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Grief & Mother’s Day: 5 ways to thrive

Some believe that grief is the last act of love we have to give to those who have transitioned. I think that grief is love with nowhere to go. -Simone Banks

Mother’s Day can be a triggering time of year for those whose mother or mother-figure has passed on. Between the incredibly moving commercials, Target aisle displays, social media posts, and everything in-between, we understand that this time of year can be difficult. We recently spoke with Simone Banks, counselor, about how to truly thrive.

Feel all the feelings you want to feel

Emotions are like waves, and I genuinely believe that they have to rise and fall in a safe place as they please. It’s ok to be sad leading up to Mother’s Day, and it’s ok to think about all of the things you wish they were here for, and it’s ok to feel not much of anything. Give yourself time and space to be sad, angry, happy and anything in between.

Homework: have some alone time leading up to Mother’s Day, write in a journal, write your mother/ mother-figure a letter, practice self-care and be patient with yourself and your feelings.

Talk about them to someone who understands

When losing a loved one, talking about them and how they made an impact on your life will help you not only practice gratitude, but also feel that you are not alone. Grief can make you feel like you are the only one feeling this way and talking it out will help.

Homework: talk to the people that knew your mother/ mother-figure the best and discuss all the things you loved about them. Whether it is reminiscing about a funny story, watching home videos together, or simply listening to stories about how they were when they were younger.

Honor their memory daily

I learned this tip from my mom; when a loved one passes away, remember and honor them by enhancing your life with one of their greatest qualities. Whether it was their business acumen or their artistic flair, try to bring that to your own experience as a daily tribute.

Homework: Write down three things you truly loved about them and pick one that you can incorporate into your life. If there was a cause or mission that they were very passionate about, supporting that cause is one way to continue their legacy.

Have a Mother’s Day Game Plan

Decide earlier in the week how you plan to spend the day. Mother’s Day is a time to practice self-care and boundaries. Minimalize your triggers and focus on how you feel in the moment. You do not have to have a by-the-hour plan, however, having a general idea of how you plan on spending the morning, afternoon and evening of Mother’s Day is a major key.

Homework: Carve out some quiet time the morning of Mother’s Day and think of your loved one. You can either do some of their favorite things or eat their favorite food. Consider letting others in your life know that you may be off-line for the morning (or longer if you choose to). It is best to have a plan that involves others during the day and a plan if you decide to be alone.

Create new traditions

Your mother/ mother-figure would want you to live a full life and it is ok to show them that you are growing from sadness. It does not mean you do not miss or love them any less or that they are forgotten. Honor them by living every moment of your life to the best of your ability. Put a new spin on traditions you shared together, remember the love, and spread those warm feelings to others.

Homework: Think of one of your best day(s) ever with your loved one. What did that day consist of? A great breakfast? An amazing movie? A hike in your favorite park? Do not be afraid to continue to experience great days with the people in your life. Honor them by creating new memories and by living your very best life.

Simone French Hall Banks M.Ed is a counselor in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has her Bachelors of Arts in History from Howard University and her Masters of Education in Counselor Education from Louisiana State University. Simone is passionate about helping women, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community. In her free time, she loves to explore Charlotte, NC with her husband, Christopher.

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