This has been an interesting Mother’s Day. I realize I am fortunate to have my mother still here, given that I will be 60 in a few weeks. Most people my age don’t have both parents still alive and healthy. Sadly, due to COVID-19, I haven’t physically been in their presence since 2019 despite living only about 100 miles away. But, thanks to technology, we stay in touch. I was able to call Mom yesterday to wish her a happy, low-key Mother’s Day. I guess it’s the first in nearly 60 years she didn’t spend with any of her children.
Last week, I was interviewed by NPR for an article about Mother’s Day. I got a small comment in the article despite having provided over three paragraphs of thoughts. The mention is fantastic, though. I appreciate my friend Terri Daniel for referring them to me and having me included.
I kept a low profile last week for “Bereaved Mothers’ Day”. But, Laurie Smith asked me to address a group of mothers yesterday on actual Mother’s Day, and I shared my thoughts with the group. I’m not a fan of Bereaved Mother’s Day. First of all, bereaved is a sad word. Second, as I told Laurie when she asked me what the topic should be for our gathering, I said, “Once a mother, always a mother”. We don’t need to set aside a separate day for mothers whose children have passed into spirit. Those kids still exist, and those mothers have every bit as much of a right to Mother’s Day as any other mother. I know that Mother’s Day is a trigger for some. That was the subject of the NPR article, companies giving people the opportunity to opt-out of Mother’s Day promotions. My advice was rather than opting people out, to be more inclusive, to include mothers whose children had transitioned before them, instead of isolating grieving mothers, even more, to include children whose mothers are not here in the physical. And to celebrate the fact that while our bodies are not eternal, our love is.
We had about twenty-five mothers at the Zoom meeting, and that is exactly what we did. We talked about ways to honor our kids on this day, to remember the great times we had with them. And, we did the same for those whose mothers are in spirit. Rather than try to avoid Mother’s Day and spend it sad and alone, this group of warrior women came together, supported each other, and we came up with some creative ways to celebrate. One mother said her son would have made crab cakes for her for dinner. So, she was going to have crab cakes! I loved that. I’m sure many tears were shed. But I know that at least some of those were happy tears.
I opened the meeting by playing a song by Jem, “You Will Make It”. It was the perfect song for the meeting, acknowledging how our worlds have been shattered. But, our loved ones have never really left us. And, they want us to make it. We spent quite a while discussing the song and acknowledging how common these feelings are, including often a sense of guilt when we begin to heal.
As we held our hour-long meeting, more than one mother saw a cardinal outside their windows. I believe a sign for one is a sign for all. So, we all took that. A sign for one is a sign for all.
Kayla spent the day with us and, at Tywana’s request, we had a sushi appetizer followed by fried chicken, baked potatoes, and sauteed asparagus. We started the day with Daylight Donuts, Tywana’s favorites, and she finished with a four cake sampler she picked up for dessert.
My strategy for days that are triggers is not to try to avoid them but to lean into them. Whether it’s Father’s Day (coming up), a birthday, or Christmas, you cannot avoid the day. What you can do is choose how you look at it.