“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.
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.