Honoring Mother's Day and the Grieving Process
The month of May is powerful. Seedlings have blossomed as we dust off the winter blues and layer on a little less as we face the day. The season of spring beckons us to take stock of our belongings, shed what we no longer need and is generally seen as a time of growth and positivity. For some; however, it also evokes a bittersweet nostalgia surrounding a well-known Hallmark holiday: Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day has enjoyed increased attention with the dawn of social media. Clients who have lost their mother often express pain when reminded of their grief. Their newsfeeds are filled with pictures, messages of gratitude and seemingly personal reminders of a space that sits so vast in its emptiness. A place where empathy cannot always reach. Words of reassurance may fall short and yet within the context of mourning follows remarkable resilience. In honor of these heroic clients, I offer several of the pearls of wisdom they have imparted. May these pearls offer some solace and awaken your profound ability to heal.
Yes, you are different: It’s ok to feel as though you will never be the same. You’re right. A part of you has changed and those closest to you will understand and respect that. Great transitions often precede epic personal transformations. Let yourself grieve but also, let yourself unfold. Whatever keeps you close: A client told me her mother was a lover of animals. Shortly after her mother’s death, a bird arrived on her deck and stayed day after day. My client just knew the bird was related to her mother. She felt comforted and close. What signs or experiences allow you to feel close to your mother? Can you receive them without judgment? Continue her legacy: Clients who have lost their mother often feel sad their children will not know her. Yet, memories can be co-created with children regardless. Make an album and show your child pictures of his or her grandmother. Make her favorite meals and visit important landmarks. Love of this nature is intergenerational and easily passed on to kids. In other words, they can feel it through you.
Do what you enjoy: Whether you lost your mother yesterday or years ago, it can be difficult to do things that once brought joy. Even if it is for two minutes, commit yourself to partaking in one activity per day that you used to be passionate about. Be gentle with the process and free from any assumptions of how it should feel. Find where she lives: The universe works in mysterious ways and often provides the connections we seek. No one can ever replace your mother. But, is there someone that reminds you of her? Perhaps a relative or friend you can exchange stories with? If so, I encourage you to foster these relations. This is where she lives.
Dr. Pernod is a licensed clinical psychologist, yoga instructor and healthy living enthusiast. She has a private practice in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and enjoys working with clients of all ages. Visit her at http://drpernod.com/ and @bhavani_wellness for more information. She is wonderful and one of the clinicians I refer to frequently!