1. Create an Online Memorial
Jane Cassidy, Cerrillos, N.M.: "Grief seems to have a life of its own."
Renee, my daughter (at left), died August 13, 2005, of an accidental drug overdose. Grief seems to have a life of its own, and I know it will always, forever, be with me. I miss my daughter, but with the support of friends and family, I carry on.
Not long after Renee died, I created a website in her honor: www.happybirthdayrenee.com. I felt so compelled to do it, and at the time I didn't realize how many people would eventually read the site: her family, her friends, and people I haven't met. Not only was it a healing process for me, it has helped many others. Her friends have e-mailed with thanks for creating the site, so that they, too, can share in the journal about Renee.
To create a memorial on Beliefnet, click here.
2. Buy Yourself a Special Gift
Anonymous: "Birth mothers are mothers too."
I am a birth mother. Needless to day, Mother's Day is always a confusing and isolated time for me. Being a birth mother means I am not recognized by Hallmark--there aren't any cards anyone could send me to help me get through the dreaded annual day of pain and heartbreak. To cope, I buy myself a Mother's Day gift, make my own special and wonderful breakfast in bed with flowers. I'll spend the day as I choose. Every year, it is different, as I feel differently toward the subject. Do what feels right for YOU. Buy yourself a special gift, whether it is an outfit, a manicure/pedicure or a slew of scented candles and bath salts/oils. Remember to listen to YOUR inner self and don't let anyone crowd you emotionally. Remember to remember yourself because birth mothers ARE mothers, too.
3. Join a Support Group
Emily Afuola, Newark, N.J.: "I have a son in Afghanistan and a nephew in Iraq."
I have a son in Afghanistan (with me, at left) and a nephew in Iraq. I am also a Blue Star Mother for the State of New Jersey, and the Blue to Gold Liaison for the State of New Jersey, which means that when anyone from the State of NJ dies in the war, I go to the funeral to represent our group. I order the Gold Star Flag, pins and present them to the family at the funeral parlor. I also make condolence books for the families of the fallen heroes.
As of now, I have not heard from my son in 32 days. This is the worst thing that I have ever gone through in my entire life. I pray every day for my son, nephew, and all of our beloved military. I also belong to other military support groups where there are families going through the same thing. We are scared out of our wits, stressed to the max, afraid to answer the doorbell or the phone because you [think] it just might be your [child] this time. We pick each other up when we feel like it is too much, we laugh, cry, and always pray.
To find a support group on Beliefnet, click here.
4. Participate in Motherless Daughters Day
Kristie Chapman Fisher, Sherman Oaks, Calif.: "It's the day before Mother's Day"
I’ve been a Motherless Daughter (MD) since the sudden death of my mother (holding me as a baby, at left) the day before high school graduation. Motherless Daughter’s Day (MDD) is the best way to make it through Mother’s Day; it’s the day before Mother’s Day, and allows us to honor our mothers and grieve so that on Mother’s Day we can be available for our children, in-laws, step-parents, etc.
MDD is held in most cities (or create your own) outside in nature. Activities may include speakers on grief, speaking our mother’s name, looking at pictures, writing your mom a letter, lighting a candle, listening to music, and other activities that bring healing.
5. Keep Mom's Memory Alive
Joanne Anello, Stroudsburg, Pa.: "We always talk about the things she's done."
I lost my mother, Helen (at left), three months ago after a short battle with stage-IV cancer. She was 56 years old. My mother and I were very close. To make it easier for my family and me to cope with her passing, we always talk about the things she's done. We look at her pictures all the time and speak of her with high dignity. I am currently planning a memorial dedicated to her with proceeds going to cancer foundations.
The best advice I can give to others who have lost someone is to keep their loved ones' memories alive for as long as they can. They may be gone but never forgotten.