Have you ever wished you had a huge remote and could fast-forward through something? A tedious conversation, or maybe the perky dental hygienist with a terrifying tray of metal weapons? I have.

Mother’s Day isn’t supposed to be on that list, is it? For anyone missing your mother this year, or maybe you’re a mom missing your beloved child, you know what I’m talking about. It’s inescapable — hourly reminders of happy moms and children everywhere you turn. If you’re considering pulling the percale sheets over your head and waking up Monday, you’re not alone.

I remember the first Mother’s Day after losing my mom. It was impossible to imagine the day without her in the picture. It’s been a few years now and the intense emotion has faded, but not without a few tears along the way. Here are a few thoughts that might help you this week:

* Make a plan. Don’t let the day sneak up on you. Tell someone close how you’re feeling, and ask for help planning a strategy of where you want to be, and how you plan to spend your day. If you decide to be with family and friends or want to get away for a day or two, making a plan can help.

* Buy yourself a gift. Whether it’s a gorgeous flower arrangement or a trip to Tahiti, know that it’s okay to do something kind for yourself. Your loved one would be honored to know you’re smiling.

* Say what you need to say. Getting thoughts out on to paper is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Write a letter to the person you’re missing. Thank them for the difference they made in your life. Talk about the things they left you-not tangible gifts, but things more like your sense of humor, musical ability, or even unconditional love. Gifts of the heart can never be taken away from you.

If you’re a mom grieving a child this Mother’s Day, I know of some very kind people who understand. Look around on this website, or visit The Compassionate Friends.

If your mom and your children are still close by, don’t forget to tell them how much you love them! You’ll never regret it.

Beth Marshall

Beth Marshall is a freelance journalist, speaker and author of two grief-related books. Grief Survivor, 28 Steps toward Hope and Healing; and A Time to Heal, a grief journal. After losing three close people in her life, Beth felt crushed and overwhelmed by the intense emotions of grief. As she began to write about her "uniquely awesome" family members, Marshall eventually began to smile again- and even laugh. Her hope is to help others discover joy-filled life after loss.

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