I’VE JUST LOST MY MOM: 7 WAYS TO COPE IN YOUR FIRST MONTHS OF LOSS
For most of us, that word evokes images of comfort and safety, care and love. The passing of your mother is likely one of the most defining losses you’ll ever experience—and one that takes time to full heal. In the first weeks and months, it can be tempting to withdraw into ourselves, brooding over our loss and the way that life will never the same. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
The first few weeks and months after Mom’s passing are a perfect time to establish new healthy practices and rituals that not only help us cope, but help anchor Mom’s memory within our daily lives. To that end, here are seven simple practices that can help you adjust to your new normal and honor Mom daily. Choose one, or choose them all. Or try them each in turn. You’ll find what works best for you:
Be patient with yourself every day
With the pace of modern life, it’s often difficult to take more than a few days to process your loss. Life may move on, but that doesn’t mean your heart follows at the same pace. Be patient with yourself each day. Little experiences may trigger memories, which trigger fresh grief. Remind yourself this is not “personal weakness,” but a part of the natural process.
Take time to grieve whenever you need it
Grief doesn’t happen at set times. Whenever you feel a well of emotion bubbling up inside, step out of the flow of life and let that emotion run its course. Allowing yourself “grief moments” throughout the day can actually help you process and heal at a much faster rate. Even if you can’t step out of a meeting or commitment to shed your tears, set aside time immediately afterward.
Surround yourself with reminders of mom’s love
Did mom have a favorite coffee mug? Then enjoy your morning brew in it, too. Were there figurines or knick-knacks she always kept on her shelves? Add them to yours. Wherever possible, place reminders of mom in the spaces you live and work in. You’ll feel her presence with you more strongly throughout the day—and know you’re not alone.
Stay connected to those who care about you
Did mom always read the paper over breakfast? Or was she partial to taking the dog for a walk at 3 PM? If you’re able, carry on one of mom’s rituals, at least for the first few weeks or months after her passing. This very act allows you to focus on her, and express your thankfulness for her life, while taking a simple everyday action that honors her memory.
Embrace holidays as times to remember and honor mom.
It can be easy to avoid holidays—and time spent with others during them—when grief is fresh. But holidays actually offer the perfect opportunity to remember Mom in her finest moments, and share those memories with family and friends who loved her, too. Whenever a big holiday approaches, set aside a little time to remember Mom. You might be surprised how much easier it makes the festive mood.
Visualize Mom as being “with you” wherever you go
Sometimes the most powerful comfort we can receive comes from within our own minds. As you go about your daily life and adjust to the “new normal” of loss, imagine Mom by your side, or watching you from above. If you feel that she is truly with you as you go through your routine, you’ll feel less lonely and more connected than ever to the love that you both shared.
Losing Mom is never an easy experience, and adjustment to life without her can take much longer than we initially anticipate. With these seven simple habits and strategies, you’ll be equipped to process the experience, anchor mom’s memory into your new daily routine, and do exactly what mom would want you to: get back on your feet and live life to the fullest.
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