Getting Through Mother’s Day By Doing Good

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When my daughter was born, my heart was full. I didn’t know so much love was possible. I didn’t know it was possible to care about another person that much. Five days later, she died. No word exists to describe the level of devastation that wrecked in my love. But, that love. That love would never go away.

In fact, I was determined to see it multiply. I described those feelings of love wherever I went. It was my way of coping. I threw myself into doing good in her name. It kept me from falling in a dark abyss forever. I think other grieving moms react this way too. Not all, certainly. And doing good in your child’s name doesn’t make your child better or more loved than any other child.

I’ll be talking about doing good in your baby’s name here on Still Standing often in my weekly posts, and I hope to help other grieving moms like me remember their babies. Doing good was the only way I found to go from a sobbing mess on the floor to a strong, confident standing baby loss mother. And, honestly, part of me is forever going to be that sobbing mess on the floor.

I’m a better person because my daughter was here. I want to make the world a better place, too.

I find that especially around the anniversaries and big dates, I throw myself into doing something good to remember Cora. Mother’s day is coming up, and this will unbelievably be my fourth Mother’s Day as a mom. I was pregnant with Cora for my first, and the last two have been spent without her.

If you feel up to it this Mother’s Day, here are some ways to do good in your baby’s name:

  • Send Mother’s Day cards to other grieving moms (this is what I’ve done the past two years).
  • Visit a retirement home with some flowers for some of the moms there. Nursing homes can be so lonely.
  • Plant flowers or a tree in your baby’s memory.
  • Buy a single mom a gift card for some pampering at a local spa.

Please share your ideas in the comments below! I so look forward to spending some time with all of you every month on Still Standing, and hope we’ll get to know each other a bit better. 


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About Kristine

Kristine Brite McCormick is mom to Cora, who passed away at five days old of undetected congenital heart disease. She lives in Indiana with her husband and two dogs. You can read more about Kristine and Cora at her blog.

Comments

  1. In 2009, my husband and I set up an initiative http://www.doinggoodinhername.com to honor our daughter Peyton who had passed the year before, where we try to assist local critically ill infants and their families. We have done things like gift card drives for NICU families over the holidays, hat drives, clothing drives, etc. For Mother’s/Father’s Day this year we decided to do something a little different, so in addition to our usual delivery of items for the NICU babies, we are partnering with a local salon owner to choose a day that falls between Mother’s and Father’s Day to bring some pampering into the NICU for these parents. We are just working out the last details now as to what will work best in that setting, but are really excited about the opportunity to bring a little relief to the NICU (I spent a month there with my daughter and know how exhausting it can be). I can honestly say that I didn’t start to feel the healing benefits of this type of work until a few years in. I think that is because when you are so heartbroken and grieving, even “Doing Good” sometimes can’t touch that pain. I guess I just say that to address the fact that sometimes you do good and you still are a sobbing mess on the floor — or at least I was at first. Some people can jump right in (like you did) or my cousin, who had a toy drive at her daughter’s funeral for the hospital where she was treated. Others, (like me) know right away we want to do something, but it takes some time (for me a year) to feel strong enough to try. I like some of the ideas that you posted above. Sometimes we think we have to do these HUGE things, when really it is such an honor to our little ones to try to pay the love they brought into our hearts forward with a gesture like flowers and a visit to someone who could use one at a senior center. I like that about this post. It takes some of the pressure off of getting overwhelmed by the idea of what to do. I look forward to reading about the amazing things that parents in this community are doing in their children’s names. Sorry, longest comment ever.

    • Oh gosh! I so hope I didn’t give the impression that “doing good” makes everything all better. It doesn’t. As you know. It’s just one coping mechanism.

      • No, I didn’t take you to mean that at all. I was just saying that sometimes, like for me, it took a while of doing it before I was far enough from the rawness of my grief that I could start to feel the healing that comes from “doing good”, but for others, that healing comes with the first good work they do. Does that make sense? Like I said above though, I really like the reminder in this piece that every good action is “doing good” so if you don’t have the energy or your grief is too raw or you feel overwhelmed with “what should I do” I like how you reminded us here that all good acts are doing good.

    • Kristin/OnceAMother, I completely understand where you are coming from. My son died at 8 months old, and his autopsy results were inconclusive, so I was left with no closure. I was also a young mother of a two-year-old at the time. Not only did I not have the strength (or support) to do something to honor my son, I was also lost and had no idea what to do (as I had no cause of death). I spent the time just holding my life and my family together. I did this for 7 years. Then, at a candlelight vigil for Pregnancy and Awareness Day in 2010, I finally got my inspiration, and that is when I started Mending Hearts for IDK and began planning our first event. Kristine is truly amazing with all she has accomplished in such a small amount of time, but I love that she continues to remind us that the little things matter just as much as the big ones. :)

      • That’s what I really appreciated in this article too Nita. The idea that even just a random act of kindness IS doing something to honor your child. I am so sorry for your loss. We had no warning with our daughter, and no answers about her illness after she passed. The lack of closure is so hard. Congratulations on Mending Hearts for IDK. That sounds amazing!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I lost my daughter 8 weeks ago and today mailed out about 20 Mother’s Day cards to women who I think could use some extra love… Some of these ladies I don’t know well at all, but it was on my heart to reach out. I, too, feel the need to reach out and love others to honor my daughter’s memory.

  3. Sometimes you do feel like you just have to do something for someone else. It’s a way to push those feelings out of your own body. I have made prayer shawls and prayers squares. I’ve donated to Peyton’s Charity, and plan to again. Kristine gave me the idea of sending a Mother’s Day card to a grieving mother and I took part in that. I also try to send postcards or notes to kids in the hospital or who are battling a serious disease. Anything to get my mind off of my own pain for a little bit. Like Kristin said…sometimes you do it and then fall on the floor and sob some more. But for a second…you were doing something good for someone else.

  4. Just love this idea and know some very special mommies who deserve some love this weekend! I’ll be sending happies!!!

  5. “I’m a better person because my daughter was here. I want to make the world a better place, too.” – beautiful

    That’s been how we’ve faced this journey too. Not through Mother’s Day but the angel-versary for Austin. It is now known as the “Austin Blair Acts of Kindness Day”. Each year we are amazed at the stories we hear of others who join in remembering him.

    This year, next Friday…would have been our sweet boy’s high school graduation. It’s been a difficult season but I’ve faced it by continuing his mission to do good. We’re having a “Virtual Graduation Party” and raising funds for the scholarship fund we started in his memory.

    Hugs & Blessings to you this Mother’s Day – and every day

  6. Thank you for posting this. Mothers day this year was hard for me as I lost my little one in February. All day I kept thinking I should be all cute and pregnant and instead I’m empty, but everytime this thought came across my mind I tried to send good thoughts and prayers to my fellow Mothers who are struggling this holiday. Someday I will have a little on to hug me on Mothers day, but until then, I’m going to get through by saying lots of prayers.

  7. Thank you for this article and for helping to find beauty and meaning on such a challenging day, the day I celebrate the sweet boy in my belly and my first mothers day since my sweet girls birth and death. I sent homemade cards to other moms who have lost their babies/children as well as the mom in my life. Making the cards, felt like a moment to be with my sweet girl, honoring her and the other sweet babies gone far, far too soon. This year was yet another day in the beautiful mess that is now my life, another day to survive, another day to live and find hope.

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