How To Handle Mother's Day If Your Children's Mother Is Dead
Monday's Day obviously brings to mind all things maternal - warm and wonderful hugs, children's homemade cards, a delicious dinner, and mom's loving smile and kisses. As Mother's Day arrived each year for more than a decade and a half since his wife died, Rich Ballo knows his now-grown children will celebrate the day in a different way because she passed away when they were very young. They've had time to figure out the best approaches.
Richard Ballo and his family were living life the best they could while his wife battling cancer. She lost the battle at age 38 leaving Rich to raise their five and six year old little boys. Six months after she passed away just before Christmas, Rich dealt with additional grief when Mother's Day rolled around. Without question, this poignant reminder brought more grief into his and his boys' lives. He focused on ways to make it less traumatizing for his kids.
Rich gave a lot of thought to what would help his sons get through Mother's Day in the best possible way. He recommends the following five approaches to help you and your kids celebrate Mother's Day when they don't have a mother who is alive.
1)Remember the good times. Pictures are great for triggering memories. Bring them out and talk to your kids about the day each picture was taken. Share the life you and your wife were dreaming about and how you felt about having kids. Keep the talk on an age appropriate level. There will be days to come when they are older and can understand more. Always reassure them that you are a team and will not leave them.
2)Establish new routines. A new routine can be simple or elaborate. One of the first Mother's Day after my wife died, I bought roses. The kids and I went to a local pier and threw the roses into the water. Yes, we looked out of place in our Sunday best among the swim suit set but we were on a mission. The boys enjoyed the unique tribute to their beloved mother.
3)Find a "new mom" for the children to celebrate. This doesn't mean get married so your children have a mother in their lives. It means find a mom substitute - a sister, aunt, grandmother, or special female friend that your young children can write cards to. This helps remove the stigma of being a motherless child in elementary school. Rich's boys chose their aunt and grandmother.
4)Encourage your kids to write a letter to their mom. When having kids write a letter to their mom, make sure they know it is for them and their mom only and that no one else will read it. You might want to put the letters into an envelope for safe keeping. If the kids are open to it, you can read last year's letter before writing the new one. You can save their letters and eventually when the kids are older and get married, you can return them to them.
5)Eat cake. Go to a movie. Rent a movie. Kids don't want to sit and grieve. They don't want to sit period. Get up and get out of the house. Shoot basketballs, throw a baseball, play mini golf or go to a zoo. Enjoy a new day.
Remind them that even if their mother isn't physically around, they0 still have a mother. If your children are in elementary school, remember there often is a Mother's Day card making activity at school and conversations about moms. It can be a hard time for them. Discuss ahead of time whom they want to make cards for.
Being a parent is sometimes difficult and challenging. Being a single parent with young kids is hard. Help your kids make it through Mother's Day by trying new approaches to a tough situation. Both Rich Ballo and his sons not only survived but thrived. Ballo assures that you and your children can do it, too!
by: Gen WrightAbout the Author:Richard Ballo is a death and dying expert and author of the award-winning book, Life Without Lisa: A Widowed Fathers Compelling Journey Through the Rough Seas of Grief, available in stores nationwide and online at Amazon, Abebooks and BarnesandNoble. He has appeared on FOX Television News, and more than 50 local and national radio programs and has been featured in various newspapers and magazines across the U.S. To contact Rich and learn more about how to recover after losing a loved one, visit Richard Ballo