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Coping with Mothers' Day when she's dead

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
A friend of mine finds Mothers' Day very difficult to cope with since his mother died. It's bad enough to be bereaved of your mother at a young age, but hearing people gleefully boast about how great their mothers are rubs salt in his wounds. Every year, many people, who assume she's alive, ask him what he does for his mother on Mothers' Day. Even some of the people whom he knows forget that his mother is dead. Many people assume that if you're young, your mother is definitely alive.

He doesn't have anyone who has taken (or is willing to take) the place of his mother.

I have to agree with him that having a day for mothers (and fathers for that matter) is worse than useless (and it's biased that there's no Sons' Day or Daughters' Day). It's a horrible day for those people whose mother is dead, missing or horrible. Likewise for women who've long wanted to have a child but have been unable to, and for mothers whose only child is dead, missing or estranged from them. For anyone who has a living, good mother - surely they don't need one day a year to be reminded to see her. If someone doesn't bother with their mother for the other 364 days a year, then she's clearly not important to him/her. The only winners are florists, card shops etc.

Does anyone have any advice about how he can make it bearable? It's not just Mothers' Day itself, it's all the talk about it during the days before and after. On the first Mothers' Day after her death, some people told him that it won't be anywhere near as bad during future years. However, he's found it just as bad each year. Time has not been a healer for him at all.


  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 Literally just got here
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  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 357 Moderator
    I'm sorry to hear about your friend's loss. Understandably, it can be difficult for those that have lost their mothers to appreciate mothers day, when it may just seem like a reminder that their mother isn't around (whether through death or other unfortunate circumstances).

    ​I think it can be good to disconnect from social media or other things that may remind your friend. It can be hard seeing others boast about mother's day, when your friend has lost his mother. Does your friend have any siblings or relatives that he could talk to on mothers day? Even though it can be helpful to avoid reminders, it may also be helpful to talk with those that he or his mother was close to and remember all the good memories they had together. Even though your friend's mother passed away, it doesn't mean he can't celebrate the day. Perhaps he can visit her grave and lay some flowers? Or write a letter to her in remembrance?

    ​I think of grief as something that comes and goes. Naturally, soon after you lose someone it is very difficult to deal with, but time can help a little. At the same time, grief can worsen around reminders and anniversaries, It can be like a double edged sword at times- you remember all the good times you spent together, and yet wish they were still around. If your friend is finding it difficult to cope, perhaps he could look into grief counselling?

    ​Lastly, no-one can take the place of his mother. It's okay to have 'mother figures' in his life, if that's possible, but no-one should or could be expected to take on the role of his mother.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    evie_rose wrote: »
    11th of august is son and daughter day. Just saying

    Only in the US.
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 Literally just got here
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    None of his living family care about him.

    How can he celebrate Mothers' Day when he doesn't have a mother, but the vast majority of people of his age do? It just rubs salt into the wound. Going to a grave or writing a letter to her is no use to him. He doesn't even have any good memories of her - all he can remember is her being poor, miserable, ill and in pain. He can't celebrate her awful life.

    His grief hasn't lessened with time. He said that he feels the loss every day - and days such as Mothers' Day, Christmas, her birthday and his birthday are especially bad.

    Some people claim that they know how he feels because their octogenarian / nonagenarian grandparents, whom they only saw occasionally, have died - as though that's the same thing.

    He doesn't have any possibility of having a mother figure in his life. None of his mother's friends kept in contact with her after her funeral. His sister stayed around for a couple of years - but then she moved away with her partner and forgot about her only sibling.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    evie_rose wrote: »

    So? I known loads of people in the uk who do it. They spoil their kids majorly for a day

    I'd never heard of it before today. In any case, it's no use to my friend - whose mother is dead and whose father doesn't care about him.
  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 357 Moderator
    I'm sorry to hear that he doesn't have any good memories and that his mother was ill and in pain. Perhaps then he can take comfort that at the very least she isn't suffering anymore? That's what I think sometimes when I get upset when my dad passed away.

    ​If he is struggling with the grief, it's best that he talks to a counsellor, especially if the grief is getting in the way of his daily life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It doesn't bring him comfort, because he wanted her suffering to end by her recovering, not dying - and he doesn't believe in life after death. She was seriously ill for most of his life. He always felt cheated that she wasn't able to do the usual things for him that the large majority of mothers, including the mothers of his friends, classmates etc. did for their children. Every time someone boasts about their mother, or asks him about his (assuming she's alive), it's another painful reminder that he doesn't have what most people take for granted.

    He tried counselling, but it didn't help. His counsellor told him that he's been grieving for too long and that he should be over it by now. The counsellor said that when she was in her fifties, her nonagenarian aunt died and that she got over it within a couple of weeks - as though that's the same thing as a teen suffering the death of his mother.
  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 357 Moderator
    Unfortunately, not everyone can recover from things. My dad was terminally ill for many years and I too wanted him to recover even though it was impossible. Even if your friend doesn't believe in life after death, at least his mother is no longer suffering. Perhaps your friend can ask the people who boast to not talk about their mothers and such in front of him, if it's too difficult for him to handle?

    ​A counsellor would never say that. And if that's true, then he came across a very unprofessional one since there is no time limit for grief. Perhaps he would like to try again with a different counsellor?
  • AifeAife LondonPosts: 2,331 Community Manager
    Hey guys, I noticed things were getting a little bit off topic so I've edited and deleted a few posts. Let's get things back on topic and focuses on giving Robert some advice on how his friend can make Mother's Day more bearable when they've lost their mother.

    Robert - Maisy have given some great advice, there's also some great advice on the Childline website here that talks about how to make Mother's Day more bearable. I've included a bit of the article below:
    You could use Mother’s Day as a way of remembering your mum and doing something special for her. Perhaps you could visit her grave to leave some flowers or a photograph, write a letter to her and show it to someone you trust, or go somewhere or do something you enjoyed doing together.

    Do you think your friend would find any of these things helpful to do on Mother's Day?
    Maybe somethings don't get better, but we do. We get stronger. We learn to live with our situations as messy and ugly as they are. We fix what we can and we adapt to what we can't. Maybe some of us will never fully be okay, but at least we're here. We're still trying. We're doing the best we can. That's worth celebrating too ❤
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My friend's mother died of breast cancer - the large majority of people who get that don't die of it. There are about 48,000 diagnoses per year in the UK, but less than 12,000 deaths per year from it. He's aggrieved that she died of it when most sufferers don't. She promised him that she'd beat cancer and live a very long life - and he believed her.

    He has politely asked people not to boast about their mothers around him. That's made him unpopular and they've called him a wet blanket, a killjoy and have told him that he can't police what they say. It's not just what people say to him and around him. It's all the advertising, boasting and celebrating by the media, shops and even by email for several days beforehand.

    He found that visiting her grave was worse than useless - it just made him more upset (likewise with writing a letter to someone who can't ever read it). Grass, soil, worms and a concrete slab above a skeleton are no substitute for a living mother.

    He's a very honest person and I believe him when he said that his counsellor at the time expressed her fake empathy in regard to her nonagenarian aunt.

    He once went to a support group for bereaved people - but it just made him feel worse. Everyone else there was a lot older than him and they were all talking about people who'd lived long successful lives. They talked about the many good years they'd had with their parents, partners etc., and all the good things they'd done together - which just served to point out that he hadn't had what they'd had.

    She was chronically ill from his early childhood until her death - she wasn't able to take him places or do things for him. He doesn't have any good memories of good times together - just a load of bad memories.

    Everyone else who knew her has forgotten about her and moved on - including his own sister who now no longer wants him in her life. She thinks of herself as now being part of her partner's family and calls his parents Mum and Dad. She just sees her brother as a needy and bad reminder of her unhappy past, which she has moved on from.

    I never met her, as I didn't meet him until after she died - so I can't say much about her. I haven't suffered the death of someone that close to me, so I can't be an example for him to follow.
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