Mother's Day, according to the greeting card industry is supposed to be a day of joy. To Motherless daughters, it's a day of reflection.
Photo courtesy of the author
As Mother’s Day approaches, I become a roller coaster of emotions. Every year I ask myself the same thing; is it truly possible to have a happy Mother’s Day when you’re a motherless daughter on this special day?
As I am now blessed to be a mother to three amazing little ones, I was also once someone’s daughter. I was the one making the macaroni necklaces and giving the hand-drawn cards highlighting all the things my mother did to show her love.
So how do we daughters who lost part of ourselves celebrate on this day for the sake of our children without hesitation or sadness?
It’s safe to say there is no cookie cutter way to cope with the flood of emotions this day brings. But deep down behind the heartbreak and memories, we know it’s our turn to be celebrated.
I owe my children the chance to create the same precious memories I was lucky enough to have and that I now long for. I owe it to them to push my guilt aside so that I can be the one to be appreciated and loved for being the mother I am today.
If I’m completely honest with myself the first year without my mother was hell. I couldn’t bare to even look at a mother / daughter duo without wanting to cry and scream. I avoided the card section entirely for the month of May.
I was so very angry at how unfair it was that Mary and her mom were out to brunch and I had just buried mine. How grandmas were hugging their grandbabies tight and my kids were now without one.
We were robbed of so many years, so many memories yet to be made. And this holiday was a tangible reminder of the loss we suffered.
Maybe you are reading this words and nodding. Maybe you’ve been there. Or maybe you and your mother had a falling out and are out of touch, for one reason or another. Maybe you never knew your mother.
To be without a mother, or even a mother-figure, on this special day, for whatever reason, can feel like a tremendous loss. For many, it is a wound that needs to be healed. But how can healing begin when there are reminders of what we are missing everywhere?
For motherless daughters with children of their own – motherless mommies – we have the perfect inspiration to start the healing process.
After all, we are our children’s frame of reference; they look to us to learn everything.
It’s our job to make sure they know they are loved and happy and to teach compassion and coping skills – even on the days we could use a refresher. Especially on those days.
I am going on five years without my mother. She is the person who taught me how to be a mom, the one who coached me through first colds and skinned knees. And what I learned and am still learning is that that there is no right or wrong way to cope with the loss on Mother’s Day.
What is most important is that you do it together with your children. It will happen organically. It may even shock you when you realize their pure love washes over you and replaces the sadness that used to take up so much room in your heart. And that’s okay. It is more than okay.
The biggest struggle I find around Mother’s Day is to be present with my kids and hang up all their handmade gifts without them seeing that hint of sadness that will always live within me.
It is a process. But with time, love, and support, I will get there. And, if you’re reading this, as a motherless mom, you will, too.
While I will always miss my mom, I know she would want nothing but happiness for me and my babies. Her memory lives on within them. We speak of her often and what I have learned from all this is that I don’t need a holiday or a greeting card to tell me when to celebrate my mother. I do that today and always.
Happy Mother’s Day. I might still say these words with a lump in my throat, but I can say them with love.