Mother’s Day was recently celebrated with purchases of greeting cards, flowers, presents and candy and probably taking Mom out for a meal.  For Father’s Day (June 17 this year) the focus will be sending cards and buying presents as well, but likely having families gather around the barbecue or enjoying a picnic at a park or beach. Sounds wonderful right?

These holidays established in 1914 and 1910 respectively, are not always experienced as joyful celebrations. For some people the parent/child relationship might have been abusive or estranged and the holiday evokes painful emotions. For others who do have close, loving relationships the holiday is another opportunity to express their love in person, on FaceTime or on Facebook.

After the death of a parent the varied feelings of grief may initially be intense and will need to be processed as part of normal grief. For those with more complicated grief it is hoped the adult child will seek professional counseling to support oneself through this challenging journey. In time one’s feelings hopefully will be a combination of possible sadness, missing and happy memories of having the parent in one’s life.  As a friend recently acknowledged, Mother’s Day for her was “bittersweet”.

And then for some there is gratitude as expressed in this poem recently shared with me.

                    A Prayer For Connections To Remembering A Loved One

Thank you for presenting me with a symbol, a memory, a connection… a smell, a butterfly, a feather, a sunrise, a sunset… Please allow me to be open, aware and vulnerable to see and connect with what is presented. And if I am able to connect … How lucky am I?

– Harriet