“Ugh, I hate Mother’s Day! There I said it,” my colleague said as she sat across from me in my office. “Me too,” I concurred. Here we were again having our annual conversation about our least favorite Hallmark holiday. When you work for a children’s grief organization, this is just one of the honest conversations that organically happens with a staff of individuals drawn to this cause by their own loss experiences.
My dislike of Mother’s Day began in 1995 when I was 15 years old and suddenly lost my mother. I buried my mom exactly 30 days before my first motherless Mother’s Day. I kept thinking that the way I felt would change, but each year there were reminders. In college, my roommates would call their moms in our dorm room to say Happy Mother’s Day. In my 20s, I would sit at home while my friends had brunch with their moms. Even now when I take my son to soccer on Mother’s Day, I’ll see the other women my age there with their moms, looking on their grandchild with adoration.
Like me, my colleague also lost her mom — in her 20s — and she’s found that this day causes her pain year after year. This is something no one really talks about. Grief lasts a lifetime. It often surprises the griever, as well as their friends and loved ones, how long the wounds linger. Birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and Mother’s Day can often act like salt to those wounds.
I remember someone telling me that I would come to like Mother’s Day when I had children. But three children later, I still struggle with the day. Contrary to the advice I was given, I think about how my children will never know my mom or how things they do remind me of her.
Later that day, after my conversation at work, I saw a post on my Facebook feed from Hope Edelman. Hope Edelman gave life to the mother loss movement with her book Motherless Daughters, ironically published the year before my mom died. After years of being a devotee, I’m fortunate to call Hope a friend and colleague these days. In her post, she shared that a young woman had reached out to her seeking advice. The woman’s mom had died two years ago, and she was dreading her upcoming college graduation without her mom, which was made worse by the graduation taking place on Mother’s Day weekend.
This young woman is not alone. This coming Mother’s Day weekend, my undergraduate and law school alma maters are hosting their…