So here I am again looking down the barrel of another Mother’s Day.It doesn’t seem to get any easier despite this being my 8th Mother’s Day without my son Adam. I desperately long to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day unencumbered by this grief and this yearning for Adam. I want to be able to give my all to my living daughter & son, to celebrate and be fully free to enjoy all that being their mother brings. All the joy and happiness and pride. All the love that they bestow on me. I want to fully be a Mum to them.
I feel like a split personality. Of course, on Sunday’s Mother’s Day I will be present and full of joy and fun, and ‘celebrate’ with my living children. I will allow myself to be spoilt and cherished and loved, and to love in return. Don’t misunderstand, it is wonderful to be so valued and loved.
At the same time, I am the Mother of a dead child. One who will not be bringing me hugs on Sunday, I will not see his smile, feel his love, celebrate with him.
The last time I saw Adam alive was on Mother’s Day. If I had known, then that it was going to be the last time I would see him, I would have said to him all the things I wish I could tell him now. If I had known it was the last hug I was going to have from him, I would not have let him go.
And now Mother’s Day is the hardest day in my calendar as a Mother of a dead child.
However, I have learnt some things as I have traveled this unexpected road that helps at this time.
The build-up. The lead up to a significant day can often be worse that the actual day itself. Whether it be a birthday, the anniversary or Mother’s Day I find that the stress, anxiety and grief leading up to the day is worse than the actual day itself, and there is kind of relief when the day finally arrives.
At times like this, when grief and emotions come back and hit like a tidal wave, even if we are expecting them, is the time we need to be extra kind to ourselves and take care of ourselves. Slowdown over this time and focus on what helps to keep you on an even keel. Grief influences both your physical and emotional health and is just as worthy of treatment as anything else that effects your body. We need to do what helps us to stay healthy both physically and emotionally, be it a walk in nature, something creative, time alone or with friends or writing how you feel. Let the tears flow. This is another step on the road, and this too will pass.
Thankfulness. I am so thankful that Adam is part of my life. Regardless of the tears I have cried, the heartache and the loss, I would never have wanted to be without the love he brought to me and so many others, and the many things I have learnt from him and through this journey.
I am thankful for the amazing people I have met on this road that have helped me so much, brave mothers and fathers putting one step in front of the other and not giving up. Thank you.
I am thankful for family and friends that have stood alongside me when I needed it. When I wasn’t sure I would make it, you convinced me I could. Thank you.
Now I start the day everyday with thankfulness. When I wake, I think of all the things I am thankful for before my mind has a chance to go down the path of what I do not have. I find this sets me on the right footing for the day, a better place to begin, at least I can now get out of bed!
And I end the day the same way. All that I am thankful for and hopefully I can add something new from the day.
Carry on loving your child. Grieving parents, often, continue a relationship with their child who has died. What is known about grief is that an ongoing love and attachment is totally normal. So, go ahead and talk about your beloved child as much as you want, do all those little things that keep you close, and carry on loving your child this Mother’s Day.