When You Have No Mother on Mother’s Day

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

As Mother’s Day approaches this year, I am finding I’m not ready to celebrate.

As we approach the six month mark of my mom’s passing, I find myself feeling a plethora of unanticipated emotions. The fact is I am just not ready to have a Happy Mother’s Day.

It’s not that I am not grateful for being a mother, nor is it that I am out of touch with myself. Actually, it’s that I am exactly in tune with myself that I am able to give myself grace, and permission to access and express these feelings the best way I know how.

When emotions run high, scribbling poetic lines, helps bring clarity, focus, release and, in a word, perspective. It’s as if once the words hit the paper, one is freed from the emotional weight of keeping them inside. Writing poetry has literally saved me from going right over the deep end, many times. This is why I believe writing is a gift, and why I work hard to encourage reflective writing and why I so often share my own journey and process.

May these words be grace and freedom to the one who needs to read them, as they have been to the one who penned them this day. May they bring transparency and opportunity for more of your grace, as you will, Lord. Amen.

When You Have No Mother on Mother’s Day

On the day May 1st arrived

this stark new reality hadn’t yet hit me

like a slap across the face that stings

burns red hot in the aftermath of contact

without leaving a permanent mark

a reminder of the empty space acquired

and the sadness inherited…

What will I celebrate?

Who will join me?

How will I not be swallowed

by the bouquet of roses

I can’t give her –

and who will I now be but an orphan

 on Mother’s Day each year.

My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.

~Abigail Adams

Thank you for reading- please refrain from commenting unless you are familiar with what it means to “Hold Space” with someone. Sometimes well meaning folks want to “do something” or “say something” in response to another’s expression of pain or grief and in doing so do more harm than good. As Scripture reveals there’s a time for a right response and times when refraining might be better. I trust you’ll understand. Interestingly, I learned about “holding space” on my recent trip to Colorado during my week long Journaling Intensive and Certification. As I considered the term in context, I realized it is something I have previously experienced as both recipient and giver but was unaware it was actually a thing…with a name. I found a wonderful article by Heather Plett worth reading: “What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well” which I think does a good job of explaining it. It might be helpful for you to read. IT comes easier to some people I’m sure. But we could all take to tuning in to being more sensitive to one another during what sometimes seems like a blatantly insensitive cultural climate.

I share this poem not to bring anyone down, but only to express my experience openly and honestly. That’s all any of us can do. As an old friend used to remind me, and I know she was quoting someone else – but I think of the words as hers anyway …”We’re all here walking each other home.”

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Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “When You Have No Mother on Mother’s Day

  1. Hi Dawn,

    I loved your Mother’s Day Post. I also have very mixed feelings about this “Hallmark holiday” — Not only because it has negative connotations for those who have lost their mothers, but also for those who can’t get pregnant, have lost a child, or who have turbulent relationships with their moms.

    Thank you for sharing you thoughts and the beautiful poem. Thinking about you as you struggle to find joy this weekend.

    Peggy (JournalLove)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Holding you up in my prayers, Dawn. I totally understand your emotions and feelings at this particular time. My own mother passed into heaven just one week before Mother’s Day 13 years ago, and we actually held her celebration of life the day before Mother’s Day. It was surreal. Truly, we were still kind of in shock and not ready to let the full impact of her loss take hold in our minds, but I remember writing in my journal the morning after she passed that I was a “motherless child”…and it was a very strange, strange feeling. Now this year, we also are reeling from the loss of my mother in law about nine months ago, and my husband just realized the other day when he went to buy a mother’s day card for me that for the first time ever he would not be also looking for a card for his mother. So, yes, I get it. Don’t ever underestimate your feelings and need to grieve for your mother. Whatever that feels like to you…whatever seems right or not…let yourself grieve and be comforted by the Presence of God…He understands totally from a different perspective…the death of His Son, His Only Begotten Son, for the sins of the world…a world who couldn’t care less. So, He understands your heart and the depth of your loss. May God comfort you and hold you in His arms, cradling you as a dear mother cradles her beloved child. You are not alone. And, I don’t know if you have realized it, but when our mothers leave this earth, we suddenly feel a very close connection with heaven…it’s as if we could reach through the veil of tears and touch hands with our dear ones…and if we could, they would reassure us that it’s going to be okay…we WILL be together again some day…for eternity. No more tears. No more sad Mother’s Days. No more sorrow. That is something to look forward to…but in the meantime, hold that precious space in your heart for your dear mother. She really isn’t very far away.


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