Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Grief is not something people get over, but they do learn ways to live with it. Over time it changes and we find ways to incorporate grief with compassion and meaning. Mother’s Day is celebrated by many cultures and in many parts of the world. It is usually a time when families get together to celebrate and honour motherly bonds, but for the grieving it can take on an entirely different meaning. The holiday was created in the early 1900s out of a woman’s loss and love for her mother. What Mother’s Day looks like today is likely very different than Anna Jarvis originally intended. The commercialized day of cards, flowers, and gifts would have been difficult to imagine or envision, but the significance of the day has continued to grow. It has changed considerably, but the sentiment and love that Jarvis envisioned is still captured in its essence today. Mother’s Day celebrations may vary, but the emotion and love that blends together is the same the world over.

Grief on Mother’s Day, or any other holiday or special occasion seems amplified and feels less than fair for the grieving. Over the horizon the day will approach, hang over us, and then will finally pass retreating its way into the background again. It’s a relief that, for many, can’t come soon enough. By itself, grief is very complicated and changes who we are. Mother’s Day can be a very painful day for those grieving the death of someone they love. With certainty, it will bring up feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, despair, and loneliness. For those who have lost a mother too soon, for a mother who is struggling with the loss of a child, and for those who are feeling the loss of a motherly bond, these days are uncomfortable and there seems to be a desire to find a new meaning inside such a deep loss.

Finding refuge on Mother’s Day

For some, the day becomes about just getting through. For others, it becomes a time to create a grief refuge. Finding refuge in grief is simply seeking out mechanisms to deal with the loss. It’s hard to know what to do at this time but it can help to find a quiet space to think, seek inspiration, follow a spark of hope, rest, release tears, get help with your grief, or allow yourself some space for spiritual healing. Do whatever you need to do! Change it up, make Mother’s Day about something you can cope with, or turn it into something else you can easily release. Spending time with a close friend or loved ones is helpful for some. Perhaps write a letter to yourself or to that person to capture your feelings and continue the bond you are so deeply missing. When there are constant reminders and ambitious marketing campaigns popping up all around us, sometimes we just need a break and care for ourselves–and you will know when and what that care means for you. You may ask yourself how can I possibly cope with a loss this way? How can I grieve through these now hollowed out holidays and survive? With grief, you aren’t given a compass or a set of instructions on what to do and how to cope, but you can move towards dealing with very small pieces of how you are feeling. Create your own grief oasis and tell yourself you are doing the best you can. Learn to listen to your heart and let the people who care for you help you through.

Karen Lapierre Pitts
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