Saturday Morning Message: Mother's Day Activities
Author: Carol Lane
Sometimes watching the sun go up or go down can be the most relaxing thing we can do to take care of ourselves. This week several survivors shared what they did on Mother’s Day to honor themselves and those who served as mothers as they grew up. Now we just turn around and it will be Memorial Day very soon. Since this might be a stressful month, I thought I would share a list about how to set boundaries when you are grieving. The list comes from an article written by Audri Beugelsdijk, the TAPS vice president for survivor services, that is titled Setting Boundaries While Grieving.
In the midst of our grief, how can we ensure we are taking care of ourselves by laying healthy boundaries, even when doing so can elicit feelings of guilt or fear? Some considerations for you as you think through setting your own boundaries:
- Be aware of your own needs.
- Recognize which people or situations drain your energy or trigger negative emotions.
- It’s OK to say no, and without apology, if it is in your best interest.
- Let or ask others to help, without guilt.
- Be protective of your time and try not to overcommit yourself.
- Remember that you are not responsible for other people’s problems.
- Advocate for yourself if you feel your boundaries have been crossed.
- Know that boundaries are for your protection, not to punish others or push them away.
- Be direct when expressing your needs, without confrontation.
- Approach boundary setting with love and respect for yourself.
Mother of Bryon
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
Next week most of the TAPS staff will be at the 24th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, so the May 26 message will be a combination of responses from the Saturday Morning Message archives. The question this week will run for two weeks so you will have plenty of time to answer. The answers to this question will appear in the June 2 edition of the Saturday Morning Message. The question is: What is a favorite recipe that comes to mind when you think of your hero? The answer can be a recipe of yours or one your loved one used. We look forward to your responses.
♫ Song for the Week
As Memorial Day comes closer, I want to share words from a speaker named Darcie Sims who spoke at the TAPS National Survivor Seminar in 2012. Although she has died, I will always remember her wisdom. She was the first person who told me that it is all right to laugh as well as cry while grieving. The song of the week is from one of her quotes, Thanks for the Little While.
Answers from Survivors
Last week’s question: What did you do to honor your mother or yourself on Mother’s Day?
From Sandra, mother of Joshua: I had a Mother's Day breakfast in the morning. I put in my order in the morning. You have to be bossy or assertive to get anything in this household. I started off with a cup of strong, hot coffee followed by scrambled cheese eggs, bacon, buttery grits, and toast. I would rather go to Galveston, but I can go another day. Yes, it is my day, but everyone in my household except for me detests the warm sun and sand between their toes. I will read some of my novel called No Time To Blink by Dina Silver. I love to read books. However, it has been very difficult to focus this last year, but I am quite hopeful because I just finished reading a book the other day. I also plan on coercing my youngest son into walking a nearby trail with the promise of a Taco Bell Triple Cheese Melt Big Box.
I plan to honor my mother by eating and sharing a Hershey's chocolate candy bar, drinking a Diet Coke in a can with a straw, and wearing a purple shirt if I can find one. My mother was a wonderful mother. She was cute and short and had to have her hair done every week at the "beauty parlor." My mom had the cutest Southern drawl and was so sweet. But every once in a while, that Irish temper would flare, and look out everybody! I lost my mom right after Christmas in 2015. I lost my stepdad a few months later.
My oldest son, Josh, was at his grandmother's funeral, and watched over his younger brother with tender loving care. He was having trouble with his hand. He flew back to Washington and shortly after, was diagnosed with brain cancer. I lost Josh a year later. His grandparents would have been devastated by his death if they had still been alive. He was their oldest grandchild.
Although I am really sad that Josh was not with us on Mother's Day, I must celebrate the day for my other son. I put on a happy smile for my younger son. Jordan was excited. He bought me some cookies and some chocolate. I had a beautiful breakfast, read a book, took a peaceful walk on the trail, and ate sweet treats.
From Merry, mother of Wesley: Gee, this year was the PITS!!!! I did not fare completely well. The weather was very rainy and dreary and a little cold. I think I'm beginning to grieve through tears and feelings and thoughts. The journey is really different since I'm beginning to embrace these items. Up to now, I think my brain has protected all these thoughts until I was safe to approach them. On the positive side, my heart can sing again, feel again, and love again.
What I actually did to honor my mother. My biological mother died when I was a toddler. My stepmother, who was a fantastic woman, has been gone since l998. My oldest sister, who was 16 years older than I, and such a guiding "mom" in my life, has been deceased since 1991. My other sisters - both older - are in ill health and I did not take the time to call them on Saturday - ahead of the real day. They both have big families where they live. I do not. It would be a reminder of the big contrast.
I bought plants to bring life to my garden. I went to church, which was great, but we saw a video of what moms think about themselves, and then saw their children talk about how great they really are. Lots of us were in tears. A few weeks ago, I wanted to sit down and write a positive letter from my boys to myself. What would they say if they could or would write to me? The video in church really hit home since I was in that vein of thinking. I've been in tears ever since, and am weeping as I write this.
I am continuing to take care of myself. I will go for a massage this week, plant more flowers, work in the garden, think about Wes as I always do, and keep in touch with Eric. He was an absolute gem to remember me and we talked on the phone. He also sent me an e-card for the movies. I think I will see Solo and The Book Club when they begin this week.
If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. I am always looking for questions for future messages. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing email@example.com. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the week’s Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send your response to me by Tuesday morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.