When my mother died in Ireland in 1988 I did not know a single child (other than my older brother) whose mother had also died. I did not know of another child who didn’t have a mother in their life, day in and day out. For me that meant I was different to all the other children. I had nobody to talk to who understood what it felt like for a child, a little girl of eleven, to have lost her mother. As I’ve previously mentioned in my writing I had, and still have, a wonderful, supportive and loving father in my life who was happy to talk about my mother and keep her beautiful memory alive in our home. I am the capable, loving, independent person I am today because my father stayed by my side, guiding me and loving me through it all. I will always be grateful for him.
That said, it is refreshing to see an increase in the number of grief support groups online and an acceptance and appreciation of what these groups offer. Vulnerability is no longer seen as a weakness. People who wish to share their stories of heartbreak and loss now have several platforms from which to share. I receive messages of thanks regularly for sharing my story. As a result of messages sent from people I’ve never met I no longer feel alone in my own particular loss. I could never have imagined the amount of women out there who also lost their mothers when they were young children. I really had no idea! Now that the world has been made smaller through use of technology I know this to be the case. Our heart stories help others. Our experiences can guide and empower those who feel alone and afraid. Why should people feel alone in their grief when death and grieving is a natural part of the life cycle?
We shouldn’t feel alone. I know firsthand what it feels like to lose a mother as a young child. It is devastating, scary, anxiety-producing and lonely. The more we talk openly about death and loss the more support will be made available for grievers. I wrote A LOVELY WOMAN to show others what a child’s journey through anxiety, mother loss and grief might look like. I turned out okay. I got through school, and I earned two degrees. I taught young children in elementary and kindergarten for thirteen years and I loved the children in my care. I have a wonderful husband. I’m happy and grateful for the life I have. But there have been struggles over the years as a result of losing Mam. It’s helpful to find your tribe. So today when I see so many people sharing their stories of grief openly, as they become ready, I believe it to be a healthy thing.
If you haven’t yet found an online group to support you in your grief or your journey without a mother; if you haven’t found friends who understand or can relate to your feelings; or if you just want to work through this grief period alone for a while here are some suggestions for getting through Mother’s Day.
Online grief support groups and pages dedicated to grief and loss are popping up and thousands of people are joining them. More and more people are open to sharing their heart stories while offering support and comfort to fellow grievers. I know these communities to be welcoming and supportive. Here are a few of my favorites (I include both of my pages also):
- Without My Mum hosted by Leigh Van Der Horst, author of the book ‘Without My Mum.’
- Motherless Daughters is a page dedicated to mother loss with supportive posts and comments by a community of over 400,000 followers.
- Hope Edelman has a website dedicated to her work in the field of mother loss and grief. On her site she lists statewide support groups for those missing their mothers. She also has a public Facebook page where she shares a wealth of information and stories pertaining to grief and loss.
- Grief Rites Foundation is a Portland based community movement where people openly share their grief stories.
- Modern Loss offers candid content, community and resources on loss and grief. These ladies organize the ANNUAL MOTHER’S DAY SWAP. If you missed it this year keep an eye out for next year’s event.
- Modern Loss closed group for the Modern Loss community.
- OptionB.Org is dedicated to giving you the tools you need to build resilience after grief and trauma. Opportunities to join groups for solidarity and support, and find information from experts.
- Motherless Daughters Virtual Support Group is a global support network hosted by my friend Adrienne for women who have experienced mother loss.
- Project Brave Birds is a page run by my friend Cheryl where the journeys and achievements of inspirational motherless women are celebrated.
- A Lovely woman is where I blog regularly about mother loss, early childhood loss and grief.
- My Facebook author page offers support, inspiration and healing to women who have experienced mother loss & to all grievers worldwide.
- Meetup.com offers an opportunity to find or organize your own Motherless Daughter group. I found the Portland group through Meet Up many, many years ago.
Other suggestions for this Mother’s Day weekend include:
- Try writing a healing letter to your mother on Mother’s Day. It might allow you to feel closer to her, and less alone.
- See if any of these book suggestions might help. Getting lost in a book, especially one I can relate to, is always of comfort to me. Make yourself a warm cup of tea and find a cozy chair where you can put your feet up. Some of these books will make you cry, others will allow you to feel less alone. All of them helped me in one way or another.
- Hope and Claire are hosting a free 30-minute conference call for motherless daughters at 9 PST/12 EST Saturday morning (May 12), the day before Mother’s Day.
- Motherless Mother’s Day Ceremony to be held in Portland, Oregon on Saturday (May 12). Suggestions for participation are given on the page for those unable to attend in person.
- Give to a charity in honor of your mother or volunteer for an organization where your expertise is appreciated. Examples include EmpowerHer, Womenforwomen, Girl’s Inc., The Dougy Center and Camp Erin.
- If you’re in Australia check out this fabulous idea Trees For Mum.
- Take a look at my blog post and see if any of these twelve ideas help.
- Most of all be kind to yourself.
- Share my blog post What Not to Do When Someone You Know Has Lost Their Mother. It’s one of my most popular blogs but I’ve a feeling it’s mostly us motherless daughters who are reading and sharing it! 🙂
Sending big hugs and lots of love to you this weekend. Next week we’ll carry on feeling the soft breeze on our cheeks, listening to the bird song in the air, rushing about getting on with our day. Take time to breathe and give yourself some sweet care. Listen for the whisper of your mother’s voice. Her love is with you, today and always.
Like or follow my public Facebook page here where I frequently post articles, quotes & information about mother loss, grief and the writing process.