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  • Vaneshia Jenkins, LPC

When Mother's Day Isn't So Happy

I've always looked forward to Mother's Day. Whether it is celebrating your mother or being celebrated as a mother, Mother's Day is always a reason to celebrate, right? Well, not always. It wasn't until my sister-cousins (a cousin that's more like a sister) loss their mom did I gain a different perspective about this special day. Now, I think of how those must feel to have loss their mother and the grief and sadness that comes with it. Or those who have strained, broken relationships with their mother. Even more, what about the woman who longs to be a mother but has yet to mother her own child or maybe the mother who has lost her child.

Grief and Loss

Grief is a fickle thing. It comes when you least expect it. It never grows old and never goes away. It's experienced differently from person to person. It's triggered by the most random of occurrences, such as a smell, a word, a sound, a touch. In the age of social media, grief triggers are everywhere. How many Happy Mother's Day posts, pictures, GIF's, videos, or memes have you seen today? Likely, to many to count. How does one deal with it all when it's everywhere?

4 Tips for the Grieving

1. Be honest with yourself about how you feel.

If you feel sad, feel sad. If you need to cry, cry. Express your feelings. It's too exhausting to pretend to be happy when you are not for the sake of others. Acknowledge that grief is a part of your journey and it is a normal response to loss.

2. Don't isolate. Reach out to your social support.

Call, text, FaceTime, etc. someone that you love and trust and talk about what you are feeling. Family or friends may not be able to relate, likely don't know what to say, and can't make it go away. However, there can be a sense of relief to have someone join with you in grief and support you through the process.

3. Commemorate or memorialize your loss.

Find a way to memorialize your loved one that speaks to you. Whether it be releasing a ballon in the sky, putting flowers on the gravesite, or sending a message in a bottle in the ocean, find a creative, personal way to commemorate your loss. This honors your loss and memories.

4. Be proactive

Plan for Mother's Day and the feelings that may come with it. Seek out a therapist to help you process the grief before a significant trigger presents itself. Find an online support group specific to your loss. Plan a trip, outing, or an enjoyable activity to refocus thoughts.

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