Lonely Mother’s Day, notes a mourning mother

Lynn Lewis | 5/9/2024, 6 p.m.
Mother’s Day 2020 marked a significant shift. It was the first time I faced the day knowing with absolute certainty …
Ms. Lewis

Mother’s Day 2020 marked a significant shift. It was the first time I faced the day knowing with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t receive a call, card, text or visit from my beloved son, my only child, whom I affectionately called my favorite man-child. Not that day or any other day for that matter.

My reality stemmed from the tragic loss of my son to suicide nine months prior, on Aug. 4, 2019. Seven months after my son’s death, I made a conscious decision that while it would forever be an indelible part of my life, it would not be my life.

I determined in my mind on the day before what would have been his 31st birthday that I would not be consumed by the aftermath of his death, but I would thrive in it and that I would move forward living a meaningful and impactful life.

A year later in 2020, the reality of it was still difficult to embrace. And the day served as a stark reminder that I would never again hear my son’s voice, his endearing “Hey Ma” or “Love you, Ma” go on adventures, or hug his slim body. At that time, the pandemic was still rampant around the world. For that reason, church service wasn’t held as usual, which limited my interaction with others. I found solace in the absence of our usual family gathering with my husband’s family.

In the days leading up to Mother’s Day, I wrestled with another daunting truth, one I discussed extensively with my therapist. We talked about how I could navigate the emotional turbulence that Mother’s Day threatened to bring, especially if what I was most concerned about became a reality.

The holiday has never been a big day of celebration for me.

My mother passed away when I was a teenager. After her death, I barely acknowledged anyone on Mother’s Day until after the birth of my son more than 10 years later. I’m not anti-Mother’s Day; it’s just challenging for me to embrace the enormity of it not just for myself, but for the many others whose Mother’s Day is not happy. That challenge became more prevalent after my son’s death.

Despite the rawness of my emotions, on Mother’s Day 2020 my heart was full of gratitude. I received acknowledgements from family, friends, church family, colleagues and others with calls, cards, visits, and gifts. At points during that day, I silenced my phone because the number of messages coming in was overwhelming. I remain grateful that I survived my first Mother’s Day as a childless mother!

As Mother’s Day rapidly approaches, it reminds me of the emotional stress and uncertainty I experienced four years ago.

When the sadness creeps in and I think about what I will never have again, I remind myself that I am and will forever be Daniel’s mother even in his absence.

Here are some things to help you navigate Mother’s Day.

•Exercise your rights as a childless mother.

•Start a tradition to honor the memory of your child.

•Spend time with someone who is open to listening to you talk or just being with you in silence.

•Practice self-love.

•Give yourself grace.

The writer is a certified grief coach at Destined to Thrive Grief Coaching. destinedtothrivegriefcoaching.com