Mothers Day When We No Longer Have a Mother….

Last year for Mothers Day, we took Clay’s mom out to eat. With her flowers and card, she told everyone it was her birthday. We went with that. It is a good memory in the midst of that season.  This year she has passed and we find ourselves with no mom in the family. When my mother died a few years ago, I was surprised by the strong orphan feeling.  I am an adult and been successfully navigating my life for many years but when faced with the reality of both parents leaving this earth, it was an odd mix of responsibility and neediness. Now with my husbands family gone, we are it.  The patriarchs of the family.  It is strange with no family standing between us and the end of life.  Whether we have had great relationships or struggles, there is something comforting about that buffer. Even when I remind myself -this is normal life changes and seasons, it feels odd and unnatural. Embracing this new season and acting on my decision of what do I want this time to look like and feel like for me helps to make it more normal. What legacy do I want to leave in this world? Am I making steps to make that happen?

Then, we are faced with a holiday reminding us of what we are missing.  Normally, I say look at what you have in your life rather than focusing on what is missing. However,

While not the best picture of my mom, I do remember the wonderful experience of caring for her in hospice with my sisters.  A time of laughing and loving and celebrating life.
While not the best picture of my mom, I do remember the wonderful experience of caring for her in hospice with my sisters. A time of laughing and loving and celebrating life.

this mother loss is a huge thing and we wonder how can we honor our mom when she is not with us?  Here are my suggestions:

1) Accept and honor your emotion.  Is it is sadness,  grief, anger, relief?  For me there is a combination of all of these. Pretending it is otherwise does not help.  I don’t want to live here, but I know the feelings are there and it’s ok.

2) Talk to your Mom.  I know this sounds so weird, but it is amazing!  Just because she is not around doesn’t mean you can’t express your thoughts and feelings. What would you tell her if she were here?  Say it out loud. It releases something in you.  If that is too strange, write it out in a letter and put it in a mailbox with her first name and addressed to heaven or the great unknown.  Communicating these feelings get them out of you and releases you to be in the present.

3) Celebrate Life.  The great news is because we had a mother, we are alive.  What a precious gift.  What can you do to honor and celebrate this gift?? For me being outside is so healing.  Taking a hike, digging in the dirt, or just sitting on the ground watching the clouds is a grand celebration of life. Today we are expecting some lovely springtime thunderstorms. I plan to sit on the porch, get caught in the excitement of the lightening, wind and thunder. It is a great day to be alive!

Happy Mothers Day to YOU!!

How do you celebrate and honor your mother?

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3 thoughts on “Mothers Day When We No Longer Have a Mother….

  1. Sonja, thank you for sharing this about Mother’s Day. I remember as a kid, that Mother’s Day was so much fun. As you know, I was raised by my Mom and her parents, so I had strong women around me. My Mom passed away in a very sad and hard way when I was 27. I remember telling my therapist that I felt like I was 12 (which is the age for girls to really start to ‘find’ themselves and become their own person). I really didn’t do that in the correct order but the passing of my Mom forced the issue. My Dad had been dead for 5 years by then and we weren’t close but losing my Mom was gutting. At the same time, I found that ‘thing’ that others find when they’re much younger and start to become your ‘own person’. I’ll never, ever say I’m glad I lost my Mom. I will say that I wish I would’ve ‘found’ myself while she was still alive to share who I am because, truth be told, I am NOT the person I was then. The thing I’ve come to understand through the grief, growth and happiness is that I’m this person (in large part) now because of those strong women that raised me. I was a slow starter. So, now, every year, I still celebrate my Mom and her Mom. I celebrate myself too, even though I don’t have human kids. I’ve put that nurturing into others with becoming a RN, taking in rescue animals and I am learning to nurture myself, though that’s a LOT tougher. I love reading people’s posts about Mother’s Day and how happy it is. I never forget there are those out there for which this is not a happy day – those that have lost their Moms (whether recent or a long time ago) and those that wanted to be a Mom but couldn’t. I hope that you and your wonderful family have a great Mother’s Day weekend and remember all the great things about the women that came before you and the fabulous ones coming up behind you. Your daughters are showing what a fantastic role model you are for them and that they learned well through many generations.

  2. How wonderful your piece was for those of us onn the same pathway as you. I remember when my mom died; it meant now I was the only one of our little family of 4 alive. I lost my only sister when I was 18 and she 22. I have lived the very experience of being an orphan deeply. It surprised me but your validation shows this is normal and how God has designed us to love one another and never forget. Also I have done much talking to my mom as well. I still say to my sister, how I wish you were here so I would not feel lost at times. Thank you for sharing.

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