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How to Cope with Grief on Mother's Day

  • Sharon Betters
  • Updated Apr 21, 2022
How to Cope with Grief on Mother's Day

Since 1994 I have wished I could jump over Mother's Day. It's supposed to be a day of honor, remembering our mothers, being remembered by our children. But in May, 1994 remembering only brought deeper sadness and longing for what was. That was the first Mother's Day I experienced without our youngest child, Mark. Mark was born on May 11, 1977. He died in a car accident on July 6, 1993. The year of 1994 was a year of dreading every morning and every night. Mother's Day and his birthday all at the same time seemed more than I could bear.

Over twenty years later, I still weep over missing Mark, though I have also found purpose and joy in this journey.

Mother's Day...a day that brings great joy to the first time mommy and great grief to the woman who cannot conceive.

A day of satisfaction for the mother whose children are living by faith, a day of deep pain to the mother whose child not only rejects her faith but also her mom.

A day of fun for the mommy whose children bring her breakfast in bed.

A day of deep loneliness for the mommy who will never see her child again on this earth.

A day of contentment for the mom who looks down the church pew at her husband and beautiful children.

A day of isolation for the woman who will never bear children or sits in church with her children - alone.

A day of "sinful pride" for the mother who thinks she raised perfect children, a day of shame for the mother who wishes she could start all over again.  

A day of refusing to think about all the mistakes we made as mothers, a day of remembering all the mistakes we made as mothers.

A day of glee when children honor us, a day of hoping our children will honor us, even though they know better than anyone all the mistakes we made.

A day for the grieving mother to remember all the things she didn't do and all the things she wished she hadn't done.  

Mother's Day is a tough, hard day for so many. And pity the man who doesn't give the right gift or the child whose gift doesn't equal the need in his mother to be remembered.  Yes, a hard day for some, a spectacular day for others.

For me, this is a day of choices that are more easily made than they were in 1994. It's a day I miss my son but no more than I typically miss him. And it's a day I thank God for the blessings of sixteen years with Mark.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to choose life when a piece of my heart aches for more of what will never be. Today I will choose a rose bush to plant in Mark’s name, as I have every year since his Homegoing. Last year the rose's name was Lasting Peace. This year, I hope to find one that reminds me of God's faithful love.

It's a day I look forward to spending time with our other children and receiving lots of hugs and kisses from our grandchildren. I will hold them close and absorb the life that flows freely from their hearts into mine. And it's a day I will be more sensitive to those around me whose hearts are breaking because this day of all days reminds them of what they do not have.

I think of the new young widow and the mom whose daughter died a few months ago. I think of the mom who took her own life and the one who faces her first Mother's Day after a miscarriage. I think of the mom whose daughter refuses to surrender to God's love and intentionally hurts her mother at every opportunity.

But then I will remember how God used the clouds of grief in my life as His chariot and how He charged through the dark sky and held me tightly in His grip as I struggled to reconcile His sovereignty and His love. And I will pray for each of these women to experience the swoosh of the chariot as God rides deep into their hearts and encourages them to trust Him with their disappointments.

Mother's Day. A day to remember. A day to remember, God is sovereign and we can trust Him.

For more on walking by faith when your heart is breaking, check out Sharon’s blog at www.treasuresofencouragement.org.

Sharon is committed to offering help and hope to those coming behind her in life’s journey, encouraging readers that they can experience help and hope when the lights in their lives go out.