For several weeks at this time of year, we are bombarded with suggestions for and announcements of Mother’s Day celebrations for women around the globe.
But not everyone is celebrating.
My mother, who passed away nine years ago this month, just before Mother’s Day in the UK, was my world. She was not only my mother but also my best friend, my travel buddy, my confidante and so much more besides. To me, every day was Mother’s Day. Clearing out the house after her death, we found love notes I’d written her as a child, something I did regularly. Even then, I didn’t need to know it was Mothers Day to send her letters and homemade cards telling her I loved her, that she was the best mum in the world, that I was sorry for being naughty. And I never noticed Mother’s Day so much while she was alive as when she was no longer here.
There are always landmarks and milestones in bereavement – the first Christmas, the first birthday, the anniversary of her death. Others don’t know the significance of those dates, so they can be marked quietly. But Mothers Day returns with a vengeance year in, year out, dividing everyone into those who are celebrating and those who are crying.
With more countries than ever now hyping up the day as a commercial opportunity, Mother’s Day is a ‘notification’ I cannot switch off. ‘Take mum for brunch, to the spa, tell her you love her, take her away’. As a journalist, the marketing emails are relentless.
The thing is, you never get over losing a mother. There will always be the times you wish you still had her to help you through so many challenges: the break-up, the illness, the redundancy, the loss of a baby, the years when your husband is suffering from debilitating cancer treatment. During times like those, a loving mother’s consolation is the only medicine that does any good. The list of times you need your mother is endless.
If you’ve lost your own mum and are struggling with the succession of days designated for honoring her in different parts of the world, you will always feel like an orphan. Losing a parent does that to you. What I would like more than anything, more than Mothers Day, is to tell every young child to cherish and love this woman while she’s alive, to not wait until Mothers Day to show her you see and appreciate her.
And I would love for everyone who has lost their mother to feel the small sense of peace that comes from knowing you spent all the precious time together that you could.
Now 41, I’m still unmarried with no children. My thoughts of one day being a mother myself were always formulated around my own mother being by my side. The greatest sign of spiritual evolution is to be happy for those who have what you don’t, but it will never be easy to see others with their mother at pivotal times in our lives.
Not a day goes by when I don’t include gratitude for my parents and my grandmother in my prayers, for what they gave me, physically, materially, emotionally. Even in her death I constantly aspire to be more like my mum, who was a compassionate, patient and easy-going angel.
So let’s remember there are many for whom this holiday hurts: the women who cannot conceive, the women who long to become a mother but who haven’t met a partner, the women fighting their way through the adoption process, for those who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy or a child. May every day be Mothers Day, Fathers Day, loved-ones and friends day.
Mother’s Day in the UAE is March 21, Mothering Sunday in UK is March 22 and in North America, May 10.
Melanie has been practicing yoga for 11 years and teaching for nearly six. She discovered the practice at a time when work life-balance was at its lowest, living a busy life in London working for national newspapers. She teaches at Fairmont The Palm and Zen Yoga Dubai Media City.