By: Ginny Limer
Celebrations are lighthearted, joy-filled, carefree occasions where smiles are shining, the energy is booming, rooms are full of contented people gathered together, hugging and laughing…but your heart is heavy. Your joy is gone. Your cares are not free. Your smile and energy have faded. Hugs and laughter bring you to tears, because your celebration is missing a person. Your person. Your child.
Two of the most painful celebrations are looming; Mother and Father’s Day are just around the corner, stalking the bereaved parent like a thief in the night. But we will not be unprepared. We will not be blindsided and completely broken. We will arm ourselves with healing strategies and have a plan in place for the joy-stealing thief that is grief.
Plan for the grief, plan for the joy. When planning for Mother’s and Father’s Day, plan for sadness. Consider it to be on the menu for the day. Eat a small portion, or stuff yourself with grief. Please remember to nibble some organic, wholesome healing after gorging on the junk-filled grief. It is your choice. Keep in mind it’s best to eat in moderation. It takes longer to recover when you stuff yourself.
Plan to protect your heart. Protect your fragile heart by celebrating the love between you and your child in your own special way, and without expectations from others. If you don’t receive the Hallmark words that you were hoping for then go read some Scribbles & Crumbs or visit the On Coming Alive website after you finish finding hope within the articles of the latest Still Standing or National Share issues. Search for the heart-wrenching yet hopeful words that you long to hear. Read them aloud. Speak them to yourself. Ultimately, Mother’s and Father’s Day is about the intimate, forever bond between you and your child, souls linked by DNA, blood and heart. Your heart is even more sacred a space than the womb, for it is there that your child will be carried, not for nine months, but for an eternity.
Plan to pay it forward when your spirits are lagging behind. Search for someone or some cause to help when you cannot even seem to help yourself. Think beyond your pain and bring someone else pleasure. A Gift from Emma has free random acts of kindness cards and encourages families to perform small acts of generosity daily. A mother at The Love Elijah Project and her kids are performing such acts of love daily and are raising money for an art therapy room in their local town. There are sure to be groups in your area that are in need of hearts like yours; full of pain, tears, love, and longing. Reach out to others. Extend your hand when your heart is heavy.
Plan to create meaning and memories in honor of your child. Buy yourself or take a walk and pick some flowers. Create your child’s name using the whole flower or just the petals. Take a photo, print and frame your child’s floral name art. Use pine needles, acorns, blades of grass, or rocks if flowers are out of season. Connect with your child in nature when you feel a strong need to nurture.
Plan to be creative when you feel uninspired and dull. Use photography as therapy, participate in creative healing projects such as May We All Heal. Find your heart in art and ask a few friends to color, paint, or create with you. Share your story with a group like Kale’s Kisses, and type the tears away before the next Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Sibling’s Day appears on the calendar. When those days arrive, plan to sit a while and cry a while. Then plan to regain your strength and keep celebrating, even through the grief.
About Ginny Limer
Ginny Limer is a mama, teacher, writer, and photographer from Ft. Worth, Texas. She and her family fundraise throughout the year for a healing camp for kids and their families. ©Camp Cullin, a Retreat from Grief is the main initiative of their family-run nonprofit. Scared Sidless was created in 2012 when her six month old son passed away from S.I.D.S. Find her on Facebook or on Instagram.