With Mother’s Day only a week away, we wanted to write a blog post about what we do for, and on, this day. Anyone who is or has a Mother will know how special this day is. It’s the day that you actually remember to tell your Mum how much you love her, how you appreciate everything she does for you and how you wouldn’t be the person you are today without her. We believe that that specialness should continue even if that amazing woman is no longer in your life. If you cannot physically tell her all those things, it’s still important to think and acknowledge them.
The first Mother’s Day without our Niece and Nephew’s Mummy came six months after her death. Coincidentally, Mother’s Day in that year fell on Niece’s 6th birthday; her first birthday without her Mummy. Because of this, we decided go on a day trip with Niece, Nephew, their Sister (Niece number two!), her Dad and the Grandparents. We had Merlin Passes so Niece chose to go to Chessington World of Adventure. It was so lovely for us to all be together and doing something new and exciting with our Nieces and Nephew. When we were there, it was heart-warming to see them having fun together on the day that in years to come they may find more difficult. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: children are so resilient. This first Mother’s Day was challenging for all of us, but seeing those three children laughing and being silly made us so overwhelmingly proud. But then your emotions flip 360 and the reality of the situation hits you like a punch in the gut: their Mummy isn’t here to see it.
She didn’t see her Son’s first day at school, didn’t see her Daughter say her lines in the school play for the first time ever. She will miss so many firsts that are yet to come. We aren’t entirely sure that our Niece and Nephew see or understand the magnitude of this. Her death has left a hole in all of our hearts that will be impossible to repair. This is another reason why acknowledging Mother’s Day is so important.
One way we have done this, is by working in partnership with the school to ensure that they are aware of how to appropriately support our Niece and Nephew. We don’t want them to shy away from the topic of Mother’s Day, or think that it’s a better idea to not let our Niece and Nephew participate in any activities. They have a Mummy. And this day should be an opportunity for them to remember her. However, this being said, we have always given them a choice over who they make their Mother’s Day card for. Last year Nephew chose to make his for the both of us. Whereas Niece chose to make hers for her Mummy. Her teacher was brilliant and sat with her one to one to decide on a suitable message to go inside the card. “Happy Mother’s Day” just wasn’t going to cut it. They chose “I am thinking of you” - what a perfect choice of words. She came home so proud of her card.
This time of year can made a little more difficult by the amount of “IT’S MOTHER’S DAY!!” there is around. On adverts, at supermarkets, in conversations. You all know that we never shy away from these difficult situations, but that doesn’t mean that walking down an aisle full of Mother’s Day cards isn’t going to be confusing for our Niece and Nephew. They may or may not say this to us, but there’s no doubt in our mind that seeing all of that is unpleasant for them.
As always, we approach this topic honestly and openly. We use it as an opportunity to talk to our Niece and Nephew about their Mummy. About what we miss. About what we remember. About how we feel. We always want them to know that we miss Mummy too. The biggest piece of advice we can give to anyone supporting a child with bereavement is not to ignore the special occasions. To use those special occasions as an opportune time to discuss the person that has died. You all know that we are advocates for this type of conversation and really hope that we can inspire others to do the same. Talk to your friend about the parent they have lost. They will undoubtedly appreciate it.