As mothers day approaches and I tactically prepare the kids for a day that will be a mixed bag of celebrations and sorrow. Sometimes someone else’s words are much better than my own.
Noah and Evie both see a grief counsellor from time to time at The National Centre For Childhood Grief. I have copied a few paragraphs from their last post, as Dianne has expressed the two sides of the mothers day coin so beautifully.
“Good mothers deserve to be celebrated, to be honoured and remembered. They are often the glue that binds family relationships. For many of us, our mothers provide our first experience of unconditional love, and our first experience of safe, physical touch. Our mothers are usually the first person to give us the kind of nurturing connection that creates in us a sense of belonging, and leaves us with a lifelong desire, conscious or unconscious, to recapture that rare feeling of intimacy without cost, of intimacy that is ‘us’ centred.
For those of us fortunate enough to have experienced good mothering, Mother’s Day provides an opportunity to focus on the role mothers play in our lives. They gave us life, a name, a place in the family, nurture, rules to keep us safe, values and beliefs. They taught us language, the way to conduct family relationships and how to build and maintain relationships with the wider community. They made us feel safe, understood, supported, encouraged, and most importantly, loved. No wonder many people look forward to and enjoy all that Mothers’ Day is meant to celebrate.
But life isn’t like that for everyone. Let’s think for a moment not only of those people whose mothers died prematurely, leaving vulnerable young children bereft, but also of the folk whose mothers were abusive, cold, punishing, narcissistic, abandoning, physically or emotionally absent. They may have grieved all of their lives as they longed for the mother of their dreams.
We may also wonder what Mothers’ Day celebrations might be like for mothers whose children have died prematurely? For women whose dreams of motherhood remain unfulfilled? For mothers of missing children? For mothers denied access to their children? For mothers neglected or ill treated by their children? For mothers whose children are imprisoned? For mothers whose children are lost in the fog of alcohol or other drug dependence, or of mental illness?
A Time for Celebration, Sorrow and Compassion
If you are one of the fortunate people, celebrate the day, treasure your memories, and make new ones. Then remember and show compassionate understanding to those less fortunate. Send a card, an email, a text message, flowers – show that you care. The gifts that our mothers have given us are multiplied when we use them to nurture, and to be other centred.
On this special day, let’s drink a toast to mothers everywhere, good or bad, for giving us life, and to mother earth who sustains it!”