Mother’s Day, a time to sit back and be spoilt by your glorious offspring, your pride and joy. A day to reflect on how much love you have for them and how much they bring to your life every second of every day, and a moment to be so grateful to them for giving you the most cherished title of being their Mum.
But what happens when that title changes to being a bereaved mum.
I lost my daughter Holly just before Mother’s Day 2020 and I’ve joined a bereaved mum’s club that I never signed up for, or wanted to be a part of. My Hol was born with palliative care needs, I knew and was told for all of her life to always think about how you want to say goodbye and what the perfect ending would look like for her and us as a family. Despite this, nothing can or ever will prepare you for when that moment comes, and I have learned that there isn’t any ‘perfect’ in losing and having to say goodbye to your child.
I used to push the thoughts that my Hol may not be with me forever to the back of my mind as I would reach another Mother’s Day with her. I would breathe a sigh of relief that we were still together. But each year this momentous day was always tainted with a desperation to make it perfect because she might not make it to the next one and it could be our last together.
Holly couldn’t ever tell me how much she loved me, and my heart ached to hear her say those words every Mother’s Day. She couldn’t ever run up the stairs holding some flowers, bringing me a tray of soggy toast and cold tea that she had lovingly made all by herself for me. As hard as I tried there was always slight envy when I would watch the day unfold on social media or in the press and realise how my mum and daughter relationship was so unique and different from everyone else’s.
But as the years went by those things began to become less and less important to me. My Hol didn’t need to do all this to let me know she loved me because she would tell me every second of every day with the most powerful eyes I’ve ever seen in my life. I wasn’t only Holly’s mum, I was her carer, her nurse, her doctor, her physio, her occupational therapist, her everything because unlike most mums, my days with my daughter Hol were spent primarily keeping her alive.
Hol was my life, she gave me my identity and I only truly realised this after I lost her. She instilled so much in me. I watched in awe of her bravery every day as she would overcome the impossible. Hol had an inner determination and tenacity to live and she fought so hard to live life to the max. Hol set the benchmark and achieved so much at the same time as being faced with so many struggles and barriers. We were a team, Hol & I and together we were able to break down so many of these barriers. It Was Hol’s strength that fuelled me to be her biggest advocate and no.1 fan and help her achieve the impossible.
Being Hols mum was the greatest privilege I could have ever wished to have and my love for her was the purest unconditional love that could ever be.
So maybe that explains this continuous agonising pain I have running through my veins since you went to sleep Hol.
People say your tears represent your love and I could fill the Atlantic Ocean a million times over with my love for you Hol since you left me.
I’m so scared facing Mother’s Day without you this year, I’m going to miss going in to wake you up, my card being balanced on your bed and opening it up to reveal your perfectly imperfect little feet prints painted inside, your very own signature.
I would love to erase Mother’s Day now as it feels so wrong me being here and you in Heaven. I will stay strong for my other children because I am their mum too. I adore and admire them so much for the courage they have shown their whole life, helping to care for their sister and now trying to learn to live without her. Holly was the centre of our world and the impact of losing her is too painful to even try to articulate.
Some people say Hol is in a better place now, but I beg to differ because there is no better place on earth that she could be than in her mother’s arms on Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all bereaved mums out there, we may not have our babies with us, we are still their mums and they will always be with us because no matter how great the distance between us and them, our love will always be tucked closely in the most special part of our broken but full hearts.
I am going to try my best to smile through the pain on Mother’s Day and think about all the precious memories that Hol and I created in her little life together. I know the greatest gift I could get on Mother’s day would be to have a ladder to climb the steps of Heaven and give my Hol the biggest kiss and tell her I love her one more time. If only Mother’s day wishes could come true.
Sending my love to all bereaved mums today and every day. Our bond with our precious children in heaven doesn’t change. So please try and enjoy some moments of your day and remember how incredible you are as a mum and that nothing will ever change that. You will always be their mum and they will always be your precious child.