Mother’s Day - Joy and Sadness
Donna McLean, Coordinator First Link Outreach, Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia
Mother’s Day can bring out both joy and sadness. We may experience the joy of happy memories, perhaps those being made now, as well as fond memories from the past. Those of us who are mothers may have an opportunity to be enjoyed and appreciated by our children and partners.
Sadness may come with thinking of losses—the mother who has passed away, or the mother who can no longer do what she once could. We can feel grief for those who are no longer with us, and ambiguous grief for those who are here, but are losing some of their abilities. For me, it’s important to embrace and accept all these feelings when I think of Mother’s Day.
My mother lives in a nursing home and has vascular dementia. She can no longer express herself well with words, but she can communicate through body language and gestures. When I think of who my mother was when I was growing up, I think of a capable, hardworking, and generous woman with a great sense of humour. My mother was a nurse who was appreciated by her patients and respected by her colleagues. She had three children of her own, and also acted as a mother to countless friends and relatives.
Today, I think that it’s my turn to do for my mother what she has done for me and so many others—be there for her and bring her joy. When I visit my mother, I give her a big hug and tell her I love her. She loves music, so I bring music she likes to listen to and I sing to her. I hold her hand, do her nails, and style her hair. It’s a joy for me to see my mother respond by relaxing and smiling. We can both appreciate the moment. For me, these times with my mother will form a memory that I can treasure when she is no longer with me.
This Mother’s Day, I will spend some special time with my son and with my mother and sister. Embracing all the feelings associated with Mother’s Day and finding ways to have joy and connection, is, for me, a celebration of the fullness of life.