If you ask a bereaved parent how they survived the death of their child, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you.
I don’t know how I got out of bed after learning that my daughter would not survive.
I don’t know how I got out of bed on the day we knew she would die, as she did in my husband’s arms.
I don’t know how I got out of bed every day for the past 6+ years.
But I did.
It has not been without tears, aching arms, and the disbelief that my greatest love will forever be missing.
But I continued to get up each day.
For the past 6+ years, life has continued to move forward. No, we have not “moved on” from our daughter but we have moved forward to create love, joy, and a family with our two sons.
We stay present and don’t dwell in our loss. We remember and include our daughter in our life and conversations. We wonder about her and miss her dearly.
But, we continue to get out of bed and bravely face the world.
Then, Mother’s Day comes. To think that this is a day that only affects moms is just not true. Fathers also feel the pain for their partners, wanting to fix it, make it better, or change the reality that can’t be changed.
Mother’s Day is a sucker punch to our grief. It’s the spotlight to what is missing.
The same argument can be made for any holiday or special day, really. And the same statement can be applied to anyone hurting on these holidays as they miss someone they love, or grieve a life they thought they’d have.
We do our best each day to brave the world around us and these “special days” are the obstacle to our course. Not only do we have to face the day, but we have to jump the hurdles that accompany it. Text messages, social media posts, advertisements, special brunches-while sweet and endearing, they magnify loss.
So my advice on these days is to listen to your heart, to stay present in the moment, and to be true to your needs. You may want solitude, you may need the company of others. Celebrating the other moms and women in your life may feel comforting, it may be overwhelming. And whatever you decide to do on this day that is intended to honor YOUR motherhood too, it’s ok to change your mind.
But remember this, you are still your child’s mother. You will always be your child’s mom.
So take today and do whatever you need to soothe your tender heart.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.