Sometimes as mums, I believe we feel as though we should always be in control. No matter what is going on in our hearts or minds or what’s happening around us, it’s kind of assumed that we should be able to keep it together.
When your child is throwing an almighty tantrum in the supermarket aisle, we’re supposed to speak calmly, get down to their level and handle the situation. When you have the flu and your children are vomiting, we should find the Codrals and ‘soldier on’ and if we’re feeling sad, we really need to get it together lest we be tagged with ‘it must be that time of the month’.
Well I say phooey to that – I say that today I’m feeling sad and I’m going to embrace it. Acknowledge why I’m feeling sad and ask for a little mind space to explore the feelings that go with being sad. Because in our world of rush, rush, rush and chin up and being the oh so empowered mum, I sometimes forget to validate how I’m feeling.
There is a week in August where each year I ebb and flow from the happiness of my daughter’s birthday to the sadness of the anniversary of my son’s death 6 days later. Most of you know my story and the story of my second son Noah who died the night we bought our newborn daughter home so I won’t go into the detail here. But to lose a child is I believe the deepest sadness I will ever know and in accepting the sadness, I feel as though it validates him and the fact that the love I have for him will never be diminished just because he is not here for me to care for.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death and it will be hard and sad and tough. I will cry and my other children will hug me tight and say “We know mum, we wish Noah was here too”. And in embracing the sadness, we will momentarily be one tight little hug full of elbows and knees. And then we’ll smile. I’ll tell them a story of something funny that he used to do … and my oldest son will add another of his own. And then we’ll all say goodbye, pile into the car and have dinner at McDonald’s “because that’s what Noah used to love”.
I’ll go to bed and think of him reflectively. And if I’m lucky, my dreams will be a wonderful slideshow of his life. I’ll wake the next morning, thank him for the visit and walk to the shower. My sadness will be remain but, having been allowed to surface as a short-term houseguest, will bid me farewell until another time.
My point in this note is simply to ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL – whether it be sad, deliriously happy or wild. Be true to yourself and allow your feelings in. x
p.s. The image with this note is actually a painting. I painted this in the Winter of 2008 as a reflection on the bond between a Mother and her Son. It was important to me to show the little boy running around on the beach; Noah didn’t walk until late so never got a Summer where he could race around on the beach. In this painting, he’s doing exactly that and has just come back to mum for a quick hug! I found the process of bringing this image to life soothing and commemorative.
What do you when you’re feeling sad? How do you react? Do you think it’s good to show your feelings or do you prefer the ‘stiff upper lip’ strategy?