Mother’s Day — Can Joy and Grief Live Together?

Mother's Day_Bright Orange and Coral Flowers_Joy and GriefMother’s Day is here—and while it will be a time of laughter and celebration for some, others will struggle just to get through the day. Can joy and grief live together?

If you’re mourning the loss of your mom, or if your mom is fighting a devastating illness, or if personal heartbreak clouds your celebration of this special day, can you still experience joy wherever you are? I have a few suggestions for you to consider. I know this subject can be very difficult, and my intention is to open your mind to a few things you may not have considered. I’m also going to share a personal confession with you, so please keep reading.

Experiencing joy in the face of your circumstance may require special effort on your part, but I think a positive outcome is often possible. You begin with your thoughts.

No matter where you are or what you’ve been through, you always have reasons to be thankful. Start here. When you’re able to open your heart to gratitude, everything around you (and often within you) takes on a different attitude.

Regardless of your situation or reason, if you’re not able to honor your mom on Mother’s Day, think about another person (or people) you can celebrate. Maybe this person is your daughter, an aunt, a good friend, a grandchild. Perhaps you’ll just spend some time on Mother’s Day with someone you love, regardless of whether you’re actually celebrating their special day. The day itself is an opportunity to be with someone you care about and do something you enjoy. What you do can be low key—it doesn’t have to be a big ‘to do.’

If you happen to be in the midst of a personal circumstance where you simply cannot muster the energy or mindset to celebrate the day, give yourself some grace! Here’s my confession. Mother’s Day falls about two weeks after my husband died—and the year that he died, a good friend invited me to go with her family, including her in-laws whom I liked very much, for a Mother’s Day brunch. Normally, I would have accepted immediately. I was very grateful for her thoughtful invitation, but that year, being with other people so soon (even for a wonderful occasion) was more than I could handle. I just couldn’t! So if this is where you are this year—gracefully decline, do something more quiet, be kind to yourself, and don’t feel guilty about it!

I do urge you to avoid isolation, even though being alone may seem easier. Just be selective about your companion(s) and choose someone you genuinely enjoy being around. Don’t forget about gratitude. And be sure to do something that nurtures your soul.

I hope you’ll find at least one reason to be joyful, regardless of where you are or what you’re going through. Prove to yourself that joy and grief can live together …

© 2013 Judy Brizendine
Photo © fotofrenze

Related reading:
• 
We Can Carry Grief and Joy Together
• 
The Space Between Joy and Grief
•  Grief / Joy
•  Memories Are Our Joy in Grief

 

 

About Judy

“Out of your deepest pain comes your greatest gift.” Judy writes about grief and loss in a realistic, practical way – to help, inspire, encourage, and educate any who face loss in their lives. A fellow-traveler’s approach to grief …

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2 Responses to “Mother’s Day — Can Joy and Grief Live Together?”

  1. Anna says:

    Dear Judy,
    Thank you for all that you do to educate and support people who are grieving. I recently ran across your book at the library and plan to purchase my own copy. It has been a tremendous comfort to me. This was my first Mother’s Day without my Mom since she passed last May 26. I spent it by going to a church that she loved and joined their choir as I am a singer.

    My father and brother also passed away 2 years apart on the same day, within the last several years. It truly has been a challenge to carry on. I’m still in the process of “remapping” my life and will be for some time. I just wanted to say a heart felt THANK YOU!! The hope in your book is just one of the many things that I love about it.

    Best to you and yours,
    Anna M.

    • admin says:

      Dear Anna,
      Thank you so much for your kind message! I’m very grateful that my book has helped you, and I appreciate your letting me know. You words mean a great deal to me.

      I’m sorry for all of the deep losses you’ve experienced, especially in such a short period of time. So many painful losses are even more difficult and challenging to cope with–yet you sound as though you’re taking some very positive actions. I know the journey is not easy, but God is faithful, and He will see you through. God bless you and keep you especially close.

      Hugs,
      Judy