This Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day America is called to bust out the credit card in the name of Mom. For most, it is a day for connection and warm memory-making, but for those whose mothers are no longer with them—or not in their lives— Mother’s Day can make the pain extra sharp.
If you’ve lost a mother, here are some ways to cope on Mother’s Day:
1. Practice self-care. Sleep in. Go on a hike. Eat a nice meal. Treat yourself to a massage. Do things that bring you comfort and make you smile. Consider it a tribute to the most important contribution your mother made to the world: You.
2. Find the right companion. Be selective with your company on Mother’s Day. The last thing you want is to get stuck at a brunch with a room full of moms and their families. Surround yourself with people who know your situation and understand that the day might be difficult for you. Better yet, find someone in the same boat and do something together. It will make the load much easier to bear.
3. Hold a ceremony Many people take the opportunity to actively celebrate their mothers on Mother’s Day, even after they’re gone. In fact, Mother’s Day was created in memoriam of Anna Jarvis’s deceased mother, a loving woman who lost seven of her eleven children. Jarvis eventually influenced President Woodrow Wilson to proclaim it a national holiday that always falls on a Sunday, a spiritual time for prayer and reflection. So those who take the time to celebrate, talk about, and remember the mother they’ve lost are actuallycelebrating the holiday in its truest spirit. Some visit the cemetery or a place with special memories associated with their mother. A friend of mine visited the house in West Virginia where her mother grew up. Some look through old photo albums or cook meals using their mother’s recipes, then invite family over to enjoy them. Embrace the opportunity to honor the person you’ve lost; sometimes, it’s the most healing thing you can do.
4. Ignore it. F#$% Mother’s Day, right? I mean, even Anna Jarvis hated it by the end. After Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it took about four seconds for the business hounds to slink in. Jarvis couldn’t stand that her beloved holiday was transformed into the commercial extravaganza it is today, and wrote it off. No reason why you can’t do the same.
5. Allow yourself to cry. It’s almost inevitable that Mother’s Day should bring up some powerful feelings for those grieving the loss of a mother. Give yourself the time to process them in a way that is healthy and beneficial for you, either alone or with others. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and treat yourself gently, to mother yourself as you cry it out.
Wishing you strength and comfort on this Mother’s Day.