Sons and daughters– We may be sons and daughters whose mothers are no longer here. We remember and honor them and say thank you for their unending love and care. It can be hard to walk by the Hallmark aisle when it seems everyone is buying cards and flower baskets to honor their mothers. The loss of one’s mother is the end of new memories with her. She is irreplaceable, no matter if she was your mother by birth, by adoption, or by circumstances. Whether you were on the best of terms or if you were experiencing challenges, a mother’s death shakes up the family structure.  A friend once told me after the death of her mother that she felt like an orphan, and so she has sought out elderly women friends who need her love and companionship. It helps ground her when she misses her own mother.

Stepmothers- Often the mothers we honor today were not our mothers by birth but became mothers as they loved us and came alongside our fathers to face the challenge of parenting.  We will always remember their care and love.

 Mothers and Grandmothers– For one in four women, Mother’s Day cuts like a hot knife because a child they love is no longer with them. The loss of a child changes mothers and grandmothers in irrevocable ways. It doesn’t matter the age of the child or gestation. It doesn’t’ matter how long ago the death occurred, or the manner of death, emotional turmoil can result when this day rolls around. … especially in the first years after loss, but also for always. It can be almost unendurable. International Bereaved Mother’s Day is observed the first Sunday in May to honor mothers who have lost a child. You don’t know about such days until you need them. Mothers are in the tragic and awkward position of learning to live a different life and expression of motherhood.

Loss of Child Through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infancy loss- This day can bring the painful reality of loss to the forefront. The loss of a life before that babe had a chance to live must be grieved, but it is not always acknowledged in our world. One mother’s story from a book called Walking the Labyrinth of My Heart contains these words: “Instead of looking at my daughter as a tragedy, an unfortunate circumstance, an unlucky pregnancy, I want you to see my daughter as a person, one who fulfilled her own divine destiny.”  She tells us further, “Your baby will do what they have come here to do. For that hour my baby lived, she made a difference in the world, permanently changing the lives of the people around her.”

Women Who Desire to Conceive-  Infertility is a loss that causes much emotional pain. Many women are raiser with the assumption that they’ll become mothers someday.  From baby dolls to baby showers, girls and women are surrounded by images and expectations from parents, peers, religion, advertising, and the media. For some women, motherhood is an important part of their self-image.  Although there are no easy answers to offer, we acknowledge the grief of infertility. 

Single Mothers– Single parenthood carries s its own losses.  The loss of a partner, the added pressure and stress of raising children and bearing the weight of day-to-day responsibilities or decision-making. Single mothers must also provide emotional support for their children while they themselves may feel alone. Getting support from others and being honest about feelings can help relieve the stress.

 Mothers who are in declining years of life- Loss from diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias carries another kind of grief. It steals them away from us while they are still living.  Long term illnesses are also grieved by families.

 Grief-  The work of grief is the hardest work we do as human beings. All the emotions that accompany our own particular grief., whether loneliness, sadness, anger, guilt. All demand to be examined and reckoned with. A wise woman once said, Grief that is not transformed will be transferred.”  Our grief becomes part of the landscape of our lives.  Facing the hardest parts of grief is the only way through.  You may not believe it now, but you will find your own pathway to healing.