“Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun.  And when that day comes, love, you will remember me.”

Alison Meghee; excerpt from the children’s book Someday

My daughter received the picture book, Someday, for her third birthday from my mother.  It is a touching story about a mother’s love for her daughter as she grows to be an adult.  I have read the book several times to her and tears well up in my eyes every time I read the last two pages.  I picture Ella, my daughter, sitting on the porch with her grandchildren and telling stories of me.  My hope is that my son and daughter both have a lifetime of memories to experience with me.  It is every mother’s hope.

The reality is 1 in 20 children in the United States experience the death of a parent before they reach the age of 18.  A child may also be grieving over a mother’s deployment, illness, or incarceration.  Mother’s Day is a reminder of the significant absence in their lives.  How can we help children who are grieving the loss of a mother, especially on Mother’s Day?

Instead of focusing on the absence in their lives, try to make Mother’s Day about remembrance and honor.  Today is a day we remember our mothers- even if they are not physically with us.  If you are a relative or family friend of a child that is grieving, tell the child a memory of his or her mother.  Maybe it is a memory that the child has never heard.  Talk with the child and plan a way to honor his or her mother.  For example: plant a flower, release balloons into the sky, have a picnic, or visit the grave.

The child can make a special memory box that holds items; such as, jewelry, letters, or pictures that belonged to his or her mother.  You can find plain wooden boxes at craft stores.  A shoe box would also work.  The child can paint the box and then glue gems or shells to the outside.  This is a favorite activity for our support group.  Every year they want to make a memory box.  I love how the kids choose the colors to paint the boxes.  I recall a girl painting the color “purple” because it was her mom’s favorite color.  Also, a boy glued sea shells to the box because his mom loved the beach.  Memory boxes can also be made for children who are physically apart from their mothers.  A child who has a mother that is deployed could place letters received in the box, along with pictures and jewelry.

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My daughter is almost nine-years old and developmentally understands death.  She knows that I help children who are grieving the loss of a parent.  My four-year old is beginning to understand the permanence of death.  He asked me the other day, “Mom do you want me to live with you forever?  Well, I can’t because you won’t live forever.”

It is funny how children are honest in their words!   He reminded me to slow down and enjoy every minute that I spend with him.   As I say good-night to my children, I often say these words.  “No matter where I am and how far apart we are from each other, I will always be in your heart and you will be in mine.”

Someday, a long time from now, my daughter and son’s hair will glow silver in the sun.  And when that day comes, they will remember me and know that I am always with them.


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