Mother’s Day is coming… it can mean so many things. We’re here for you.

CounsellingTeam-CanTeen

Hi Parenting Through Cancer Community,

Mother's Day is coming up... and for many people it's a great time to celebrate how mothers, and important maternal and parental figures, have impacted our lives. Including (but not limited to!)... Mums, Step-mums, Foster Mums, Grandmothers, Aunties, Godmothers, Carers, Surrogate Mums, Mentors, and Chosen Family.

We honour all the amazing mothers here on Parenting Through Cancer – who have parented though their own cancer, through that of a partner or family member, who have parented through their child’s cancer. You are wonderful. We also know here at Canteen that Mother's Day can be painful, bittersweet, hard to navigate. While Mother’s Day can be a time of celebration, it can also be a time of grief.

 

Perhaps Mother's Day is tough because...

• Maybe you, your partner, or child is in treatment, and things are different this year… we’re thinking of you. Perhaps there are creative ways of coming together, of bringing that gratitude and togetherness to the hospital, or bedside (or via facetime/zoom/message threads, etc.) and finding tiny moments to celebrate the important connections you have.

• Perhaps your family can't be geographically together for many reasons. We’re thinking of you. It may be hard amongst the ‘noise’ of Mother’s Day to know how to feel, when you can’t control being far-apart.

• Maybe your partner, who was a Mum, died from cancer. We're thinking of you. If it feels right, you and your children might like to connect to, and remember, that special person by cooking their favourite meal, going to a place they loved, playing their music, sharing memories with family and friends, maybe even visiting their grave or memorial place. Knowing, as always, that everyone in the family will grieve in their own way – especially on a day like today.

• Perhaps you are a mother, and your child died from cancer. We’re thinking of you. The website What’s Your Grief has an open letter from Bereaved Mothers here (http://whatsyourgrief.com/grieving-a-child/), including this paragraph: “Like many things in a grieving mother’s life, Mother’s Day is bittersweet to the nth degree. On the one hand, I feel immense joy because I was blessed with my child and I feel gratitude for every moment I was given with them. On the other hand, the pain of missing my child – my greatest happiness, my life’s purpose, and my best friend – is intense.” Leaning into those around you in this grief, on this difficult day, and remembering that connection between you and your child continues, today, now. Here at Canteen we hope you can go gently with your heart if this is a tricky time. You might reach out to friends and family for a chat (or equally tell them if you need space); take a ‘digital break’ from social media if that’s healthy for your headspace; do something you enjoy (a walk, create something, read or watch something interesting or fun); and also know that you aren’t alone.

Know that however you are feeling, you are welcome here. Whether you need space (opting out of those emails, social events, going for a run or hike); togetherness (planning to be with those you care about); or a way to express how you feel (letters, photos, art, a playlist, counselling, doing something that’s meaningful to you and your relationships) you can find your own way through.

Go gently – let us know how you’re getting through in the replies below.