When you have lost your mother, Mother’s Day looms large, especially the first time this holiday dawns after her death. If you are in recovery from drugs or alcohol, or you are learning how to live with mental health challenges like depression or anxiety, grief can be even more difficult to manage. Here are tips to cope with her absence on this significant day and keep your sobriety and mental health in check.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Grief often comes in waves. You’re fine until, well, you aren’t. If you have recently lost your mother, this ebb and flow is especially fresh and you’re still learning how to wrap your brain around it. Acknowledging that you have no control over your feelings and changing emotions is half the battle.
Allow yourself to be sad, angry, and jealous. If you try to stop the feelings from coming, you will suffer more than if you had embraced them. There is no predicting what emotions will appear. Everyone has a unique relationship with their mother – whether yours was loving, difficult, chaotic, superficial, or intense, honor what was and give yourself room to grieve your way on this significant day.
Don’t Be Afraid to Celebrate Her
Your mother will always be your mother, and even though there is no one to send a card or flowers to this year, you can still celebrate her contributions to this earth and your beautiful life. It will be difficult to honor her exactly as you would have when she was alive, but you can certainly do something to mark the day.
Whether you place flowers at her grave, visit a special spot and leave flowers there, plant a tree, or buy her favorite cake and share it with family, there are many ways to honor your mother. The celebration doesn’t have to be big to be meaningful. It doesn’t have to be big to be enough for your heart and soul.
Be Prepared to Be Blindsided…
There is a good chance something will happen on or around Mother’s Day to put you into a bit of a tailspin. You’ll see a television commercial or ad online that strikes you right in the gut and reminds you of the one you loved and have lost. It could be a small remembrance or a large piece of nostalgia.
Either way, if you keep the thought of certain triggers in the back of your mind, Mother’s Day will be less likely to hurt you. It can be slightly easier to manage a notable occurrence if it does happen. You won’t be able to predict everything, but you may be able to absorb overwhelming emotions with some forethought.
…But Look for Signs of Her Too
If you find yourself unable to plan anything on Mother’s Day, know that you’re not alone. The only thing that matters is finding a way to recognize that your mother is still with you even though she’s physically gone. You don’t have to believe in signs to find reminders of your mother during Mother’s Day, from her signature scent to her favorite food, a brilliant sunrise to a shooting star, her favorite song on the radio to a falling leaf in front of you. All you need to do is pay attention to your surroundings and you will realize that she is still with you.
Carry On Traditions
Did you always make banana chocolate chip bread for your mom? Was a local coffee shop your place to go together? Were Mother’s Day celebrations simply a celebration of your relationship with each other? Consider doing all the things you’ve always done.
Give yourself permission to live the day as though your mother were right by your side. Have a loved one or friend come along in her place, or if you feel the need to be alone, take the meaningful steps yourself. Bake that sweet, get that cup of coffee, even write out a card to your mother. You have permission to live out the day in the best way you know how, and in a way that authentically honors your mother.
If you are experiencing severe grief, depression, or anxiety after the loss of your mother, or if your sobriety has been tested by her death, there is always support for your health and wellness from Beachside Rehab, a holistic rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our facility offers inpatient and outpatient detox, rehab, and holistic recovery. Call today at 866-349-1770 to speak with a trained admissions counselor.
Photo by Ijaz Rafi on Unsplash