativity, and their innocent love for mom. This is the other side of Mother’s Day: being a mom. For me, after 19 years of hating this holiday, I actually started to anticipate the sweetness of the day.
Unless it isn’t.
I know several moms, this week, who are dreading those stupid Mother’s Day commercials and will not have a handmade card, a gift, or a hug from their own child. It is a day that will bring up pain and sting every year for the rest of their lives. It will not be replaced 19 years later as mine was with my own children. It will only bring about sadness and thoughts of “What if they were still alive?” It will be a day of tremendous sadness and likely guilt, as well, for not being able to save their child. While other moms are enjoying those delicious brunches prepared by their kids, these moms are visiting the gravesites of their own children.
Mother’s Day can be the sweetest and most special day of the year. Unless it isn’t. And, if it isn’t, it is likely, instead, the most painful day. If this is you today, I am so sorry. I know this pain all too well. If this is someone you know, reach out to her. Invite her over for brunch, bring her flowers, send a card, or deliver her a meal. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Say her child’s name, don’t pretend he/she never existed. Empathize with this person no longer having their mom to celebrate. One of the greatest pains someone in grief experiences is when others move on, fail to acknowledge the loss in an ongoing manner, or forget the pain they are experiencing daily.
I wish you the happiest Mother’s Day! And, if you know someone who likely won’t be experiencing the sweetest of days, I encourage you to acknowledge the pain this day brings for them and do something to show them you care.