5 Ways to Get Through the 1st Year of Loss at Mother’s Day

As I write this I am reminded of my own mother and how she meant everything to me. She went out of her way to ensure I had all that I need. She gave of herself, everything that she was and all that she had. She prayed for me and loved me beyond measure. I can recall her calling out mine and my siblings names in prayer. Mother’s Day brings all of her efforts and love back in waves. It causes my heart to swell and my eyes to tear. As it gets closer and closer to Mother’s Day Sunday, everything seems to run together…the pain, sadness, anger and confusion as we gathered to mourn, to make sense of the loss, and to remember the wonderful gift we had for just a short while.

The first year without a mother is not just hard…its painful. Going through the season of firsts (first birthday, holiday or anniversary) without your mother can be depressing and debilitating. Each of these special moments without her brings about a season of special grief that you will endure this first year of loss. You have lost a special friend and companion so an adjustment to the loss may be immense. Sometimes you will feel overwhelmed by the changes in your daily life because YOUR mom is missing. If you move through the loss of YOUR mom one day at a time, you will slowly make progress in coping with and accepting it. The one thing you need to avoid is getting “stuck” in your pain and sadness during the first year. Keep getting up every morning. Go to work. Take care of your family. Work on healing. Even if you don’t feel like it, keep going. Time and your own efforts, WILL begin to heal your heart. You can achieve a sense of peace after this loss.  Here are some steps to help you through the first year.

  1. Feel the pain. It’s completely natural to try avoiding or delaying the pain—whether physical or emotional. We do not like pain and obviously don’t want to deal with it. However, pain is an indication that something is wrong; that something has happened or that the balance in our lives has been upset. The pain is a messenger not the message. We need to pay attention to the pain. Crying is natural. Feeling as though there is a hole in your heart is natural. The emptiness you feel won’t last always. Eventually the anger and confusion will dissipate. Feeling the pain is the first step in grieving and making it through the first year of loss. Until the pain is felt deeply and truly acknowledged, it is not possible to move forward or celebrate the life of your mother. Feel the pain, accept and nurture life, spend time each day remembering all the great memories you made together. Hold a child. Stare into the clouds. Marvel at the beauty of a flower. Do something you enjoy—whatever feeds your spirit will strengthen your connection with life and with your mom.
  2. Reach out to others who share your pain. Draw together and share your sorrow. The first year of loss brings about many challenges but also opportunities for healing and gratitude. Gathering with the community of people who loved your mom will help you to heal. When you contact and communicate with others who share your grief, you realize you are not alone and that the loneliness you feel is natural. You will find out all the emotions you are feeling are shared and knowing this makes it that much easier to see you are progressing in your path to healing.
  3. Cherish and celebrate the memories. Initially, it is natural to be focused on death and the circumstances around it. As time passes, it becomes easier to remember good times, joyful occasions, and what made your mom and the relationship you shared so special. It is ok to smile and laugh as you cherish the memories. As time passes, you will find it easier to smile when you think about her and how she touched your life. You will honor the gift you were given with warm thoughts, a smile and the joy of knowing for a short time she was yours.
  4. Create your own rituals and memorials. Honor the memory of your mother. Visit the church she attended and celebrate her life and memory with those whom she worshipped. Her favorite flowers can be placed in the worship space in her honor. Display pictures of her in places where you can see them daily to give you an opportunity to remember the blessing, she was to you. Set an extra plate at the dinner table during her favorite holiday and lay a single favorite flower on the plate. Pay attention to the birthdays and holidays adding a time for reflection on your mom.
  5. Find comfort and hope in prayer. When loss comes and we feel the pain of that loss we tend to start asking the question of “why.” Loss seems to have a certain power over our lives but it also provides an opportunity to seek comfort, peace and healing through faith, tradition and prayer. Sometimes it’s hard to pray when you are in pain or distressed. This is the time when you need to turn to God for solace and comfort. A time when you can pour out to Him the pain, anger and disappointment in the loss of your mom.

Take heart. The first year after mom’s death is going to be painful. If you pay attention to the grief, you will be better able to navigate through the loss and learn to find peace. Pay attention and focus on each day. You are wounded and it will take this first year to move you towards healing. You will find out that grief is not only about death and loss, but about hope, gratitude, and cherished memories as well.

 

Healing a World of Hurt
1660 Myrtle Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211

 

5 Ways to Get Through the 1st Year of Loss at Mother’s Day

As I write this I am reminded of my own mother and how she meant everything to me. She went out of her way to ensure I had all that I need. She gave of herself, everything that she was and all that she had. She prayed for me and loved me beyond measure. I can recall her calling out mine and my siblings names in prayer. Mother’s Day brings all of her efforts and love back in waves. It causes my heart to swell and my eyes to tear. As it gets closer and closer to Mother’s Day Sunday, everything seems to run together…the pain, sadness, anger and confusion as we gathered to mourn, to make sense of the loss, and to remember the wonderful gift we had for just a short while.

The first year without a mother is not just hard…its painful. Going through the season of firsts (first birthday, holiday or anniversary) without your mother can be depressing and debilitating. Each of these special moments without her brings about a season of special grief that you will endure this first year of loss. You have lost a special friend and companion so an adjustment to the loss may be immense. Sometimes you will feel overwhelmed by the changes in your daily life because YOUR mom is missing. If you move through the loss of YOUR mom one day at a time, you will slowly make progress in coping with and accepting it. The one thing you need to avoid is getting “stuck” in your pain and sadness during the first year. Keep getting up every morning. Go to work. Take care of your family. Work on healing. Even if you don’t feel like it, keep going. Time and your own efforts, WILL begin to heal your heart. You can achieve a sense of peace after this loss.  Here are some steps to help you through the first year.

  1. Feel the pain. It’s completely natural to try avoiding or delaying the pain—whether physical or emotional. We do not like pain and obviously don’t want to deal with it. However, pain is an indication that something is wrong; that something has happened or that the balance in our lives has been upset. The pain is a messenger not the message. We need to pay attention to the pain. Crying is natural. Feeling as though there is a hole in your heart is natural. The emptiness you feel won’t last always. Eventually the anger and confusion will dissipate. Feeling the pain is the first step in grieving and making it through the first year of loss. Until the pain is felt deeply and truly acknowledged, it is not possible to move forward or celebrate the life of your mother. Feel the pain, accept and nurture life, spend time each day remembering all the great memories you made together. Hold a child. Stare into the clouds. Marvel at the beauty of a flower. Do something you enjoy—whatever feeds your spirit will strengthen your connection with life and with your mom.
  2. Reach out to others who share your pain. Draw together and share your sorrow. The first year of loss brings about many challenges but also opportunities for healing and gratitude. Gathering with the community of people who loved your mom will help you to heal. When you contact and communicate with others who share your grief, you realize you are not alone and that the loneliness you feel is natural. You will find out all the emotions you are feeling are shared and knowing this makes it that much easier to see you are progressing in your path to healing.
  3. Cherish and celebrate the memories. Initially, it is natural to be focused on death and the circumstances around it. As time passes, it becomes easier to remember good times, joyful occasions, and what made your mom and the relationship you shared so special. It is ok to smile and laugh as you cherish the memories. As time passes, you will find it easier to smile when you think about her and how she touched your life. You will honor the gift you were given with warm thoughts, a smile and the joy of knowing for a short time she was yours.
  4. Create your own rituals and memorials. Honor the memory of your mother. Visit the church she attended and celebrate her life and memory with those whom she worshipped. Her favorite flowers can be placed in the worship space in her honor. Display pictures of her in places where you can see them daily to give you an opportunity to remember the blessing, she was to you. Set an extra plate at the dinner table during her favorite holiday and lay a single favorite flower on the plate. Pay attention to the birthdays and holidays adding a time for reflection on your mom.
  5. Find comfort and hope in prayer. When loss comes and we feel the pain of that loss we tend to start asking the question of “why.” Loss seems to have a certain power over our lives but it also provides an opportunity to seek comfort, peace and healing through faith, tradition and prayer. Sometimes it’s hard to pray when you are in pain or distressed. This is the time when you need to turn to God for solace and comfort. A time when you can pour out to Him the pain, anger and disappointment in the loss of your mom.

Take heart. The first year after mom’s death is going to be painful. If you pay attention to the grief, you will be better able to navigate through the loss and learn to find peace. Pay attention and focus on each day. You are wounded and it will take this first year to move you towards healing. You will find out that grief is not only about death and loss, but about hope, gratitude, and cherished memories as well.

 

Healing a World of Hurt
1660 Myrtle Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211