For some, Mother's Day is a day they wish to avoid because it's a painful reminder of having lost the most important woman in their life.
While most people couldn't wait for Mother's Day to arrive, you're one of the few people who dreaded it because it's the day where all the grief of losing your mom comes rushing back. As the day inched closer and closer, you tried everything to get your mind off of it. You hoped that nobody would tell you what your Mother's Day plans are because it's a painful reminder that you lost one of the most important women in your life.
"Mother’s Day after your mom dies looks different," wrote Nikki Pennington, who lost her mother to terminal brain cancer, according to Her View From Home. "Mother’s Day looks like dodging the card aisle because you just can’t bring yourself to read them and the truth is you don’t feel like you belong in that aisle anymore, it’s for those with a mom who lives here and not in Heaven."
"While I can’t promise it goes away, grief does shift over time," wrote Marisa Bardach Ramel, who co-authored The Goodbye Diaries: A Mother-Daughter Memoir and just had her seventeenth Mother’s Day without her mother, according to Good Morning America.
You may have made it through Mother's Day, hiding your pain and trying to enjoy the day with your kids. You put on a smile as the little ones gave you flowers they plucked themselves. And you may have accompanied the older ones who managed to treat you to a day at the spa. But through it all, you quietly missed your own mother and wondered what the day would have been like if she was still there with you.
"It's a lot like praying that your kids know that the cards and gifts are great but all you really want is time with them and that's all because your Mom taught you that," wrote Nikki. "It's a lot like thinking of your Mom the entire day but knowing that's nothing new."
But as days like Mother's Day, her birthday, her death anniversary, come by, it's really a day for you to celebrate the life that she lived and savor the many memories she gave you. You surround yourself with old photo albums of hers, you put on her favorite songs and remember the way she used to sing along with them, you remember the way she laughed as she sat in her old armchair beside the window. And it's a day where you reflect on whether you're happy, the way she would have wanted you to be.
"It's a lot like hoping that you've turned out to be every bit like her. It's a lot like praying she's up there in Heaven knowing that this Mother's Day will be like all the others since she left," Nikki wrote. "It will be a day where no matter how much the grief creeps in you will still forever be thankful that because of her you get to have this day and no matter how far away she is or how long she's been gone you know she's still your Mom."
When your children are younger, you may do everything to shield them from sadness, letting them believe that their mamma will always be around. But as they grow older, you tell them more about your own mother and hope that you can give your children the same love that she gave you. "One day I’ll tell my son and daughter the truth about my mother dying..." Marisa excerpted from her book, according to TIME. "I’ll read some books and try to find the right words. I’ll say it in a way that’s gentle and loving and thoughtful, just as my mother would have done with me."
But until you know your children are ready to hear it, you keep your mother's memory alive by carrying on the little traditions you had with your mother before she passed away. Marisa wrote, "Until then, I’ll feed them her favorite fruits and recipes... I’ll share her funny stories and hear her loud laugh in my own. I’ll smother them with the endless love and affection she poured into me."
The next time a day like Mother's Day comes around, let it be a day where you remember your mother in the fondest way and carry forward everything she taught you with your loved ones.