Mother's Day: sending gratitude, and making room for grief.
Hey amazing Parent Connect Community, Mother's Day is coming up this weekend... 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, Stepmums, Foster Mums, Grandmothers, Aunties, Godmothers, Carers, Surrogate Mums, Mentors, and a whole range of amazing, unique, special supportive people. Perhaps this Sunday will be an opportunity to acknowledge these amazing people with love and gratitude – for those people who ‘make your soul blossom’ (in the words of Marcel Proust). We honour all the amazing mothers here on Connect – 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 a rough time; and that sometimes it can feel overwhelming (with media, expectations, conversations...) Perhaps Mother's Day is tough because... • Maybe you, your partner or child is in treatment, and things are really 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, even due to Covid. 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. • 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. • 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 Connect we hope you can go gently with your heart if this is a tricky time… reaching out to friends and family for a chat (or equally telling them if you need space); taking a ‘digital break’ from social media etc if that’s healthy for your headspace; doing something you enjoy (a walk, creating something, reading or watching something interesting or fun); and also knowing that you aren’t alone. Post here as a reply; click chat to a counsellor (11am-6pm AEST weekend hours); or chat with our amazing colleagues at Lifeline on 13 11 14, 24/7). …and lastly, if you know someone who might be having tricky weekend due to Mother’s Day for any of these reasons (or maybe others), it’s a great reason to reach out and help them feel less isolated. Let them know you’re there; you’re there to talk or just be there alongside them if they need; and that you appreciate their place in your life too :) -Cara (online counsellor)