I can still see the Lilies of the Valley that surrounded my grandparents' small patio. They would pop up around the stepping stones every year and announce the arrival of spring. Many Mother’s Days would be spent on that patio enjoying a family dinner. Only rain would chase us inside. Although it has been many years since I spent Mother’s Day there, I cannot help but think of it when Mother’s Day approaches. Love, laughter and family defined the day. This Mother’s Day will be quite different. My children are all out of town, so I will travel to spend the day with my mother. There will be no picnic, no family gathering, but there will still be love and laughter.
Time changes things. Those who were a part of our special days are no longer with us. Some have died, others have moved away and some we have just drifted apart from, but the day still arrives and it is up to us to create new memories and traditions. Some will take time to visit their mothers and grandmothers at the only place they now can… the cemetery. Others may call, Skype or find other ways to connect to loved ones. Each of us will remember. We will think of those special women in our lives who helped to shape us. They may not be our biological mothers, but instead our best friend’s mom or the special teacher or boss. We are surrounded by so many people who, in one way or another, touch our lives and take up a special place in our hearts.
When I speak with someone who has lost a parent, they often state that others expect them to “be over” their loss in months and cannot understand why they are still grieving. My response is always the same: You have had your parent in your life since the beginning. They have always, or nearly always, been a part of your life, and months are not enough time to adjust to no longer having them in your world. Our parents wanted the best for us and they did the best they could to be there for us. It is now our turn to do the same for our children, our nieces, nephews and those other kids who enter our lives. This is how we can honor our parents' memories.
Mother’s Day is a day dedicated to honoring our mothers and grandmothers. Not just for who they are, but for who they made us. It is a day to remember good times from our childhood and to think of times spent with our own kids. It does not matter who we spend the day with, it matters who we have shared our lives with. Give thanks for those women who loved us. Give thanks for those children whose lives we have positively impacted. Give thanks for those picnics long ago.
Me? I will be spending some time that day planting Lilies of the Valley at my new home knowing that every year when they bloom, my grandmother will be with me still.
Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons/solent66