Mothers Day Without Charles
by Katie Smith

Over the past three years, I have walked the journey of grief. I will forever miss my Son, Charles. Although I have been on a path of healing, my heart will never be fully mended. There will always be that void in my life, because Charles is not here in life but only in spirit. I haven't really given Mother's Day much thought this year. I've pretty much avoided the thought of that day approaching. However, when the start of Mother's Day weekend began, I could no longer avoid the inevitable...facing another special day without my Charles Christopher. Tears cannot begin to express my loss and heartache. My words cannot begin to express the pain of living life without Charles.

My heart holds those thoughts and emotions dearly.

I am disappointed this Mother's Day. I am not angry but annoyed and hurt by friends that care; yet, they avoid me like the plague on Mother's Day. They do not understand the pain of bereaved parents, because they have not lost a child. I do not wish upon this such grief. I only wish they would understand mine. They would rather put their blinders on to avoid their greatest fear...losing a child. I know deep down that they truly care, but I wish they would acknowledge my parenthood on special days like Mother's Day. Bereaved parents deserve the same acknowledgments as those with living children. We are parents to our precious children. We do things for our children every day. We think of them, we hold them dear to our hearts, just like those with living children. Why can't our loved ones see us as parents?

I ask myself this question not just on Mother's Day but every day.

It would have been nice to have received a Mother's Day greeting card from those friends that say they care. Even better would have been a simple phone call letting me know that they remembered Charles, too.

I did however remind myself that it's not the quantity of acknowledgments, but the quality. My dear Mom, Charles Grandma, gave me two beautiful floral plants. One was from her, and the other was from my Charles. On her Grandson's behalf, my Mom attached a special card to the beautiful calla lilies his loving spirit directed her to get for his Mama. This touching note from Charles stated, "I'm proud to be your Son & always will be proud to have you as my Mom. All My Love, Charles." It made me cry tears of sorrow and joy. I am blessed to have such a thoughtful Mother and a precious angel watching over me, my dear Son. I love them both with all my heart forever and always.

This Mother's Day, My Mom and I participated in an annual Mother's Day event for bereaved families that have lost a baby from any cause. The event takes place at a local hospital. The bereavement coordinator founded the Garden of Angels. It is as beautiful as Heaven. The garden is surrounded and protected by a white picket fence. It has various angel statues and decor that brings a sense of warmth to one's soul. Anyone can plant a rose in a baby's memory in this garden to honor our precious children. My Son has the Peace rose there. We planted it last year at the rededication of this newly renovated garden. A touching prayer and blessing of the angels dedication was read at the ceremony today. After the ceremony, I treated my Mom and I to dinner to celebrate our motherhood. On our way home, my favorite song came on the radio. I don't hear it often, but I do hear it during times when I'm feeling a little down. I think of it as Charles' song: 'I Believe' by Diamond Rio. I feel like Charles is giving me a hug every time I hear this amazing song.

I'd like to offer the following ideas to those missing their children . . .

~ Do not hide your emotions and feelings. If you can't or don't want to talk to anyone about how you're feeling, then write down your thoughts...start a journal. Talk to your loved one's about your wishes of them. If you would like for them to do something special in honor of your precious child, then emphasize those ideas.

~ Honor your child: Plant something like a rose as a living memorial for your baby. If you can't plant it at your home, check with a local park to donate a tree or flower in your child's memory to be planted there for all to enjoy. It's a beautiful gift for your child and you help beautify an area by helping out nature.

~ Take a trip to your local Build a Bear Workshop or visit it on the web at Create a stuffed animal in your child's honor and memory. You can even create a birth certificate for your new furry friend by naming it after your Son or Daughter and use your child's birth date.

~ Create a memory album for your child...scrapbooking is such a wonderful way to honor our children!

I send warm hugs to all bereaved families this Mother's Day and always. You are remembered here at Kota Press. We do care, and we are here to help in any way possible.

Happy Mother's Day and Father's Day to All!



About the Author
Katie Smith is the co-editor of the KotaPress Loss Journal, a working member of Neo Fight, co-founder of the IN MISS Chapter, bereaved mommy to Charles, and so much more. (We at KotaPress are continually grateful for her help and insights!!)

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