When Mother’s Day Isn’t A Happy Day

#40 mothers day


My stomach began to tighten the day the calendar turned from April to May. Faces of friends, looming situations and broken dreams began to subtly wrapped their tentacles around the upcoming holiday we call Mother’s Day.

For some women I know, a rose at church or a trite Mother’s Day greeting are salt to an open wound. For others, the absence of these gestures grate on the soul like sandpaper.

I spent hours on the phone the other evening with a mother deeply grieving the loss of her only child who died six months ago. Words failed me. I know three other women who have shared the same painful loss this past year. Mother’s Day will never be happy for them again. It’s also a difficult day for those who have lost their mother, either by death or to the slow spiral of deterioration of Alzheimer’s.

Other women sit waiting in the lonely cell of barrenness – hoping for a miracle. They dread the fact another empty-armed Mother’s Day will come and go for them. Still others are waiting to hear from their prodigal son or daughter lost to the evil clutches of addiction. There are no words for them either. How can we comfort someone in such silent pain. How can we make Mother’s Day a happy day for them?

My heart aches for the hurting and grasps for words that soothe. Words that comfort and ease the guilt of a society that broad brushes our holidays with trite slogans and endless adds. It’s not our fault that commercialism leads us by the nose to the card counter, the flower shop and simplistic quotes. But it is our fault when we don’t bother to consider the unique lives of individuals in the process.

Mother’s Day doesn’t need to be eliminated in order to alleviate the pain of hurting women. But Mother’s Day can be sensitized by our care for the individual people in our circles.

Our words and actions have power. We can offer solace to the hurting by our understanding.

Celebrate the gift of motherhood with women presently enjoying it. But also look for those who need more than a quote, more than a rose – they might just need you. A hug, a cup of coffee, shared tears and most of all – a listening ear. Let them talk and tell you their stories over and over and over again.

May we be a society that bothers to know each other well and strives to love our neighbors appropriately. May we demonstrate compassion, kindness and care this Mother’s Day. And be a blessing to someone who might find the day difficult.


18 replies on “When Mother’s Day Isn’t A Happy Day”

  1. I don’t give a whole lot of thought to the day usually, but you make a good point. Appreciate your insight. Thanks.

    1. It’s funny how some ‘seemingly benign’ holidays can be so hard for some people. Sad, really.

  2. Thank you for saying what is too hard for me to say myself. You always encourage me, pat..

    1. Oh Rachel, bless your heart. Praying your weekend is filled with God’s love throughout.

  3. Jake’s fiance just lost her mother two months ago. Just listening and letting her tell her story over and over again is good advise. That will embrace her in a very difficult time. Thanks Pat.

    1. Allowing Jake’s fiance the dignity of remembering is the best possible gift you can give her. The first Mother’s Day has to be the worst. Bless you for caring Louis and congratulations on Jake’s engagement. Wasn’t he just climbing over the preschool fence YESTERDAY!

  4. Pat,
    Thanks for the reminders. Those alone, those wanting to be mothers, having lost mothers for whatever reason. Loving them on these days and everyday is showing God’s Love and understanding.
    Listening, serving, loving.

    1. And you do that very well, Cindy. Thank you for listening, serving and loving people in our community.
      Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  5. Thanks Pat for reminding everyone that it’s not always a happy day for everyone. For about 3 years 1977 to 79, I hated Mother’s Day. I cried because it made me remember that I wasn’t a mom – yet. And all the while trying to pretend I was happy for all the other moms. Now . . . I think of, cry for, and pray for my daughter and other moms whose arms are now empty, when they used to be full.

    1. I don’t know if people really realize how much pain rests on some of our holidays. Women do “pretend to be happy” like you did so others won’t be uncomfortable with their discomfort. I’m not sure what the answer is – but I know we could do a better job with grief than we do. THANK YOU for candidly sharing here, Debbie. I pray someone else will gain understanding by what you shared.

      I am praying for your daughter as the weekend approaches (and several other women as well). May God be so near to them.

  6. Pat, thank you for taking the time to remember and recognize and draw attention to the fact that Mother’s Day isn’t always a happy day for many. Many don’t have their mothers still in their lives, and all the commercialism can make it a very painful reminder of their loss. Even those who still have their mothers, may not have the kind of relationship that they desire but instead experience pain. And many mothers may go through the day forgotten or unappreciated by those she spent years pouring into. I pray God will make us more sensitive to the experience of others, and love them with His love.

    1. Just yesterday I stood at the card counter looking through the many cards available and couldn’t find one that seemed genuine and appropriate for my mother. Isn’t it interesting how diverse our lives and needs are. I praise God were not all the same and that He can customize ways to meet our needs. I know you do too.

      Bless you my friend. You’re a treasure to me.

  7. My ex left the day before Mother’s Day, 15 years ago. That wasn’t exactly the happiest Mother’s Day ever! I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness over the years, and for my dear kids. Great post, Pat! Looking forward to reading more of your blog. Blessings!

    1. What a devastating blow Lisa, unimaginable really. You certainly have risen to the challenge of facing the difficulty of single parenting and have three beautiful testimonials of a job well done. I hope you can enjoy Mother’s Day, even in the face of the sour memory. Blessings to you, friend.

      (I’ve actually set blogging aside for the time being. I’m praying about if and when I pick it up again. Thanks for visiting!)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: