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My Reflections on Mother’s Day as a Daughter and as a Grief Therapist

Mother’s Day is a cherished occasion dedicated to honouring the nurturing spirit of mothers. For those who have experienced the loss of a mother or a child, there’s the warm embrace of family and the quiet undercurrent of sorrow also exists. For many, Mother’s Day is not merely a day of celebration but also a solemn occasion marked by remembrance and reflection. This is where a grief therapist can be of great help by providing support and guidance through the complex emotions that accompany grief, loss and unfulfilled dreams.

My Mum

I want to share a little about my mum with you. We had a tumultuous relationship throughout my life until her later years. My mum was so funny at the end of her life. You see, she didn’t know me then; she had dementia and thought I was the coffee lady.

Our story begins

The early years

Mum and I had quite a tumultuous relationship while I was growing up. She wielded strictness like a shield, leaving me feeling fenced in during my formative years. Forbidden from so many activities, I resorted to lying in a bid for teenage freedom. However, my attempts at deception often backfired spectacularly. It turns out, I’m about as skilled at lying as a fish out of water. My lies were easily unravelled, especially in our small country town where everyone was privy to everyone else’s business.

At 14 years old, I remember receiving quite a few lashings for being insolent and defiant. I backchatted all the time and apparently, I was very clumsy. On one occasion, I recall being exceedingly careful with one of Mum’s delicate crockery teapots, following all the superstitious rituals Nana had taught me. Yet, when I reached to pick up the pot, I accidentally knocked it off the table, and it shattered into a million pieces. Boy, did I receive a hiding for that!

The middle years

When I became a mum myself, she became more distant from me. I’ve always had a closer relationship with my dad. I think Mum didn’t know how to have conversations with me about being a mum except to tell me what I was doing wrong. I did it my way, the way it worked for my children and myself.

The later years

When Mum was 75 years old, she was diagnosed with dementia. After a while, she didn’t recognise who I was. I realised this one day as I approached her. She stood up with a huge, loving smile and outstretched arms to greet me, saying, “I haven’t seen you for a long time. Are we going for coffee?”

From then on, I was the “Coffee lady.” I really enjoyed this part of our lives together because I could do no wrong as long as I took her for a coffee.

We had wonderful conversations and on this particular day, Mum shocked me. She was lucid and we had a conversation that was supposed to happen after our youngest twin died. Now, this was one of the best days of my life because I realised Mum didn’t have the capacity when she died to have this loving conversation with me. I felt like she understood what I had gone through and wondered if she’d been through it herself. I recorded this video not long after we had that conversation.

My final thoughts as Grief Therapist

I think Mum and I were two strong willed, pig headed, wonderful women who just butted up against one another because we saw ourselves in each other. Through my work in therapy and in my work as a grief therapist, I’ve learned more about our relationship and how it impacted me. Mum did the best she could with what she knew, and I did the best I could. I hope our children feel understood by me, as I feel we have amazing relationships.
I love our girls so much and hope I did a good job. Sometimes I look at them as mums themselves and wonder how they became so awesome.

The wrap

As a grief therapist, I know that Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for those who have lost their mothers or who are struggling with their relationship with their mothers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break from the holiday or to celebrate in a way that feels comfortable for you. Do Mother’s Day the way you want to, have new traditions or not, ask for what you need.

As a grief therapist, I’m here to support you through this difficult time. I’d love to know how you’ll spend Mother’s Day and if you’ve asked for anything special.

If you found this blog insightful and would like to read more of my blog posts on coping with grief and loss, simply click here.

And if you’re looking for more resources on grief and loss, I invite you to check out my free resources page. You can access it by clicking here.

Thank you for reading and I hope these resources can be of help to you.

 

two people standing in the sand on the beach (Mother and Daughter)

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