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Honoring Mothers in Grief on Mother's Day
Written by Clara Hinton   |  May 04, 2003
Mother’s Day originated as a way of bringing honor and recognition to all mothers. Over the years, Mother’s Day has evolved into one of the most cherished and most celebrated days of the year. For the mother who has experienced the loss of a child, though, Mother’s Day is often a day of many tears and feelings of deep heartache. Friends and family members are left wondering how to help a grieving mother face Mother’s Day without her child.

Because Mother’s Day has turned into a time of traditions such as mother/daughter banquets, the wearing of flower corsages, and eating a special meal out following a special Mother’s Day church service, it is difficult for family members and friends to know how to include a grieving mother in the special traditions of the day. Sadly, because people don’t know what to do or say to a mother whose child has died, they often do what is easiest—they say and do nothing.

There is no greater heartbreak known to a mother than for Mother’s Day to arrive without recognition and validation of being a mother to the deceased child. To be overlooked on Mother’s Day is to add a burden of extra grief to an already broken heart.

Every mother longs to have her child validated. Every mother longs to hear the sweetest name on this earth—the name of her child who has died. Every mother has the need to feel that she is included among those who are honored by wearing the most coveted name among women—“mother.”

Recognition does not need to be elaborate or expensive. Often, just a card with the sincere words, “I’m thinking of you on this Mother’s Day” can help lift a mother’s broken heart and dry some of her tears of grief and sorrow.

What can you do to help? Deliver a flower in memory of the deceased child. Prepare a small gift basket and fill it with a writing journal, a book of hopeful thoughts, some special perfume, and a candle to be used for burning in memory of the child. Insert a card that says, “To a Heavenly Mother,” or use words from your heart that express special meaning. This is a warm, sincere way of saying, “You are a very special mother, and I want to honor you as such.”

Send a floral arrangement with a helium balloon. The balloon can be used on Mother’s Day as a “letting go” of some of the grief. Often, something as simplistic as a small angel pin placed inside a card that says, “I’m thinking of you today” is enough to give a grieving mother the strength to get through this most difficult day.

Mother’s Day is a most difficult day for any mother to face without her child. More than anything she needs listening ears. Allow the grieving mother to talk as much as she wants about her child. Ask her if she wants to talk. Spend some time with her and lend her your listening ears. Mothers love to share experiences and feelings about their children, even when a child is no longer alive. A friend or family member who listens is truly a treasure.

Help lighten the load of grief by helping a mother who has lost a child feel special on Mother’s Day. Find your unique way of communicating to a mother in grief that she still deserves honor and special recognition on Mother’s Day. She is, after all, a mother to be honored.
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