Mother’s Day has to be one of the worst days of the year if you have already lost, or are in the midst of losing, your mom.

Wherever you go, there are reminders that your mom isn’t here or soon won’t be, ads for what gifts you should buy her, reminders to get her cards and flowers, discounts on the hottest restaurants. There are radio promotions, TV commercials; even your friends are talking about what they’re doing or what their kids plan to do for them! For those without the presence of their real mom (and that includes adopted kids), Mother’s Day and the weeks preceding it can be some of the loneliest, most agonizing, miserable moments of the year.

In my book, Your Legacy of Love: Realize the Gift in Goodbye, I refer to such holidays as “Lonely Landmarks,” joyful days that may once have been preceded by a sense of expectation and excitement, filled with fun and laughter, and shared with the people we love. They were rites of passage, uniting family and friends in celebrations, creating treasured memories that brightened our lives.

Yet for the bereaved, these festive times can take on a whole new meaning. They can easily become the cause for suffering. The cards, presents, gifts and phone calls received by others often serve as a painful reminder that they won’t be getting any such thing from the person who has gone. These celebrations are no longer something to get excited about; instead, they emphasize the absence of a loved one, bringing back painful memories and magnifying the sense of separation–instead they become Lonely Landmarks.

Each Lonely Landmark will, in time, be less of a reminder of the loss. As the years pass, the bereaved begin to adjust to their new life, building new relationships and forming fresh memories, which will help to make those special occasions easier to bear.  Eventually, these events will be a cause for celebration again, and the bereaved will find they experience joy, excitement and laughter once more.  Nevertheless, there will still be days when they experience a resurgence of grief.

So what do you do about the times in-between? And what can you do to help someone who has lost his or her mom and will inevitably be having a tough day?

Talking is great. Remembering is healing. Expressing emotions is powerful. Don’t sit at home alone and suffer in silence. Plan to spend the day with someone who really understands what you are going through, perhaps someone else who lost their mom too, and together you can comfortably share memories, cry, express feelings and do something special to honor the contribution your moms made to your life. Whatever you do, don’t pretend that all is OK when it’s not, just for the sake of everyone else. This will leave you feeling miserable and make the day so much worse.

Something I like to do each year is write my mom a note, as if she were here. I write a description of the memories from previous Mother’s Days (they always ended up in family arguments, a picnic in the rain–I was bought up in England–and I’m sure my mom was left wondering why on earth she ever had kids!) and how these memories have added to my life, and a message of love; then I tie this to a helium balloon and release it somewhere, skywards.

If you know someone who has already lost their mom or is about to, the best thing you can do is take some time out to just be with them, or ask them to share their feelings. Don’t be scared if you unblock their cork and they start sobbing, or screaming–this is healthy. Better out than in as the old adage goes. It may not seem like it at the time, but this will help them to feel much better in the long run, encouraging them towards a healthy recovery. Again, ask them if there is something special they would like to do to celebrate their Mom.

One last thing, I highly recommend Hope Edelman’s book, Motherless Daughters, for any woman who has lost her Mom, and with Father’s Day fast approaching, I also recommend Neil Chethik’s book, FatherLoss, for men who’ve lost their dad.

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Gemini Adams

Gemini Adams

Gemini Adams, E-RYT, C-TREP - is a trauma specialist, yoga teacher and award-winning author who is passionate about unraveling the shadowy “stuff” that sits behind our suffering to bring relief and restore an authentic state of well-being to mind, body, heart soul. In the role of educator, Gemini has mentored and taught classes and workshops to adults, at-risk teens, children, the bereaved, the elderly and special needs groups on a variety of transformative, health and wellbeing topics as well as the creative writing and publishing process. 

Knowing from personal experience how trauma impacts the present moment, causing frustration, disruption, robbing us of inner-peace, health and the ability to “be” who we truly are. Gemini began practicing yoga, meditation and seeking transformative tools in her early 20’s to recover from her own trauma's — school bullying, parent’s divorce, boyfriend rape, substance abuse, and her mother dying from cancer at a young age. A Somatic Trauma Resolution (STR) and advanced TRE® practitioner, she draws on 20 years of trainings and certifications with the Trauma Center Justice Resource Institute, Trauma Prevention, CRUSE Bereavement Care, the Tony Robbins Leadership Academy, the NFSH, the Health Wave Institute and studies with Ray Castellino, Sharon Porter, Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. David Bercelli, Dr. Betty Martin and Dr. Diane Pool Heller. Gemini is a trauma-informed Yoga Alliance registered E-RYT teacher with over 800 hours of yoga study with Sivananda, Sri Dharma Mittra, YogaBugs™ and many of California's leading teachers, including Saul David Raye, Govindas of Bhakti Yoga Shala, Sianna Sherman, Micheline Berry, Shiva Rae Mark Whitwell. 

Combining her passion for changing lives with her love of exploring different cultures, Gemini has facilitated youth, mental health, environmental and social impact projects in Africa, Peru, China, Poland, England and the USA, with The Red Cross, Raleigh International, Personal Overseas Development (POD) The Tony Robbins Foundation and The Temple of the Way of Light. 

She is also the creator of Womb*Sense — a fusion of yoga, somatic experiencing and sensual movement — which she’s taught to hundreds of women across four continents. Held in the safety and solidarity of sisterhood, women are guided to shake out pains of the past, freeing trauma from their bodies and wombs, to essence, open to pleasure and their heart’s desires.

Gemini currently works with the Center for Relational Healing, a trauma and addiction recovery center in Los Angeles, where she also has a private practice offering one-on-one sessions with somatic experiencing and shamanic practice to overcome relational neglect, abuse, sexual assault, incest, bullying, CPTSD, PTSD, low self-esteem, unresolved grief or trauma, depression, anxiety and to integrate journeys with plants or psychedelics. A recipient of the prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, she writes for Open to Hope and the Huffington Post and is the author of several bestselling books, including Your Legacy of Love: Realize the Gift in Goodbye and The Facebook Diet, which have been published in multiple languages and featured on The Today Show, the BBC, The Huffington Post, Reuters. Also, her freelance healthy living articles have been published in Medium, Women’s Health, Red, BOOM, Live It Natural, and You’ll find her popping in to teach at retreats, festivals, conferences around the world, relaxing at a spa or hot-springs, shopping at a local farmers market, dancing under the moon or creating mischief and magic with family and friends. Gemini was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart,” where she discussed 'Lasting Memories of Our Parents' with hosts Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley. 
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