Guess what’s just around the corner? Mother’s Day! It’s a holiday that can be a difficult minefield of emotions for widowed parents. There are some strategies that those who loved them can utilize to help ease the stress and pressure of Mother’s Day, with the most important one being let them know you care. A special thank you to the Plan B Facebook Community Support Group for sharing this information.
There are two groups of people we need to support: the living parent who is a mother, and the surviving parent who was married or partnered to the mother.
For the Living Parent Who Is the Mother
Mother’s Day may be the day when she remembers all of the previous years gifts, flowers or special dining events. The person who did those things is gone, and the living Mother may feel very alone. You can:
- Reach out with a phone call, a handwritten card, text or email
- Acknowledge the reality of the difficulties that each year brings to the family
- Remind your person that she’s doing a great job
- Share a special memory of their spouse with them. Speak their name!
If you have a close relationship with the family, see if you can get the kids to make mom a special card or craft. Take the kids shopping for a treat for mom. It doesn’t have to be big; it’s the acknowledgement of the day that counts. Finally invite your mom and her children to share a meal with you. It’s a meal she doesn’t have to cook, and what a relief for one day!
If the Parent Who Passed Is a Mom
If the parent who passed is the mom, there’s a lot riding on the spouses shoulders. They may simply not know how to approach Mother’s Day with the kids, especially if they’re struggling with the fogginess of grief.
- This may be a day to bring mom flowers at the cemetery
- Make a card for mom and leave it with the flowers
- Create a ritual that honors the memory of mom
- Communicate with the children to show them YOU remember
- Say her name!
Additional Ways To Provide Support
- Help with some small chores around the house
- Offer to fix things that are broken around the house
- Show up with snacks and company
- Do an activity with the children to give the parent a break
- Encourage them to make time for self care, and then stay and watch the children so it can actually happen
- Listen and be a witness to their grief. They don’t need advice, just a listening ear.
Mother’s Day is difficult enough as is. For surviving parents, it’s a day filled with expectations and pressures they may not understand. Remind them they don’t have to be perfect. Remind them there are many ways to mark a day. Remind them of the love they shared with their person and honor the beautiful family that was created as a result of that love.
The goal isn’t to erase and forget. The goal is to remember, to honor, and to cherish the past while dealing with the realities of the present, and to cultivate hope for a future; a new life to love.
We all move through the path of grief at a different pace. What works for one may not work for another. Above all else, keep yourself out of judgement and provide support. This is a path that is completely unfamiliar for everyone, and each person has to find their way in their own time. Supporting your widowed person on this day will help them with the feelings of loss and grief, and perhaps give them a light towards a different, but meaningful future.
Blessings My Friends,
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