Mother’s Day can be a challenging time for those who have lost their mothers. It can evoke feelings of sadness, loneliness, and longing. While it’s essential to acknowledge and honour these emotions, it’s also crucial to take care of yourself and practice self-compassion.
It might be tempting to try to avoid triggering your grief on Mother’s Day by avoiding any mention of the day itself. However, with so many marketing campaigns everywhere – TV, social media, shops, restaurants all advertising their Mother’s Day gifts and offers – this is an impossibility. Even your e-mail in-box will likely be full of Mother’s day offers. You’ll likely spend more energy and time avoiding mention of the day than it will take to handle the emotions.
First of all, it’s important to know that all emotions are useful and good. Emotions tell us something.
In CET we approach emotions with the idea that there is only one emotion and that’s LOVE. We could describe emotion as Energy in Motion (E-Motion). When we feel positive emotions, it’s because we are allowing the flow of love, and negative emotions are just love trying to flow but being blocked or restricted.
So we can think about the sadness we feel when we lose someone, as love trying to find a home. Our grief is the love we feel for our mothers trying to flow, but it has nowhere to go now she’s gone. Your sadness is because you loved her. That feeling of sadness is just love trying to find somewhere or someone to flow to.
Here are some things you can do to feel to handle grief at this time.
- Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind and gentle with yourself. Recognize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief on Mother’s Day if you’ve lost her. Acknowledge your emotions and offer yourself words of comfort and care.
- Honour and celebrate her life, even if she’s not physically there. Consider taking a sibling, partner or other loved ones out in honour of your mother.
- Celebrate other mothers, even if they’re not yours. Join with the celebration of your partners or your friend’s mothers.
- Write your mother a letter expressing all that you would love to say to her. You can keep this as a memento, or if you prefer, burn it and imagine the smoke taking your message of love to her soul. Even if you aren’t spiritual or religious, the act of writing can be cathartic and helps to organise your thoughts and emotions.
- Gift a Mother’s Day treat to someone in need. Donating a voucher for a meal, afternoon tea or Mother’s Day gifts or treats to a food bank or other charity. You can feel good knowing that your love is being shared with someone who might not be able to afford to treat their own mother. If we think about the emotion of sadness being caused by love trying to find somewhere to flow to. Gifting in this way enables your love for your mother to flow to someone else. Even if they’re a stranger it can bring so much joy.
- Celebrate or treat someone even if they’re not your own mother. Mothering goes beyond the biological birthing of a child. Many people nurture us in the way a mother might. If you have someone in your life whom you know loves you and whom you rely on why not treat them.
- If your grief feels unbearable, it might be worth getting some professional help. It’s normal to feel sad when someone dies. Indeed, it would be strange if you didn’t mourn the loss of your mother.
The relationship we have with our mothers is a complex one. Often our sadness is coupled with other emotions and it can be confusing and uncomfortable. For example we might feel guilt that we didn’t spend enough time with them and show enough love when they were alive. Perhaps you said something you now regret. You might even feel anger or hurt from something she said or did (or didn’t say or do) when she was alive; now she’s gone and it feels unresolved and incomplete. This is where a technique like Conscious, Emotional Transformation, CET can be really powerful. CET clears painful emotions from the past, allowing you to remember your mother with fondness and love and forgiveness. It won’t bring her back, but you will be able to remember her with love
Dr Lisa Turner