How To Prepare For Mother's Day After Your Mother-In-Law Has Passed Away

Nick and his mom on our wedding day

Mother's Day is going to be very difficult this year.  I know I shouldn't feel this way, nor do I think my husband, Nick, wants me to feel this way, but I have a deep sensation of guilt about this coming Sunday.    My mom is still alive.  Father's day is a little easier.  We are in the same boat.  Both of our fathers have passed away, but we both have step fathers who we love very much.  No feelings of guilt or anxiety there.  Mother's Day, I'm flat-out dreading.  (Don't take that the wrong way, Mom.  I love you!)  I'm riddled with how to handle the day, being sensitive to my husband while also letting my mom know I care.  Do I run out to the car and make a phone call to my mom?  Do I parade around the house as I jovially talk to my mom?  Ugh.  Dread.  Guilt.

In all reality, I imagine we will treat the day much like any other Sunday.  I guess it helps that we don't live anywhere near my family, so spending time with my mother on this Mother's Day is out of the question.  I'll probably get up around 7 AM and let Nick sleep in for a few hours.  Once he's up, I imagine we'll both be doing different projects around the house.  I'll likely be painting and Nick will likely be in the garage, cutting wood with his miter saw.  In between coats of paint, I'll pick up the phone and give my mom a call.  I'll likely talk to her for about half an hour.  Nick may walk in and mouth "hi" and "happy Mother's Day", a sign that I should tell my mom that he's there, saying that.  We'll eventually hang up and I'll continue working on my project while Nick has long returned to the garage.  And then part of the anxiety will be over.  Nick and I will continue to work on our projects and eventually dinner time will roll around.  We'll settle in for the evening and head to bed.  Well, I'll go to bed and Nick will stay up several more hours.  (He's a night owl and I'm an early bird.)  And then it will be Monday and the holiday will be over.

Somewhere in the mix, we may talk about his mom a little bit.  I won't try to force it.  I'm already preparing myself to see "sad eyes".  Oh man, do the "sad eyes" kill me.  Clearly, I'm not a mother, but I liken the feeling to a mother seeing a child in pain feeling so helpless not being able to take away the pain.  That's how I feel when I see Nick's sad eyes.    When I see those eyes, the only thing I can think of to do is to simply be there; to give Nick a hug and be present.

While I don't wish these circumstances on anyone, my advice to anyone who is in my shoes (what little advice I have), is to simple give your spouse or loved one room to grieve.  Be there for him or her.  Be present and be patient.  Don't make a huge deal of the day if your significant other is overcome with sadness.  Give your mom your love in a natural way.  No need to hide it, but no need to parade around all day making a big deal.  You love your mom (hopefully) and (also hopefully) your significant other does too.  Hopefully that can be independent from the loss of your significant other's mother and your mother-in-law (because it is your loss too).  If the circumstances are appropriate, spend some time celebrating your mother-in-law by doing something that she loved to do.  If she was a gardener, spend some time in your garden or go to the arboretum or botanical gardens.  If she loved to bake, make her famous chocolate chip cookies.  If your significant other isn't ready or doesn't want to celebrate his/her mom, don't push it.  As much as this day is about your own mother, it is now about your spouse too.  Whether living or past, it's a day about love, so, if all else fails, give your love and know that dealing with loss does get easier, slowly but surely.  Her spirit will always carry on in both of your hearts, even if she is no longer physically there.


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.

Recent Posts by kimdres