by Kristin Schlegel
This is for the bereaved moms who are struggling with Mother’s Day. I won’t wish you a HAPPY Mother’s Day.
I will wish for you the peace and strength to get through the day.
Is it your first Mother’s Day without your child? That is an incredibly hard day.
I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but that hole that was left by the passing of your beautiful child is just that – a hole.
Getting through the first year was hard – all the firsts so painful and sad.
You learned to dislike the holidays, and you endured the first anniversary and their birthday – along with all the rest.
And then came the second year.
Year two, some say, is harder yet. Sorry to lay that on you if this is still so fresh, but I think it helped me to hear that before I experienced it.
It helped me not to feel like a failure at grief as well. It helped me to understand that there wasn’t going to be a magical turning point where I was okay with my son no longer being a part of my everyday life.
There isn’t any coming back from that. No recovery from that.
You can get used to not having people in your life; that much is true… but if it’s your child, it doesn’t work that way.
That scar doesn’t disappear or grow over.
It remains a well-protected yet gaping wound.
I don’t really like holidays anymore. Holidays are all about family – and when your family is no longer intact, it’s hard to pretend that all is right with your world.
Because it’s not.
You find what works for you as time moves forward without them.
If you have other children, you do your best to make the holidays normal – trying to include that missing sibling in some way.
I hope and pray that down the road a bit, our memories and stories will be shared with love and laughter, but right now, it’s all a little too fresh and a lot too painful.
I lost my mom 10+ years ago. I miss her like crazy – and I think about her all the time. That grief journey was hard, but I did feel a recovery point with it.
I understood in the natural order of things I would most likely outlive her, and she was in her 80’s. Losing her when I was younger would have been different, for sure.
With the loss of my son, I don’t feel at all the same.
I don’t see an endpoint; I don’t believe it’s the same journey.
It’s unnatural in the order of life.
It didn’t occur to me that he wouldn’t be here. That he wouldn’t marry and have kids, take over the farm, help us when we needed it, or show up for his favorite dinner.
So on that day, remember to take care of yourself. It’s okay to say to no. It’s okay to set boundaries.
It’s okay to jump in the car and take a drive or take a time out.
Maybe you’ll find keeping busy is easier, or leaving town – or hiding.
You’ll be in a vulnerable state already, so avoid the triggers and please, watch your social media intake.
You know what the day is going to bring. Mom posts will abound.
Happy families, tributes and photos of flowers and gifts, and an occasional post about a mom who is a little disappointed in her day.
She had high expectations for what she thought her day should look like, and somehow her children came up short.
Try not to comment, or punch anyone – steer clear, stay off. I know you’d like to grab them by their shirt and scream:
“Do you have any idea how lucky you are to have these beautiful living children?”
What we wouldn’t give just to see their face.
Bereaved Mom, you would give anything to have your child breathing today – you don’t need a card, flowers, or gift.
And well-meaning people are going to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!!! Say thank you – say “you too,” and remember, they don’t get it, they can’t.
Thank God, they can’t.
I won’t tell you to remember the happy times, or the memories, or to be thankful for the X number of years you had with them.
I will tell you to guard your heart. To be gentle with yourself.
To keep in contact with your Heavenly Father, who knows your pain, your grief, your longing.
I will tell you that there is a day coming where all this chaos and sadness will be made right.
I will tell you that you can survive. I won’t tell you it’ll be easy, but you can do this. We can do it together.