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Mother's Day Doesn't Have to Be That Difficult If Your Own Has Passed

The loss of the person you call "mom", no matter what your personal relationship is with her, is something that leaves a profound impact on one's life when they pass on. For some of us, we are left with happy memories as the relationship we had with them ended on good terms. For others, it can lead to a lifetime of questions as there were too many issues we had with one another that weren't resolved prior to her death. And for many of us in the LGBTQ community, we had mothers who didn't approve of our lifestyle and we never really got to wonder if they ever came to terms with who we are before they died.

Mother's Day can easily be the roughest out of the entire year for anyone who has lost their own mom, or "mum" or however you would like to refer to her. From my personal experience, it is tougher than the holidays, her birthday, my own birthday and many others as it is a day designed specifically for the mother in our life, and the constant distraction of Hallmark cards, social media posts and friends checking in to see if you are OK can be completely overwhelming.

It has been over a decade since my own mother passed from cancer, and the pain of her loss still resonates greatly with me today. Often times I wonder about the hypothetical "road not taken", except in this case it was a road that I was unable to turn onto as I couldn't become that superhero of sorts and get that disgusting cancer out of her body.

She was a fantastic woman, great parent, sister, daughter... you name it. She had a lot of issues with my sexuality when I told her I was gay, but as time went by she accepted me for who I was and it's pretty much a "mental" guarantee that she would be super supportive of me so many years later if she was here in the physical world.

Yet, when I wake up on Mother's Day, I get this overwhelming sense of grief that only happens a couple of times a year at this point. A friend of mine put it best: "Losing your mother is like a knife. The blade dulls, but it can still cut you at a moments notice." For someone like me, I never want to wake up feeling sad or think about going through the day in a depressed state, so how do you actually get through Mother's Day without having to go through either of those?

Something I have done over the past couple of years, especially if you are active on social media, is to make a post about her a day in advance of Mother's Day. Because come Sunday morning, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc will be filled with endless photos and posts about your friend's mothers that are incredibly heartfelt and touching. For me, I see it as something that emotionally exhausts me, and you never want to put yourself in that situation. Post about it a day in advance, and if you really can, stay off social media for 24 hours. Consider it a detox of sorts.

Another tip that I always find works is to search for things to make you laugh. That is the best distraction, no matter what relationship you had with your mother, is in order to really enjoy your day without the worriment that you'll be reaching for the tissues. Heck, reach for the tissues for a completely different reason there (wink, wink)! Whatever you can do to keep yourself upbeat ultimately will relieve you of the stress that is this day.

If you are someone who recently lost your mother, let's say five years or less, you are gonna get a lot of texts and calls asking "Are you OK?" Here is where you are in control. If you aren't OK... tell them! Tell the people you know will be there for you. Don't give them a PC answer of "Oh yeah, it's just another day," talk to the friends and family who will do whatever they can to make you happy. Heck, they may even take you out for a drink or dinner to cheer you up, and who can turn that down?

The bottom line is, don't be stuck in grief. Don't be stuck in misery over something you cannot control. At the end of the day (Mother's or not), it's simply not worth it.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

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It's not easy, but we find ways to get through it, especially if we were fortunate enough to have loving mothers (and yes, I recognize that not all do have mothers or loving ones). I was very blessed with a wonderful Mom. Of course, that made losing her (also to cancer over a decade ago--February 6, 2004, to be precise) very painful, since she was the most important lady in my life. But I managed to go on. As my husband has said about our losses through the years, "you don't get over it; you just get through it." I think that's essentially right. For me, I see such losses like a serious wound. It will scar over, but the wound remains. Different from when you first were wounded, but it's still there. And while the sharp pain of the wound has faded, it still aches, some days worse than others. All we can do is try to "not get stuck," as you said, and let the good memories carry us through!

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There is another category of people for whom Mother's Day is rough - those of us who grew up without a mother. When I was a child, there was no attempt to be inclusive of those who were "different". I was ostracized from all Mother's Day and Mother & Daughter activities - and they didn't make any bones about it. I was told to my face that I wasn't welcome since I didn't have a mother. I was made to feel that somehow it was my fault. Even in elementary school, I was pointed out as being different. It was almost as if they thought my "problem" was contagious. And they didn't treat me any better at church. As a result, I dread Mother's Day every year, because it's like rubbing salt in a wound to see all of the attention being paid to something that brings back bad memories to me.

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