Mother's Day & Father's Day Grief

What's Your Grief Podcast / What's Your Grief Podcast : Litsa Williams

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The What's Your Grief Podcast: grief support for those who like to listen.

In this grief podcast, Eleanor Haley, MS and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C, the mental health professionals behind the website and book 'What's Your Grief', leave no stone unturned in demystifying the complicated and messy world of living life after loss. One digestible topic at a time, Haley and Williams distill topics ranging from grief theory to coping. Grief is sad and confusing, but your grief support doesn't have to be. You can listen here by using the player above or listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Below we have provided a transcript of the episode.

Episode Transcript

Hey, welcome to the What's Your Grief Podcast. This is Eleanor and, as always, I'm joined by Litsa. Hey Litsa, what's new?

What's new? I don't know why I shouldn't be prepared for this question. It's like where we always start but I wasn't. What is new is just that, it is like travel has re-emerged as a thing. So you know, we spent some time at the ADEC Conference, spent the morning trying to do some stressful booking for the upcoming National Alliance for Children's Grief Conference, you know. It's just conference season I guess.

Yeah, and it's heading into for us the summer season and so there's a lot of other things to be moving about and traveling for. I will say I know that people have been traveling for a while, you know like going back to the to the covid lockdown. I still feel like my head goes there a lot because even though a lot of people have been traveling for a while now, I don't feel like I have. So getting back out into the world like getting back out at conferences and things like that, it still feels a little bit new and I have to admit it, there's a little bit of like added stress and anxiety that wasn't there before.

Oh I completely agree, I completely agree. I feel like I've always been a pretty easy going flexible traveler, that's always been true for me. But I do feel like a little bit more stress and pressure now than I used to. And I also just think things deplete me a little bit more like the ADEC conference, it was great to see people in person and that was really nice, but I also was just like sort of drained in a way that I think I'm just a little out of practice.

Yeah out of practice maybe is it. I know there are plenty of people listening to this that were like are you kidding me? Like, I couldn't wait to be hopping on a plane and going places going to weddings, going to see my family. And all those things are great, but I just feel like, yeah, like you said they're I'm a little like rusty.

Yes totally.

So totally different topic that we wanted to talk about. We don't have a smooth transition.

Not totally different because you are traveling for...

Well that's true, right yeah, so we wanted to talk about the fact that Mother's Day and Father's Day are just around the bed. Mother's Day really. Oh well, it depends on when you're listening to this actually but when we're recording this, Mother's Day is at the end of the week and then Father's Day of course is in June. And actually, yes, I am I'm going home to visit. I still say home, I say home about the place where I grew up even though I'm here in where I live now for longer than I lived there. Like, I just I can't flip it. That's home.

I think that's always, I mean I think for a lot of people, like, what if you spent your childhood in one place, that no matter how long you're gone from that place, I think there is a piece of it that feels like home. My mom when she goes back to her, like, hometown, she will often talk about how it still feels like home even though she has been gone from there for 50 years.

Yeah. That's a good podcast topic we should talkabout. That sometime, like, going back to the to a place, you know, that you've been away from for a long time or that has changed or that you feel like a lot of loss around, because that is something that I think about all the time. But we can say...

Me too. We should talk about that. I still think about when we received an email from a woman who told us that her hometown had essentially been like knocked down, like, the whole town was. I can't remember exactly why, and I it was been years now but I remember just thinking long and hard about what an unbelievable loss of their, you know, that would be. I think we should definitely talk about that another day.

Okay. So back to the original topic here, okay. So we wanted to talk a little bit about Mother's Day and Father's Day. Why the day can be really really hard for just a lot of different people. I think, we think about often people who are grieving parents and parents who are giving children, but I think there's a lot of other people who can be impacted by the day. And then, you know, maybe a few ideas about what to do, what you can do about it.

Yeah, I think a lot of times obviously we've certainly written about this topic on the website before but I do think one of the things that can be tricky about this is there are alot of people who are impacted and as with any holiday, people's needs are different the way people are coping with it is different. And so we can never cover every bit of nuance of the topic but I think we can at least hit some of some of the common big points

Yeah I think where we would like to start is to just sort of talk about the different people who might be impacted by this and bring them all in into the fold. I think sometimes we do focus on certain people grieving certain types of losses and I'm sure there are a lot of people who feel like do I have a right to grieve on this day? or should I be grieving on this day? And the answer is yes. If you feel grief on the day for whatever reason then that is what you feel and you have a right to that. But we just want to normalize how hard the day can be for a lot of different people. So as many of you know, Litsa and I both have experienced the death of a parent so that's something that is you know, forefront of the mind for us on a personal level. But then just we know from our work with a lot of different types of people, that of course people who are grieving children feel very impacted by this day. But (but) not just those groups that I think we typically think of. Litsa what are some other ones that come to mind for you?

Well so I think one that is important to keep in mind is that oftentimes of course we think about the children grieving a parent who died, but also the survive the other surviving parent I think is often really impacted on that day. For various reasons obviously they're grieving their partner who died and it was a day to honor that person sothat can be complicated. But then also on the other day you know if it's Mother's Day and the dad in your family died it may have been dad who was coordinating a lot of that support and surprises and things to make Mother's Day nice and relaxing for Mom. And now all of a sudden that surviving mom might be really struggling with both her own grief but also trying to make Mother's Day a nice day while now doing a lot of work to make Mother's Day a nice day. So I think it's any parents involved are impacted which is important to remember.

Yeah, and I think there can be some added pressure to make the day nice for the kids and (and if) if it is the parent who died, like if it was a dad who died and it's Father's Day you know, finding ways to support the children and acknowledging their grief on this day and the absence, and just finding ways to maybe make the best of the day, like there's a lot of pressure there. Because you're managing your own grief and also worrying about making sure the kids are okay. And then like you said, (if it's your) if it was supposed to be your day and all of a sudden there's nothing happening on that day I think that everybody notices that. I've had days like if Mother's Day didn't go well, or like my birthday or something didn't go well, or like we didn't do much to acknowledge it, like I, my kid, one in particular, one of my kids in particular will at the end of the day feel very bad about that. Like I've had her say like, I'm so sorry we didn't like do more and wish I, like I wish I had done more today. Things like that. And of course it's like, no no it's totally fine, you know. Like, things happen, sometimes we make big deals, sometimes we don't, but the kids can feel that too. So I think that there is that. like, pressure of trying to make the day feel okay when there's that giant loss in in the room.

Yeah it's all you know over everyone. And I think the other thing too with Mother's Day, I think for Father's Day sometimes schools are out by then so it's a little easy, it's a it's a little different, but I think with Mother's day too and thinking about how kids are impacted. Sometimes there's a lot of stuff at school that can be connected to Mother's Day. And you know, doing things for that, depending on the age of the kids. And obviously, hopefully, for any kids in your life, the school knows what the situation is and is attuned to that. But I think sometimes even with the best of intentions that can get lost. And if there's a you know arts and crafts project being done, or an event at the school that's being done around Mother's Day or Father's Day that can feel especially hard for kids. And then that parents or and caregivers are left trying to support kids through that sometimes added discomfort.

Yeah. And it's interesting, like having kids at different ranges like I do, I see that like as they get older they don't, it doesn't really come up in school but it's really the younger ones that it comes up a lot with. And that in many ways, they may be a little less aware when they're really young but also you know (it's a) it's maybe makes it even harder to kind of like navigate with them. So I think to the extent that you can really bring the school into the conversation and make sure, like you said, that they're aware you know if you're doing a Mother's Day. I think my (my) three-year-old has blown the surprise they did a picture frame and she's like I did we made a Mother's Day picture frame it's just surprise. But letting them know, like maybe, to seamlessly say like this is for Grandma I don't know everybody has different resources in different schools and different situations and things like that. So but you know, just keep it in mind to make sure everybody is aware. And then, you know you said like, with Father's Day, sometimes I think Father's Day doesn't get quite the Fanfare that Mother's Day does, but there's often like big parties and barbecues and things like that, and I think then it becomes a question of like do we stay home and like kind of do something on our own or do we bring everybody to The Father's Day picnic and will that feel weird. So I mean, I think those things are all hard to navigate. And one of the best things we can always do is just communicate communicate communicate with each other and plan.

And I think one other thing too, and thinking about that with both Mother's Day and Father's Day is that though school might impact the younger kids, you know there may be events there more, I think with the older kids and we all know this as adults, that Mother's Day and Father's Day on social media and their friends posting tributes to their parents which you know, we know is something that, it can feel completely pervasive and overwhelming on Mother's Day or Father's Day. And sometimes it's just like any of these things, things to talk about as a family like this is stuff that for anyone who is on social media whether you are, you know, nine years old or 90 years old sometimes all of that Mother's Day Father's Day stuff that you're seeing is really really overwhelming and so it can be something you know (that) that might be affecting the kids even if school isn't.

Yeah, that's a good point. Another group of people who could really find the state to be difficult are people who are wishing to become parents and finding a lot of loss and struggle in that process with things like infertility.

Yeah I think that this is one I had been thinking about because we are just on the tails, coming into Mother's day was just on the tails of Infertility Awareness Month and so I think I've been thinking about so much on social media the range of what that looks like, and you know of course there are people who are just experiencing infertility and unable to get pregnant at all, there are so many people out there families who have experienced miscarriage and still birth and are kind of coping with all of that. And in Infertility Awareness Month it's wonderful to see so much awareness and support on social media, that, then it really was transitioning right into me seeing all of these Mother's Day things happening on social media and I was just especially aware of yeah how it's a a complicated time for so many people who are experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss.

Yeah that's a serious tone shift. I think for people especially if they're really active on social media and are seeing that you know that's where you usually see a lot of the advocacy stuff around, special awareness times but then also where you see a lot of the Mother's Day and Father's Day stuff, so I imagine that must be really really difficult for people. So I think one of the other things that makes this really hard for people who are struggling (with) with these things is that not everybody knows. You know, that you're struggling. If you've experienced the death of a parent, hopefully, you have people in your life who know you're (you're) grieving (on) on the day. But when you're struggling with things like infertility not everybody knows what you're going through right so they don't know that maybe you experienced a miscarriage or your partner experience a miscarriage, they don't know that you have been trying to get pregnant for a really long time, and so you don't always get that validation and support around why the day is really really hard for you.

Yeah, and I think sometimes especially when we think about the fact that for some people infertility never ends with that happy ending of having a child and so then you have family you know couples who maybe much older who might be in their 50s and their 60s or their 70s who were childless not by choice but because they were never able to, who are still deeply affected by that feeling of loss, sometimes that might come up and have an added Pang. And again, so many of these couples we know have wonderful, meaningful, incredible lives after deciding and realizing that having a child isn't something that's going to happen for them. But it doesn't change the fact that these particular days might really be those reminders of the fact that that was another path that they weren't a able to live.

For sure. the last thing I wanted to touch on, and I'm not sure if you have any others to add, but it's just, if somebody (in) in that parent-child bond, if there's any sort of strain or estrangement going on or just maybe, it's a really troubled relationship at the moment, I think that this day can be really difficult for people. One, because they're kind of reflecting on the relationship and what they maybe wish the relationship would be like. Two, because they might be just reflecting on the past when things were better, if that was ever the case. That may never have been the case, but if it was, I think it can be hard to reflect back to, you know, the days when you did get the cute little picture frame and everything (was) was sweet and in hindsight seems perfect, right. So (I) I think that that's another group of people that often others don't really validate and recognize maybe struggling on a day like Mother's Day or Father's day.

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think sometimes this is one that can be a little bit invisible as well. Because there are certain cases where maybe your friends and other family really know about this estrangement and are aware of the tension, and maybe do offer support but there are certain situations where the relationship is just not what we wanted it to be, right. We might not be fully estranged, we might not, it might not be that we're not going to see that person on the day, but it can just be that we're still in that place of comparing the relationship that we always expected to have with our mother or father or with our child, to the relationship that we do have. Or we're seeing all those other people around us posting those photos on social media or other friends and and their relationships with their parents and child and we can just feel aware of the fact that though the person might be here in our lives, that we have this relationship (that) that just doesn't look like we always imagined it would look or we hoped it would because of all sorts of things, you know. Everything from just strain in the relationship to and personality and conflict to substance abuse and mental health issues and all the other things that can come up within these relationships.

I like, in many ways, these days are days that really bring into our awareness or bring to light, like, the contrast between what we wish we had and what what we do have. I mean, that a wide range of ways, like for example I wish I had my mother in my life right, I wish my kids had my mother as a grandmother and I don't have that. And I think that for people who are experiencing maybe estrangement or struggles in the relationship, there might be this idea about like what I wish things were like versus what they're actually like. Or people who are struggling with, you know, why don't you start a family, like I wish I had, you know, a child and I don't. And (I) so I think that it really kind of brings that contrast into view. And I do think part of it is just because we live in a society that kind of, I don't know, it sugar coats the day. It makes the day seem like everything should be like all great brunches and quaint cozy moments and I don't know if that's really like the best use of the day, does that make sense?

It no, I think it totally does because it gives us this unrealistic idea that other people have some sort of perfect relationship and that's what we should all be striving for. When the reality of course is that many other people have lost these relationships. Many other people have complicated relationships in many cases you know, Mother's Day is about honoring someone who's gone, a mother who's gone or remembering a child who's gone or it is about trying to navigate these messy relationships and unfortunately we just don't, like, see that in, you know, the commercials.

Thank you that you, okay, so yes, that you kind of put what I was trying to say into into words. Like, I think by making it only about a certain type of like ideal perfect relationship, it like throws a wide majority of people outside (of) of the day.

Absolutely. And (I) I don't know if you saw this but in our email yet, but I saw somebody emailed us this project she is doing called honest obituaries. And you know, it's really great. And you know it's, I think a brand new project but she shares on (their) this kind of honest obituary to her mom and for her mom who has died and (it is) it's exactly what it sounds like, right. It's honest, it show (it) it is the full nuance right. It's all of the wonderful and all of the hard and I really did have a moment, especially, maybe with it being in this coming up to Mother's Day, stretch of thinking oh this is such a great concept to kind of invite people who celebrate the full range of complicated relationships that they may have had with their mothers or children or anyone else really, right.

Well, okay so we're gonna next talk about what can be hard about the day. And I think that actually is hitting on one of the things that can be hard about the day is you think it's only for people who have these wonderful great relationships with people who are living, and that leaves a lot of people out, right. And I do think you've already touched on another one that sort of goes along with that is that oftentimes we do see this brief snapshot that other people share on social media throughout the day about, you know, their wonderful parent or their wonderful brunch and like (I) I hope that's like that's good I'm glad for so many people who have that, or feel that they have that, or even if it's just in that moment that they post it feel they have that, or even if they're kind of fudging it a little to make themselves seem a little more perfect, fine more power to you that's okay. But I do think that for people who are grieving on the day, seeing all that can be really really tough and you mention it with regards to adolescents and teens who might be on social media, but I think that we definitely need to talk about it for adults. Because anybody who is on things like Facebook, I think if we're talking about adult adults we're talking about Facebook and Instagram mostly right, I don't know.

Tik Tok?

Yes, Tik Tok.

I, not just, not Snapchat.

I know, (I, I'm my) my children would die if I got on Snapchat, I think. So, I feel like I should just, so I understand it better but...

I've been saying that for like the last eight years. I feel like since Snapchat hit the scene I've still been confused about it year over year, so...

Yeah my kids have explained it to me but I'm still like okay sure we're really aging ourselves right now we shouldn't

Snapchat confuses me

Anyways, Yeah. It's (it's) really hard. And (I) I think that we get so used to just opening up well, I'll speak for myself I can't speak for anyone else, but I get so used to opening up Instagram when I'm just like sitting around bored and I honestly wish, it's an addiction I want to break, but (I) I will cop to it. And you know half the time I'm like annoyed, I don't even want to see anything if I'm like vigorously pretending to scroll right now. I don't even want to see any of this stuff but I still do it you know. And I think (that) that can really add if you're scrolling on the day and seeing everyone else's post like (maybe you're) maybe you're a less bitter person than I am and you can be like oh that's wonderful for them and there is a part of me that says that. But then there's definitely a part of me that's jealous.

Yeah. Of course. And like I think that's the thing. It's like being jealous doesn't make you less happy for someone. If we've said it once we've said it a thousand times right. Like you can feel two feelings at once and one doesn't take away from the other. Like I can see a friend celebrating Father's Day with her dad and feel genuinely so happy for her that she has that, and feel deeply jealous and you know envious and sad that I don't have that. And it is it's a really complicated feeling on the day. And I do think that especially because you just describe something that's so true which is that social media can be, it becomes mindless like the the way that it and this is literally how it gets ingrained in our brains, the way that reward-based things like social media work is that it does put it does start to happen when we're on autopilot, so even if you say to yourself oh I'm not going to go on social that day it may be very easy to accidentally be standing somewhere and you're just bored you pull your phone out and you automatically open it. So it might not be a bad idea to just delete Instagram from your phone that day or whatever it is because you can just reinstall at the next day, it will save everything for you don't worry. Just so you really don't kind of accidentally find yourself in that place if it's going to be hard and activating for you. if it's not, like you don't have to worry about it, but it is something that's definitely worth considering.

Yeah. And it might be that you know, the next day you still get the same photos right, you're still going to get the same things coming up in your feed, but maybe you'll feel in a better place to see them at that.

Exactly. Absolutely.

So yeah, just think about it. Think about how your relationship with social media, how it makes you feel. And then you know what also you know claim it as your own as well right just because your loved one has died doesn't mean that you can't post something too, right. So I could still post, I won't because I don't post a lot, but I could still post something about my mother to honor my mother, right. So (you and) you all (could) could post as well. So don't feel like you can't post just because you don't have that perfect, you know, in intergenerational photo that you might have had last year or the year before that with all the mothers or fathers.

Yeah absolutely. And on the otherend of the spectrum you know you don't have to feel guilty if you don't post. I think one thing that can happen, especially if you follow a number of grief accounts or you're connected in that grief space, you might see that there are people who are posting tributes to their moms who've died, or you know, about their feelings about having lost a child on Mother's Day, and I think sometimes for those who (like) like you just shared out might not be somebody who goes to that default place of thinking of wanting to post things necessarily on social media, there can be little bit of guilt like oh should I be posting this tribute, should I, you know, other people are doing this, sharing these tributes to someone who's gone, is that (is that) what I would really do if I was coping with my grief better or if I was really honoring my Mom's memory, sorry no, there's no right or wrong way. You can absolutely, completely skip it if that's not the thing for you. It's just an option for you if it would feel good.

Yes exactly. I think another thing, just speaking as somebody who kind of straddles two worlds on this day, because I do have kids of varying ages and then I am grieving my mother as well, and (I) I think one of the things that can be really hard for me is that it's kind of like, it's two things: it's the grief part and the sadness about not having my mother, and it's also the part that of me that's supposed to recognize the day as a mother of children. And I think that that can be really hard (for) for people. I think the early years of grieving can be really really hard because your grief is extremely present and you also maybe feel like oh my gosh I'm not being present for other people. It might be that you're a parent grieving a child on Mother's day but you have other children. And so I think that there can be a lot of seemingly conflicting emotions and thoughts all at the same time. They don't cancel each other out but they feel like they're in conflict, right. So we have these really strong emotions and thoughts that feel like they're in conflict. We might be feeling stressed, we might be feeling guilty because maybe we're not (for) focused on our grief all day, or we're feeling guilty because we're not focused on the people who are present with us, and so I think that (it's) it's a day where people can often feel really pulled in different directions.

Oh yeah. I think that that is, it's very true. And I think that a lot of this, it's hard for me not to think of it a little bit coming from that role at least in this moment. I think for everybody, but I think for women, it can sometimes feel especially hard when we're, as you already referenced earlier. Feeling like we're responsible sometimes for the other people's feelings on the day. I know that's not exclusively a gendered thing, but I think we certainly know that some people you know really feel that. And I think that that layered with these complicated mixed feelings that are coming up can feel really really hard. I think the other thing that I've heard coming up on social media (a bit), last I remember this last year around Mother's Day, which isn't exactly this but a little bit different was you know, people who had (who'd) lost a mother and who's had very complicated feelings about their partner's relationship with their mother, so the mother, their mother-in-law. Either feeling like a burden of responsibility was being placed on them to make the mother-in-law's Mother's Day nice, or feeling sometimes like their spouse didn't appreciate that they still had a mother and weren't kind of doing all that they could to honor their relationship with their mother and do that and you know. Oftentimes people sharing that with the caveat of saying like I know this is like my grief in a lot of ways but it's just really hard for me not to feel a lot of feelings about this when this in many ways is a day when I'm really feeling so many feelings about not having my mom here.

Yeah I could definitely see how that could be true. I mean I'll admit, there have definitely been times where I've seen people who I decided weren't appreciating their mother enough and feeling like oh you don't know how good you have it and then I really do have to step back and say like their relationship is their relationship and I know nothing about it. And it's really not my place to decide how anybody (it) interacts in their (own) own relationship. But I could totally see how that would be though, you know. It's not always like we're, not always our most calm and thoughtful selves, right. Sometimes we react from that place of bitterness and they're like we said jealousy or you know or so many different resentment.

Yes, all sorts of things, right.

Especially when it's a day like Mother's Day or Father's Day when we're really feeling our grief. So it's totally normal to have kind of those reactions that we maybe wish we didn't have. (It) And it's okay. It's okay. But I think that with (with) this something that can be helpful. And I'm not much of a planner but (I) I do know the benefit if you know you're kind of straddling two worlds, of planning ahead a little bit to say, like, I'm going to spend this time kind of honoring my loved one or my grief or whatever that looks (looks) like for you, and then I'm going to spend this time with whoever with my family with my kids maybe, with my sisters, whatever that looks like for you. That way, you've created that space for both and you don't have to feel guilty necessarily that you haven't created space for both. Now you might have moments where you feel like you're not present enough or whatever and (that's) that's normal too. But I think that you've done your best, right. If you kind of have set aside that time and the other thing I would say as somebody who is grieving a parent but also a parent is, don't be afraid to acknowledge why the day is hard to those around you. Like, I certainly have in the past and would again say to my kids on Mother's Day, you know, if there was a moment for me where I was feeling really sad, just acknowledging, like you know, I'm so appreciative and so grateful to have you in my life but I also on this day I'm reminded that my mom's not here and that really makes me sad. And you know it's totally okay to acknowledge that the day is bitters sweet.

Yeah. and (I) I think that you know, thinking about who you might want to include in your day, especially if you don't have a day that you're going to be spending with other people, right. Your mother's day may not be a day where you have other family you're going to spend the day with. I know a few years ago I spent Mother's Day with a friend of mine who was grieving her mom because she didn't have anybody to spend the day with and she was like I'd really like some company for kind of, you know. We didn't do a lot. We, you know, watched movies and hung out but she just recognized she didn't want to be alone on Mother's Day and it was going to be a hard day and so she reached out. You may, on the other hand want to spend the day alone, like I'm somebody who, for Father's Day, I don't usually have anybody I'm spending Father's Day with. I'm not a parent so I don't have kids that I'm worrying about for Father's Day. But I like spending Father's Day alone. I usually use that as a day that I feel like I can kind of connect to all my grief unapologetically. And I you know way back I wrote a post about you know sulking on Father's day but having a plan. Which is kind of how I often spend my father's day is just leaning into a little bit of sulking, a little confined sulking, but with a plan for what the day is going to look like and some ways that I'll feel connected to my dad. So I think it's just really about figuring out what's going to work for you but also not feeling, not hesitating to reach out to somebody if you don't have anybody to spend the day with and you might want some company.

Yeah. (I think) I think just maybe thinking ahead a little bit (is) is in thinking about what's right for you. Like you described, maybe it sounds like you have kind of a grief day, you know, maybe it's blocking all your loved ones favorite movies or having their favorite dinner, you know. Doing a number of things that really bring you to a place where you connect with that person. Maybe it's looking through old photo albums and things like that and then on the other hand somebody may say like I'm not in a good place for that this year what I would really like to do is just avoid the day altogether and if you don't have any like reason not to, like obligations (with) with other kids or something like (that) that is a totally fine way to spend the day, right. Just kind of maybe, you say to yourself I'm, you know, I'm going to take that extra shift at work because I'd rather just take my day off my mind, off of it, or you say I'm gonna get outside of the house all day because I know that will keep me away from my phone, I know then I won't just be like sitting on the couch like not sure what to do so I think what I'll do is go to Home Depot that day, and doing a little gardening, or do a little lawn work or whatever or maybe it's you get all your errands done that you've been putting up so it's okay also if it's right for you to say I'm gonna pretend the day isn't happening.


That you can avoid those, you know, reminders and things like that. I was just gonna say I think that the one other thing that for me has been helpful in the past on Father's day has been, you know, reaching out to sort of Father figures in my life like especially men in my life who really were support to me after my dad died. My college roommate, her dad was just a great example of somebody who, he just really went out of his way, I feel like to include me and everything with their family after my dad died and just you know he'd met my dad and I think he just, it was really important to him and I really appreciated that. So for Father's Day when he was still alive, I would always send him a card or I would send him something you know just expressing Happy Father's day. But also, you know a little bit of my gratitude for (the) the role he played in my life.

I love that idea. I think, it's so easy to feel like the day is not for you anymore when you've experienced a loss but by saying, you know, I don't have, like for me as an example, I don't have my mother here but I do have like some wonderful sisters who are also mothers and who may have played a little bit of a motherly role to me. I do have aunts, I do have you know, mother-in-law, there are a lot of people who I can acknowledge. And in a way you're sort of like reclaiming the day a little bit for yourself by being able to acknowledge like the people in your life who you do appreciate, you know. No one will ever fill anyone's shoes but who have kind of supported you in ways that are similar (to) to what that type of person would have been you know a parent or even if it's a child (who) who died. Maybe it's a friend of theirs who you want to reach out to. And I'm thinking of you there's a lot of different ways that you can, you know, think about other people to reach out to (on) on the day.

Yeah. Absolutely. And if (you) you know have any bereaved moms (in your) in your world and in your life, I think, it's such an important day to reach out to them. If it's friend, I know, I have a friend (who's) who died several years ago and I've actually (I) wish I could say I have done it, I have not, but maybe this year will be the year I have thought for the last few years about sending her a card on Mother's Day and reaching out to her on Mother's Day because it is such an important time I think to let people know that we're thinking of them and that we know that it's a hard time of year.

Yeah. (I) I love that idea.


Well, with that we have a lot of additional resources about Mother's Day and Father's Day on our website and we always invite you to email us at if you have any questions that you would like to ask us individually.

And if you are looking for a lovely gift for anybody who might be having a hard time Mother's Day or Father's Day, our book, check it out What's Your Grief.

Oh yeah, good plug there. All right we'll talk to you next time.

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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

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