By Lucy Vorbach, Acupuncturist
Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. While for most it is a loving and joyous day, for those, like me, who have lost their mum it may not be the case.
A year ago today, I was writing my mother’s eulogy. On the 29th of April 2017, my mum passed away suddenly from the flu. Two days before she had told me she was feeling better. She was admitted to hospital in the early hours of Friday morning. She was diagnosed with double pneumonia and passed away by lunchtime Saturday. It was by far the worst day of my life. So, when my friend asked me yesterday “What does Mother’s Day mean to me this year”, I couldn’t answer her. My feeling was numbness.
Nothing can prepare you for what it is like to lose your mum. Three of my closest friends have lost their own mothers before me. I felt deeply sad for them, offered them words of comfort, I tried to support them in anyway I could think of, even offering out my own mother to help my friends “get through” the grief. I had no idea though how excruciating it is to no longer have your mother.
I was in the supermarket the other day and found myself standing in the isle where the entire Mothers’ Day cards and gifts were displayed. For half an hour, I stood there reading the prose of the Mother’s Day cards. With tears rolling down my face I pondered which one I would buy my mum, then said to myself “don’t be silly” and walked away. This morning I have realized that despite my mother not being here, I never want to stop honoring her. How can I do this on Mother’s Day? I cannot plan for how I am going to feel but I do know the things that have helped me in the past year to feel better. For those who have also lost their mother, maybe my plan will help you too.
My 10 Step plan:
- Start my day with gratitude- I am so grateful in so many ways for the mother I had. She was an amazing woman and I am so lucky to have had her as my mum. Starting my day with gratitude frames my day to be filled with positivity.
- Spending time with family, friends and the support network that have helped me to move forward step by step this year- I’m going to Warrnambool to spend the day with my brother and sister- in-law and my 4 year old twin niece and nephew. Spending time surrounded by the people I love makes my heart full.
- Exercise helps to release stress and tension and most importantly to me, clear my mind. My sister in law and I ran the mother’s day classic last year and we will be participating again this year. Last year was not easy. Crossing the finish line together holding hands is a moment I will never forget.
- Write my mum a Mother’s Day card. Roll it up and put it in a balloon. Fill it with helium and let it go for her to catch.
- Write! Writing about my mum helped me in the healing process. I have written her letters, written about how I feel and noted memories. I have poured out my heart in words and this has helped me to keep going when I’ve felt scared or lost.
- Have a glass of her favourite wine. I will need to hold my nose for this as I don’t drink (much to her disgust!).
- Talk about her and the wonderful memories we have!
- Take joy in life. She would want me to do this. Take time to appreciate and listen.
- Light a candle in her honor- my niece and nephew will love blowing them out over and over again
- Allow myself to feel and know that it is okay! It’s okay to be sad, okay to be happy, okay to feel love and be loved. It took me a long time to realize this during this past year but I now know that “feeling” speeds up the grieving process and that my mum would not want me to be sad for any longer than I need to be.
Now that I have my 10 step plan in place, I am confident that this Mother’s Day will be a little easier for me to manage. On that note, I am off to the supermarket to buy my mum a Mothers Day card.
Sending all my love to the mums and mum’s-to-be this Mother’s Day.