The first Mother’s Day without my mom wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. The universe really tried to mess me up by having it fall exactly one month after my mom died. I spent most of the day hanging out with my sister, who is also a mom, shopping and having food that reminded us of mom. We felt like she was with us.
I joked last year with my friends. “Read the room Hallmark!” Honestly though the Mother’s Day posts and cards and ads didn’t bother me that much last year. This year has been a different story. That’s the thing about grief, you never know how or when it’s going to show up.
I use humor to mask the pain I’m in. I joke about being motherless sometimes. I talk very candidly about it. I warn people in case they might find it callous or rude. I say, “this is just how I deal with grief.” It’s how I get through uncomfortable feelings.
Notice I said “to mask the pain I’m in.” I don’t often share how truly effing destroyed I am by being a member of the dead mom’s club. While I tell people all the time that it’s okay to be sad, or angry, or feel whatever it is they are feeling, I rarely give myself the same permission. “It’s okay to not be okay, except for me. I gotta always be okay.”
Grieving doesn’t have a defined start – I know people who are grieving people who are still alive, and people who have started grieving someone who had been dead for years, and it absolutely doesn’t have a defined ending, unless that ending is when the grieving person dies, but there’s no way to know that for sure. I think because grief is never ending, folks that haven’t experienced grief (especially the kind that comes from grieving a person you loved the way I loved my mom) have no idea what that person wants or needs, or how long they need it. It’s up to the grieving people to let others know what they need.
I’ve expressed my needs here and there, sometimes as a side note in conversation, sometimes as a reposted Instagram image, blog or Facebook post. So here’s how I feel right now, on this second Mother’s Day without my mom:
- I love talking about my mom, and I love when people bring up memories with her.
- I love it when people tell me I look like or act like my mom.
- It doesn’t bother me when people want to vent about problems with their mom, or complain about their mom… to an extent. There are some days when I hear people’s complaints and my immediate reaction in my head is, “At least your mom isn’t dead.” However I know I complained about my mom. She annoyed me sometimes. We fought. Her being dead doesn’t change the dynamics of our relationship, and it doesn’t change the dynamics others have with their moms.
- Telling me she’s always with me or she’s in a better place or that I can talk to her whenever I want to is rarely helpful or comforting. I sometimes do believe those things, but more often they frustrate me.
- Saying you’re sorry for my loss is nice, and sometimes I remember that I can say “thank you” but sometimes I feel obligated to say “it’s okay” and it just isn’t.
- Telling me “dude that sucks” or asking me about my grief, her death, her life – that is my favorite response to me bringing up that my mom died.
- Talking to other motherless people is the most comforting. It’s not that people who haven’t lost their moms can’t be sympathetic, can’t help, or can’t comfort – but the empathetic, “I have been in your shoes” understanding is just very soothing.
- When you think, “oh hey I bet this is a tough day for Megan” simply saying “I’m thinking about you today” or “I realized yesterday was the anniversary of your mom dying, I’m thinking of you” or ANYTIME – it really means a lot to me.
Thank you to everyone who has been there for me through these first two Mother’s Days without my mom. Thank you to everyone who reads my posts, my blogs, who gets through the whole thing. Every text, reaction, call, hug, conversation means so much to me.
Here’s me being totally honest: this Mother’s Day sucks, and there’s nothing that will make it not suck, so please don’t try. I miss my mom so much. Simultaneously, I love all of the mothers in my life so much – my friends, my family, and I’m grateful to have all of you, I’m thankful you’ve offered me your motherly care at some point in my life.
With that I can say to all my friends and family who are mothers: Happy Mother’s Day.
And to my motherless friends and family: this really sucks.
Some of you are reading: Happy Mother’s Day, this really sucks. ❤️