Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 12, 2013

Keeping memories alive on Mother's Day, all year long

Some spend Mother’s Day with their mothers.

Others devote the day to remembering them.

Hospice of Michigan in Traverse City recently held its third annual “Remembering Our Mothers” event. The two-hour program offers the bereaved grief support and time to remember mothers who have died.

“Mother’s Day can be a day to acknowledge the person who nurtured them by remembering and sharing stories,” suggested Kathryn Holl, Hospice of Michigan grief support services manager. “It can be something like lighting a candle or planting a flower, making her favorite food or going to the beach, if that’s something she liked to do.”

Holl said it’s important to acknowledge the relationship, even if it might be painful.

“When someone dies that we love — the woman who nurtured you and imprinted on you — it’s a great severing, no matter the age,” said Holl, who took care of her mother for the last four years of her life. “A lot of people who have lost a mother anticipate Mother’s Day, especially the first one, with trepidation.”

Joan Abbott lost her mom in 1997. She said there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about or remember her mom and her place in her life.

That first Mother’s Day was probably the most difficult. Now Abbott spends Mother’s Day with one of her daughters.

“We reminisce and I honor them being a mother,” said Abbott. “I see it as a kind of honoring the circle, passing it on from one woman to the next.”

Holl agreed that stories are a great way to remember mom.

“They feed us and bring us warmth,” she said.

Loretta Downs, who has been a hospice volunteer for more than 25 years and holds a master’s degree in gerontology, also believes that the first Mother’s Day is the most difficult. Her mission is “to create opportunities for people to talk about death and dying in positive terms.” She was recently a guest speaker in Traverse City talking about end of life issues.

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