I thought I should share with you what Nora’s birthday looked like for me this year. Unlike other years, I didn’t do a big event. I didn’t do any grand gestures or celebrations. I decided to simplify. Last year when I made the #waveoflove a larger event, I found the planning of the event actually took me farther away from my own personal experience of my little’s girls special day. So I decided to try something different this year.
So I didn’t do much of anything truthfully. I kind of just allowed myself to BE. I took the day off work- no clients or tasks. I spent a quiet day with my loving man. Oh and we popped some champagne and made a toast to all my little girl has taught us.
I wanted to share this with you because I know there can be so much pressure to find something “good enough” to honour your lost little beloved. So I thought I would share with you what I’ve learned about angel anniversaries over the past 5 years.
I hope this makes today -and your little one’s most important days- a little bit gentler. xo.
3 TRUTHS ABOUT ANNIVERSARY’S DATE.
1. Whatever you decide to do (or not do), it won’t feel quite right.
Over the years, I’ve planned everything from large scale online community events, small family gatherings, private tree plantings and low key moments alone. It never fully feels quite like the right thing. Because it’s not. And it never will be. There will always be the feeling that something is missing. Because someone is missing. This is the tragic truth of it. And it breaks my heart just saying this to you, though we both know this is the reality we live in.
So give yourself Grace. Let it be messy – or organized to the smallest detail. Let it be all-consuming – or quietly observed. Let it be a gathering of everyone you care about – or deeply private ceremony with you, a journal and a couple candles.
There is no right thing. There’s no “good enough.” Because there is no way we can ever demonstrate the full sacredness of these days. So instead of searching for the thing that will “feel good to do”, try just asking yourself what would make it feel less terrible.
Would it feel less terrible to spend the day at home binge watching netflix or having my friends and family over to release some paper lanterns?
And seriously, there’s no right answer for this.
One thing I would encourage you to consider, however, is that no matter how you choose to spend the day, schedule the day off work or your usual obligations.
I have done this every single year and it’s the one thing that has always felt right to me. The way I see it, if we get national holidays to honour our country’s key moments, shouldn’t I have a day off to honour the most sacred day in my own life story? Just something for you to think about…
2. People will forget.
Painful, right? I know. But here’s the thing I want you to hear: People will forget and it’s not because they are uncaring, or think it’s unimportant, or believe you should be “over this” by now. (So stop telling yourself that the reason you are not getting the support you need, is because people have somehow deemed you or your loss unworthy of their care & attention.)
The reason people forget is due in large part to the fact that our culture does a terrible job of holding space for grief and for our lost loved ones. Some culture’s have amazing traditions where mourner’s are invited to express their pain, show emotion and remember their lost loved ones in ways that are literally built into the calendar and joined in by everyone.
I think western culture could learn a lot from other parts of the world about Grief. Which is why one of my dreams is to attend the day of the dead celebration in Mexico one day 💕)
The other major reason why people forget is because you need to be the one to remind them. Which brings us to Truth #3…
3. It is your Job as your child’s Mother to plan their special days.
That might feel a little hard to hear but it’s an important truth. No one will, nor should, take the task of planning your child’s special day away from you. In the same way that if your child were here on earth, your friend or cousin wouldn’t just show up at your house, unannounced, unexpected, with a car full of party supplies ready to host your child’s birthday party on your behalf. That’s just not how it works.
And it’s the same when we lose a child. No one else is going to take responsibility for creating their special memorial activities for them. This is your job, sweet mama.
And I know that this is really hard to do. Because Grief is so vulnerable and exhausting to go through, we of course want our family and friends to step up and help us create new traditions and remember our lost beloveds with us.
But let me ask you a question – right now- can you list off every birthday date of all your friends and family kids? And do you get this every every single year without fail?
Even the most organized, most considerate friend in your circle are likely going to innocently miss it, or just simply not know what they are suppose to do. Unless you tell them what you want.
It is your divine right as your child’s mother to announce & plan their special days.
While I know it stings to feel so alone in this sometimes, and the weight of it all can be so heavy, no one else can read your mind to know what you need. I think we often confuse the ability to mind-read with the ability to love us. And these are two very different things.
Some grieving mother’s don’t want it to be mentioned. Others want visible acknowledgement and open dialogue. Again, there’s no right or wrong here. But you are the only one who knows if you want to be alone, attend a family gathering, or take off for a getaway with your spouse. No one knows what feels right to you, but you. So you need to send a clear request for the kind of support you are hoping for.
It’s up to you to set the tone for how you want this day to be marked. So let yourself claim this role. It is sacred and precious and it belongs to you.
When I didn’t plan an event this year, I came to see just how true this really is. Honestly, I was surprised to see just how few people remembered Nora’s special day without my clear reminders and invitations.
But you know what- I’ve been guilty of forgetting their family’s important dates sometimes too. Relationships aren’t about being there for each other perfectly. They are about loving each other through all our messy imperfections and being honest with each other along the way.
And this is why we need more women like you, sweet mama, to share your story, celebrate your child’s life in whatever way feels right for you and to share support in circles like this one.
Marianne Williamson says, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
And to that I would add, as you treat your own heartbreaking experience of motherhood as sacred, you give other’s permission to heal more openly too.
On that note, I’m currently planning my 3rd Annual Hope & Healing Retreat. It will be five days of relaxation, nourishment and soothing for your tired, beautiful heart. And it’s going to be somewhere extra magical this year….
I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Sign up below if you want to hear the details.
In the meantime, I send you lots of love.
You are precious to me.
A Guided Healing Experience
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