Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 7:40 am | A Few Clouds 56º


Steve Jacobsen: Celebrating Mother’s Day Can Be a Special Day of Remembrance

Mother’s Day is a day of celebrating and remembrance, a day to give thanks for the significant woman in our lives who brought us into this world, raised us and held us, literally and figuratively, throughout the years. It is also a day of remembrance for those of us who are celebrating the memory of our mothers who have died.

A mother-child relationship is sometimes complicated, and this can add to the grief we may experience. As Mother’s Day approaches, many of us whose mothers are no longer with us can begin to feel the void of the loss. Feelings of loneliness and longing and even feelings of regret, guilt, missed opportunities and forgiveness are natural.

It’s important to recognize the emotions we are experiencing. It is also healing to recall our mother’s passing by finding ways to celebrating her life and come to terms with any unresolved feelings.

Every year we can try to find new and innovative ways to remember our mother and cope with the grief and loss we may feel by her absence. Here are a few I would like to share:

» Celebrate the life of your mother by continuing favorite traditions, such as decorating the house or baking goodies. Plan a dinner at your loved one’s favorite restaurant with siblings, relatives and friends who are also remembering her life.

» Buy your mother flowers. Go out and purchase your mother’s favorite flowers. Place them on your table, bring them to honor your mother’s grave, or plant them in the front yard to grow back every year stronger and more beautiful.

» Write a letter or card for your mother. Tell her how much you love her and care. Tell her how you are remembering and celebrating her life. Tell her how you feel. Place it on your dining room table on Mother’s Day and keep to read in future years.

» Share stories of your mother with your friends and family. Let her live through your memories.

» Set a place at the table. Leave a place setting for you mother at brunch or dinner. During the meal, talk about what she would be saying and feeling if she were present.

» Make a memory box. Have every family member bring a trinket, write some words, or make something creative that reminds them of your lost loved one. Decorate a box with photographs and memories, and encourage family members to add something new every year. Even add her favorite perfume to the box and spray it when you are missing her most.

» Make an online memorial. Creating an online memorial allows friends and family the opportunity to post, share feelings about the day and ones experiences, and feel connected.

» Join an online support group. Facebook has many open groups for support, such as Daughters Grieving Loss of Mother that are open for anyone to join and share their experience.

» Let the tears flow. It’s only natural to feel sorrow and loss on Mother’s Day when remembering one’s mother. Tears are good and shouldn’t be held back. They help with the grieving process.

» Seek local support. Hospice of Santa Barbara offers many different support groups, year round, free of charge. Find the one that’s right for you by clicking here.

And to all the moms out there, “a very happy Mother’s Day to you.”

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 children and adults every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. It is also present on seven local middle and high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, click here or call 805.563.8820.

— Steve Jacobsen is executive director of Hospice of Santa Barbara. Call Hospice of Santa Barbara at 805.563.8820 for a schedule of adult and children’s groups, or to make a donation. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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