9 PEOPLE WHO NEED EXTRA CARE ON MOTHER’S DAY
Ideally Mother’s Day is a beautiful day of breakfast in bed, bouquets of flowers, and beautiful cards letting Mom know how special she is. For some people, though, Mother’s Day is full of pain, disappointment, and heart ache.
Here are 9 groups of people who need extra love, care, and grace as Mother’s Day approaches. Recognizing these folks are struggling is the first step to supporting them.
THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR MOM
It doesn’t matter whether it was 20 minutes or 20 years, Mother’s Day without your mom hurts. It is a day full of memories, but also a longing to hug her, see her, and hear her voice.
Some use the opportunity to honor her memory and celebrate the time they had together. Others may wrestle with regrets of the past or be depressed not knowing how to embrace life without her.
THOSE WHO HAVE LOST CHILDREN
There are terms for children who have lost parents, and people who have lost spouses, but there is no term for those who have lost a child. Once a parent, always a parent–even if the child is no longer here.
A childless mother struggles daily, but on Mother’s Day that the struggle is intensified. They are blessed by memories of the times they shared with their child, yet haunted by the screaming void created by their child’s absence.
Some use the opportunity to talk about their child, while others grieve in silence because their sorrow makes others uncomfortable.
Supporting these two people, those who have lost their mother and the mother who has lost a child, look very similar. Allowing them permission to feel what they need to feel is very important. Grief and sorrow will most likely be a part of their day—but it doesn’t have to be their whole day. Encourage them to honor the person they have lost. Give them space to talk about them as well as laugh and cry. Participate in the conversation and share memories of the person as well. Be honest about your own sorrow at their death. Knowing someone else misses the person they love and lost helps them know they are not alone.
ELDERLY MOTHERS FORGOTTEN IN FACILITIES
Once a mom always a mom, but there are many forgotten or abandoned elderly mothers in care facilities. While some may have dementia or confusion, others are all too aware that they have children who don’t show up. Hopefully their facility will do something for them, but if not, there are things you can do to love them.
Contact a facility near you to see if they do anything for the moms on Mother’s Day. If they do, ask how you can partner with their efforts. Gather a group together (children, Sunday School Class, friends) and have a craft day. Create beautiful Mother’s Day cards and paper flowers to be given to these moms to make sure they are not forgotten.
MOTHERS OF PRODIGALS
A prodigal may be distanced from the mom for many reasons. There may be minimal contact or long periods of time (even years) where the mom has no idea where her child is, if they are okay, or even if they are alive.
This day intensifies her awareness of the distance between her and her child.
CHILDREN OF ABSENT, UNCARING, or ABUSIVE MOTHERS
They want to honor their mom but it can be difficult. They stand in the card isle reading flowery sentiments and praises of a mom who had earned the title of “World’s best mom” or shown up in ways that their child wants to thank them “for always being there” and it doesn’t fit their experience. Each one they read can be a painful reminder of what their mother isn’t. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their mom, or that their mom doesn’t love them, but it confirms that the relationship is “complicated”.
Both of these scenarios are painful and have many facets. Recognizing that you can’t fix the circumstance for either of these people, but you can love them and be present with a compassionate and non-judgmental listening heart and ear is the best support you can give. Encourage forgiveness on all sides, while not compromising safe boundaries. Pray with them to develop healthy parent/child relationships.
Let them know how courageous you think they are.
THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED MISCARRIAGE OR STILL BIRTH
This day can be a painful reminder of the child they were supposed to have. This child was real and tangible and the world never got to meet it.
They have learned to grieve in silence and isolation because people don’t consider it a loss if the baby died before delivery. She may carry secret questions or guilt wondering if there was something wrong with her body or if she inadvertently did something that caused the baby to not make it.
Validate their loss. This child is real. They are a mom. They lost a baby. Allow them to grieve and celebrate their mom-hood. Give them a safe place to be a mom who lost a baby. Honor her! Honor the baby she didn’t get to hold, take care of, or watch grow up. Confirm to her that she IS a mom!
THOSE WHO CHOSE ABORTION
While some women who have had abortions aren’t phased by Mother’s Day, others experience great pain that can be combined with shame or guilt. This is a day that will remind them of their choice that ended the life of their child. They suffer in silence, though, because they consider their grief on this day is self-imposed. They may have never shared their abortion story with anyone so the isolation may be very great. These women need love and support too!
If you are in a position to encourage this woman, let her know there is forgiveness from God for ALL sins–including abortion. Let her know she can ask His forgiveness and then also forgive herself. She may even want to ask her baby to forgive her. Great healing can come when forgiveness is present. Then allow her to be a mom who has a child in heaven. Honor the child as well as her as a mother. She will get to see the baby in Heaven one day. She can experience freedom and forgiveness from the past and have hope for the future.
THOSE WHO CANT HAVE CHILDREN
Mother’s Day is a bitter pill to swallow for the women who desperately want to have children but can’t. They may get angry, depressed, or isolate themselves and it is okay for them to do so.
Listen, be available if she wants you to. Allow her to vent or check out. No matter what, until God heals that part of her heart and gives her His peace, this day will always be raw. Love her, support her, encourage her–but do NOT give advice, attempt to fix, or offer a cure! This will make you not safe. Listen and be quiet. Pray. If you have a friend who experiences this, possibly bring them a bottle of wine with a note acknowledging you know that its a tough day for them and reminding them that you love them.
MAIN THINGS FOR YOU TO KEEP IN MIND
- Unless you have experienced the same exact loss, there is no way for you to fully grasp and understand what they are going through–so don’t assume you do.
- YOU do not have the ability to heal their broken heart, but you can INTRODUCE them to the God who can!
- Being a safe person and allowing them to freely share their story, their disappointments, and their pain is incredibly valuable.
- Even if you aren’t in a position to directly support these people, you can pray for them.
- You can’t fix anything… but you can love!
- It is up to us to make sure these hurting folks are not abandoned or forgotten this Mother’s Day!
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
I’d love to know what you think about this post or if it has inspired, affected or challenged you in any way! Please feel free to comment and share so others can be aware of how they can support those who are hurting this Mother’s Day.
Excellent reminder here. There are so many grieving for so many reasons.
Dianne Thornton says
I read this earlier, but neglected t comment. This is a great list of friends and family who need our extra tender attention on Mother’s Day weekend. Thanks for showing us how to encourage them.