There are some very hard truths that I have learned after I lost my mom. The most important being that sometimes even your closest friends and family members will not know what to do or say, and sometimes it can be downright hurtful when you are knee deep in grief.
It is okay to talk about the person who died, and honestly I would encourage it. Bringing up my mom, asking how I am doing that day (especially on a significant day, such as her birthday or Mother’s Day), or talking about a memory of her will not get me upset. The truth is, I am probably already thinking of her, and bringing her up is not going to send me into a downward spiral of despair. Talking about her keeps her memory alive.
I will admit I was guilty of this myself until I lost someone close. Our culture does an extremely poor job at handling grief or honoring loved ones that we have lost.
I recently watched “Coco” with my kids, one of the newest Disney-Pixar films, and ohmyword. First of all, I bawled just as much, if not more than I did at the movie “Up”, and that is saying a lot. The premise of the movie seemed a little strange when I watched the previews, and I was unsure of how my son would handle seeing skeletons. The movie is set in Mexico, on El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Will was entranced by the movie – the colors and the songs were absolutely beautiful. While he did not entirely understand the premise, it was a little over his head for a 3-year old, the adults in the room thought the movie was very well done. It really made me yearn to have a strong heritage like the hispanic culture that was portrayed; the way they honor the dead and keep the traditions of their family alive is beautiful. It is a day of remembrance and celebration; celebrating your heritage, history, and family.
While we do not have a day set aside to celebrate our lost loved ones, Andrew and I have been trying to incorporate a tradition for our family involving my mom. On her birthday, we light a candle on a cupcake or a piece of cake and sing “Happy Birthday”. We also bring out a photo album and look at old family pictures together. While it was difficult to get through the song, it was such a touching moment to see Will singing to his Nana. I am so thankful my husband offered to start this tradition.