It’s not easy to talk about an occasion like Mother’s Day knowing that some people will be without their moms this year. Any holiday or significant date, really, can be difficult for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This is something most people can relate to on one level or another.
For example, I feel so incredibly blessed to have plans with my Mom this weekend – but for her, this will be the first Mother’s Day she has without her Mom, my Grandma. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. However, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t inspire me to explore what a day dedicated to celebrating our moms can teach us about celebrating a life.
I decided to first speak with some funeral professionals about their experience with life celebrations. Of all the things I learned, each shared one similar sentiment with me – it can be a challenge to help families piece together a memorial when someone dies. That’s because memories are scattered throughout boxes, attics, garages, book shelves, hard drives and sometimes exist only in the mind. This was much the case for my Mom, who worked tirelessly alongside her siblings to gather letters, photos, videos and special memories once my Grandmother passed away.
Too often, it would seem, these practices are reserved for after a death occurs.
The first question that comes to mind is, what do we wait for? Maybe it’s that we don’t want to think about or accept the eventual loss of those closest to us. Perhaps it’s the way we’re conditioned to celebrate milestones or special occasions. Either way, it seems to be the norm.
And it is not only the norm as it relates to death. Showing appreciation is something most of us seem to procrastinate. Interestingly enough, while doing research for this post, I learned that more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. Whatever the reasons are for that, and I am certain there are many, its the same “thing” that leaves us only truly celebrating people once they have passed.
Admittedly, after the death of my Grandmother in August, I set out to celebrate my Mom more frequently and I call her more now than I ever have. It has been Mother’s Day for the last 9 months in my world and I intend to keep it that way for the rest of the time I have with her. Why? So that when the day comes where I must say goodbye, there will be less digging, fewer things to organize and I’ll not have to look to the distant past for keepsakes. My goal is for it all to be right there.
This mindset has become normal for me, and I have found myself being more thankful for everyone I love. My family, my friends and even my team at FrontRunner. In many ways, I celebrate them and the people in my life everyday. I am comforted by the fact that when I do lose any of them, I will be able to contribute memories from many small celebrations of their life. Ones that we shared together, while they were still here.
What started as an ernest effort to spend more time appreciating my Mom has taught me that celebrating a life should not be retroactive. Instead, it should be a proactive thing that we do before we lose those that we love.
From my examination of Mother’s Day, I have learned that it is nothing more than a suggestion, one that people take all too literally. The same, unfortunately, goes for celebrating the deceased.
In short, you don’t have to wait to share your feelings and express your gratitude. Take photos. Make phone calls. Drive for a visit. Buy or make a present. Create a box or a book of memories together. Keep these things close. If you do this, then maybe death would be less a conclusion and more of another chapter – one that you will be more prepared to illustrate.
For those of you who will be without your moms this Mother’s Day, I hope that you find comfort in the memories you shared together. And if you are lucky enough to have her still here – I hope what I learned can help you in some way – celebrate your mom more often.
Brandon is the Marketing Communications Manager at FrontRunner Professional. He holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College. His creative writing and innovative ideas bring new life to the company, FrontRunner’s clients and funeral directors world-wide.