Widowers Guide to Surviving Mothers Day
Posted on 6th March 2018 at 10:58
All relationships are unique – so an article like this can only serve as a starting point for you and your unique situation. If you have more than one child, then each of them will have had their own unique relationship with their Mum, reflecting their own unique lives and experiences so it won’t be surprising to find that feelings around this annual event will be different for each of you.
Therefore, our first suggestion is to talk about Mother’s Day before it happens; have some suggestions on what to do on the day and ask them what they want to do, either by talking about your idea and asking for reactions or letting them go first. Even the very youngest may have strong feelings, be prepared for this.
Bear in mind that while it is tempting to ignore your own wishes to accommodate your kids, your feelings are valid too. Children are very aware of changes in your body language and attempting to hide your feelings can easily be interpreted as you lying to them. Always tell the truth about yourself. This doesn’t mean disclosing everything – it means being truthful about your feelings in language they can understand. For example, if they want to go the park because that’s what you did when their mother was alive, but you can’t face that just yet, them tell them what you’d rather do and why. It might be along the lines of: “The park is such a happy place and I’m scared that I’m so sad, it will spoil it. How would you feel if we went to the lake instead and floated some flowers on it for Mum?”
Talk to the school and find out what activities, if any, they have planned around Mother’s Day, so you can voice any concerns you have, and talk to your kids so you can prepare them. Often in grief it is when things catch us by surprise that feelings can become overwhelming. When I was intensely grieving I used to call them “landmines.” You’re busy getting through your day and something like opening a book and finding a card from my husband to me had been used as a bookmark. Seeing his handwriting would trigger a storm of grief. Although at a later time, at a time of my choosing, I could look at it and be comforted. If your child arrives at school to be told they are making Mother’s Day cards without warning, it could be very distressing. What’s worse is I have heard of children being excluded from this sort of activity as they “no longer have a Mum.” Whether or not they want to make a card and what they then do with that card should be your child’s choice.
Ideas of things you can do to mark the day with your kids
• Plant daffodils or other Spring flowers so that each year a colourful memory pops up around now.
• Make a cake or special pudding
• Write messages to Mum on rice paper, roll it into a cylinder or fold the paper into a boat and float it in a lake or stream and watch it gradually sink
• Play “pooh sticks” with flowers instead of sticks
• Write down all Mum’s favourite sayings and quotes in a notebook – this could be added to over time as you remember them.
In summary, talk to each other and make plans to minimise the risk of “landmines” and remember that this is just another day, and it too will pass.
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You might also find our articles on helping children deal with grief helpful.
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