Last Sunday was Bereaved Mother’s Day. For the last few years it didn’t matter much to me that there was a day designated to us bereaved mothers. I have always dreaded and been saddened by any version of Mother’s Day since losing Marley and I just didn’t understand what Bereaved Mother’s Day could mean for me.
On Sunday I had a change of heart. I wondered what would happen if I dedicated my grief around losing my (version of) motherhood for Marley to this particular day and left space for the celebration of my motherhood to my living children for the other Mothers Day. I shared with some of my closest friends this idea to separate the two and quickly remembered that even with the deepest of compassion there is just no way to understand what I am talking about…unless you too are a bereaved parent. I spent Sunday grieving the mothering of Marley. I am loosely considering allowing some sort of celebration with my family on the coming Sunday.
So, by separating I am integrating. By allowing for the grief and giving the grief a place at the table, but in a way that (hopefully) will not strip me of the joy Mother’s Day can bring, I am able to have both. I spend a lot of energy working to have both. Grief and joy, gratitude and feeling ripped off, lonely and overwhelmed by support, hate my life and love my life…always a job to do both. If it works like I hope, it will feel like a win to be able to enjoy a special day with my family and to have also honored the work it takes to be Marley’s mother…each of my children present unique opportunities to be their mom. Sometimes these opportunities are easier than others. For example, it feels really hard to be a parent/teacher to a 5th grader who is missing his life and school. There are days when this is the work of being his mom. The work of being Marley’s mom is missing her and learning to live without her…This year I have two mothers day…one which acknowledges the work of being Marley’s mother and the other for the work it takes to be the mother of my other children. May there be moments of joy this weekend as I work to hold the joy, gratitude, support and loving my life as a mother. May you also have moments of joy.