How do you celebrate Mother's Day when you don't have a mom?
There are tears in my eyes as I write this. Mother's Day is not a day I look forward to because I don't have a mom to celebrate it with. This will be the 7th Mother's Day that I will celebrate without my mom. You'd think after all that time, these days would get easier. And in a way, they have. The first few years, the tears and feeling of loss would hit me weeks before Mother's Day arrived. But this year I made it to 2 days before the actual day. I am making progress.
Cards and Balloons
Last weekend I was looking for a card for my dad's birthday and I was bombarded by Mother's Day cards. In years past, I have bought a card, one that I would have given to my mom, attached part of it to a balloon, and sent it upwards to Heaven. Releasing balloons has become a tradition in our family. In past years, we have released balloons on anniversaries, my mom's birthday, and Mother's Day. We plan to release balloons in my mom's memory on Sunday.
When my daughter was younger and would get a balloon from a party, she would ask me if she could give the balloon to Grandmom. As much as my daughter loves balloons, she wanted her grandmother to have it. My daughter was only 2 years old when my mom died, so she doesn't have any of her own memories of my mom. I think releasing the balloon would help her feel connected to someone who meant so much to this family, but who she didn't really get any time with. I never said no when she asked to give her balloon to her grandmom. We would drive to the park, go to an open space, and my daughter would let go of her balloon. Together, we would watch the balloon float upwards until we couldn't see it anymore.
One Minute at a Time
Any type of holiday or special day is hard when you've lost a parent. But a day that is specifically celebrated for the parent you lost, like Mother's Day, seems to be even harder. Not matter how much it hurts, you will get through the day, whether it's your 1st or your 7th like me. There were days when I took things one hour, 1 minute, at a time until the day was over and I finally fell asleep. And that's ok. It's ok to cry, to feel the loss. Tears release the pain, so sometimes crying helps you feel better.
No Mom on Mother's Day
In 2012, I wrote a blog a few days before Mother's Day called "No Mom on Mother's Day." In the blog I wrote the following, and many of these feelings are still the same today:
Like many others who have lost their mom, the thought of celebrating Mother’s Day is difficult. Stores and TV commercials are filled with messages about how important it is to give your mom something special on Mother’s Day. Flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, jewelry, or some heartfelt gift to show your mom how much she is appreciated and loved. But I can’t do that, and oh how I wish I could….So many times during the last few weeks I’ve wanted to pick up the phone and talk to my mom, to ask for her advice, or just to hear her voice. As Mother’s Day gets closer, these feelings of longing become more intense. My husband recently asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I said I didn’t know, because what I really want, what I would give up almost every future gift for, I can’t have. I want to spend time with my mom again as a family. I want her here with us. I want to smile as my mom plays with my daughter or watches my son at his TaeKwonDo class, knowing the love and pride in her heart. I want to be able to give my mom a gift on Mother’s Day and see the smile on her face. But none of this can happen.
Cherish Your Mom
No matter how I am feeling, I will make the best of Mother’s Day. We will release balloons in memory of my mom, and I will honor her by spending time with my children and appreciating my family and the time we have together. To all those who have a lost a mother and have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day, know that you’re not alone. On Sunday, remember your mom with love.