She may not be with you physically, but you can still celebrate her.
As Mother’s Day approaches, the commercial ads are not going to let us forget this monumental holiday. From the best gift to give mom or the number one place to take her, there’s no shortage of ideas to glorify the number one woman in our lives. A year ago, I would have been planning with my sister where we were taking mom and what gifts we were buying her, but this year, I’m celebrating mom in a different way.
On Sunday, April 9, my mom gained her heavenly wings and although four weeks have passed, the shock of her death feels like yesterday. Losing my mom is the most painful experience of my young life. Every day is a reminder that she is no longer here on Earth, but looking down from heaven. So anticipating the emotions I know will pummel me this Mother’s Day, I’m meditating on ways I can honor Mom without her being here.
Here are four ways all of us can honor our mothers who are no longer with us on Mother’s Day:
1. Write her a letter
My mother and I spoke every day. It’s hard for me to lose those conversations, so instead of mourning over how I can no longer communicate with her, I have substituted writing her letters. In these letters, I share the events of my day with her. I ask her how she’s doing and ask questions about heaven. I share with her the very things I would have if I were talking to her on the phone.
My mom isn’t physically present with me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tell her all the things I want her to know. For me, her life didn’t end at the grave, her real life began there. She is the presence of the Savior of the world, and even in my pain at the loss of her presence here, I can’t imagine a better place for her to be.
2. Be with people who remind you of your mom
Mother’s Day is a day to honor all mothers. Whether they are present in body or spirit, being a mother is definitely a high honor deserving of praise. Because this will be my first Mother’s Day without Mom I anticipate being besieged by strong emotions and I feel drawn to the people in my life who remind me of her.
On Mother’s Day, there were always three people my mom and I would visit: my grandmother, my cousin Whitley, and my sister. In honor of this tradition, I’m taking them all to lunch. We all have two things in common: we no longer have our mothers, and my mother had a tremendous impact on our lives. Spending time with my relatives will give us all an opportunity to remember my mother, and laugh and cry over the memories we share. In addition, I’ll have a chance to see my mom’s life through the eyes of those whom she loved dearly. Sharing stories can be the best and closest reminder we get of those we have loved and lost.
3. Spend time with other women who’ve also lost their mothers
No one can tell you what it is like to lose a mother until they’ve been through it. The feelings you feel, the thoughts that run through your mind, and the tears you cry can only be understood by someone who’s stood in the same shoes. There’s something special about being able to connect with others based on a common hardship. As unfortunate as losing a mother is, having other women around who’ve experienced the same type of life-altering loss brings comfort.
The week I lost my mom, Ms. Carol, the mother of my church, drove me 600 miles to my hometown. She helped me coordinate the funeral, held me when I cried, and listened to my emotional ramblings. Ms. Carol knew what I was thinking and feeling because she too lost her mother unexpectedly at a young age.
4. Watch mom’s favorite movies and shows
Walker Texas Ranger, Gunsmoke, A Rage in Harlem, and What’s Love Got to Do with It are a few of the shows and movies that my mom loved to watch. In honor of the many times that my mom and I have watched those movies together, this Mother’s Day I plan to snuggle up on her couch and indulge in the movies that we enjoyed together. Mom and I bonded over the movies she watched. Sometimes when I called her, instead of saying hello, I would start the conversation off with a line from one of her movies and she would automatically know she was talking to me. I made it a habit to remember the things that would make her smile or laugh even if I were calling to give her not-so-good news. This would always make the news easier for her to receive.
Whether it’s reading a good book, taking a trip to her favorite spot, or having a picnic, I can remember mom by doing what she would have liked to do on Mother’s Day. We all have various ways that we can remember our mothers and still make it fun and memorable through the tears.