I’ve officially joined the club. On May 7th, 2016, I became a member of a new group. When my mom unexpectedly passed away the day before Mother’s Day, I joined the How to survive Mother’s Day without Mom group.
The entire family was in shock last year and we barely acknowledged Mother’s Day at all. When you’re in the midst of planning a funeral, Mother’s Day seems to take a back seat. Much later, my children celebrated Mother’s Day with me – a redo of the day they had originally planned.
A Little Mother’s Day History
According to National Geographic, the history of Mother’s Day is “rife with controversy, conflict, and consumerism run amok.” Mother’s Day was originally started by Anna Jarvis as an anti-war movement. It didn’t take long for Mother’s Day to become commercialized – something Anna Jarvis never intended.
Last year, fortune.com projected that Americans would spend over 21 billion dollars on Mother’s Day. To say this is a popular holiday is an understatement.
How to Survive Mother’s Day
It’s OK to Cry
There were so many firsts for me during the first year after mom passed, including my mom’s first birthday. I won’t lie. It was hard. The tears flowed freely and often. There’s one thing I’ve realized over the past year: It’s OK to cry. Crying releases pain-relieving endorphins and makes us feel better.
Plant a Tree in Memory of Mom
I visit my dad as often as I can. He has given me several of mom’s perennials to plant in my flower garden. When I’m puttering around in the garden, seeing those plants make me smile. My sister and her family planted a tree in memory of mom.
Make a Donation to Mom’s Favorite Charity
My mom died of a sudden, massive heart attack. She was always in great physical shape, so we were shocked, to say the least. I’ve also had heart issues, so I make sure to donate to the American Heart Association in memory of mom.
Don’t be Alone
I’ll start Mother’s Day off at church. Deep down, I hope my pastor husband skips the whole Mother’s Day sermon. I’m preparing myself either way. I also plan to have a special flower arrangement at church to honor my mom. All of my grown children will come over for lunch and it’s much easier when you’re around a group of people.
Note to self: Be sure and wear waterproof mascara!
Visit the Cemetary
I live in a different state, but I do visit my hometown as often as I can and I always take flowers for mom’s grave. I’m well aware that the spirit of my mom lives on, but it helps to have a designated place to honor her.
Talk About Your Mom
Even though my mom is in heaven, I have so many precious memories of her. Talking about mom, her recipes and her sayings help me feel close to her. I also enjoy looking through all the old photo albums of our family.
Helpful Hint: If your mom is living, be sure and get lots of family photos. You’ll be glad you did! Also, get some photos of just you and your mom.
Another Helpful Hint: Write down all your mom’s recipes that you love. Your mom’s recipes probably have been handed down from generation to generation and can’t be found in a cookbook or online.
Don’t Let Grief Overtake You
It’s easy to let grief overcome you on such an emotional day, but you can get through it. Remember, it’s OK to cry, but eventually, you need to wipe those eyes and remember that your mom would want you to enjoy life.
I have a voicemail from my mom that I saved. I was on my way to visit my hometown and spend a few days with my parents. On the drive down, mom called and I missed the call. After my mom passed, I realized that I had never erased the message from my iPhone. Sometimes I just need to hear her voice. At the end of the message, she tells me how much she loves me. (I have it saved in three different places so that it won’t be accidentally erased.)
I’ve heard that surviving Mother’s Day without your mom becomes easier as the years go by. I sure hope so.
It’s weird how I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone to call mom. I also catch myself making a mental note to tell mom something crazy or funny that happened. Mom loved to laugh and hear all about the antics of her great grandkids.
If this is your first Mother’s Day without your mom or your 10th, please know that you’re not alone. We’ll all get through this. I promise (as tears run down my face)!
I miss my mom every single day! If your mom has passed from this life to the next, how do you survive Mother’s Day?
One More Thing
P.S. – Don’t be envious or jealous of friends who still have their mothers with them. Don’t look at the overload of Mother’s Day displays in department stores and wish you had laser beams coming from your eyes that could incinerate all of that stuff in a nanosecond. Be grateful that your friends have their moms to spend the day with and remember, you are not alone! Trust me, you can and will survive Mother’s Day. Hugs to you!
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Describe Your Mom in One Word (I started writing this post before my mom passed. I finished it afterward.