What do you think of when you think of Mother’s Day? Who do you think of?
I think most of us think about our own mom, or ourselves if we are moms.
That seems pretty natural. It makes sense.
On that one special day just for them each year, we shower them with gifts, give them flowers, take them out to eat, and tell them all day long how pretty they are.
We try to show them that they totally deserve the earned and coveted title of Mom!
We get some serious brownie points for the amount of love we lavish on them that day, right!?
Around here, we have a not so traditional Mother’s Day tradition.
Since discovering my love languages, acts of service and quality time, I get the best Mother’s
Day gift! My son helps me clean up the yard to get ready for one of my favorite times of the year, flowers!
Spending time with my almost 22 year-old son cleaning up flowerbeds overflows my cup with love.
The only thing that could make my day even better would to be eating Edy’s grape popsicles in a vintage camper after our hard days work. A-hem, hemmm.
Moms totally deserve all of this attention!
But I don’t want us to forget about another group of people that I think often get overlooked on Mother’s Day.
These are the people who try to put on a happy face and push down the painful memories of the loss they have experienced.
Do you know any of these people who dread Mother’s Day?
They may have lost their mom to cancer, heart disease, or an accident.
They are the moms who never had a chance to hold their precious babies.
They are the ones who have struggled with infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths.
Perhaps they are the moms whose adoption didn’t go through.
There are also the moms who have experienced the worst thing that could ever happen to a mom.
The death of their child.
My brother, Prentice married Dusti and along with her, he got THE best in-laws. I sort of consider them my in-laws as well. My sister-in-law’s family, simply put, is awesome.
They’re fueled by humor, golf, generosity, and a drawer full of candy. Always. (okay… maybe this is where I became the self-proclaimed in-law).
There is never any drama in that family. They are kind, they have fun, and they love fish fries.
If you met this family, you’d want to be part of it.
Dusti has one sibling, Dawn. Both Dusti and Dawn are people you never forget once you meet them. They shine this spirit that is big. Their personalities are contagious. They are the ones EVERYbody wants to be friends with. The ones who, if you are their friend, you feel like you hit the friend lottery.
And, ummm, I was friends with Dusti before she dated my brother.
But, I digress…
If I could attempt to write a book explaining Dusti’s big sister, Dawn’s larger than life personality, I honestly don’t know if a million pages would be enough. Her gregarious laugh is unmistakable and unforgettable.
Dawn was not born with an inside voice, so you often hear Dawn before you see her. When you meet her, you feel like you’ve known her forever.
I think of Dawn as spunky, fun, loud, matter-of-fact, generous, giving, hard working, fiercely loyal, and the life of the party.
One of my favorite things about Dawn is that she is lovingly known as “Aunt (Ant) Dawnie”.
Every friend of hers who has kids, friends of friends who have kids, Dusti’s friends who have kids, and even my son, call her “Aunt Dawnie”.
When our two amazing nieces came along, she was one proud “Aunt Dawnie”.
Dawn kind of TOTALLY spoiled those girls.
They had 100% of her heart the second she laid eyes on them.
If she isn’t called “Aunt Dawnie”, many know her as “Dawn the Plumber”.
She followed in her Dad’s footsteps and became a plumber, joined the union, got the t-shirt.
For a lack of a better way to say it, Dawn is kick ass!
(or pain in the ass, depending on who you ask.)
Dawn is unforgettable. Dawn is well loved.
Over the last six years when Mother’s Day rolls around, I think a TON about Dusti’s mom, Pauline.
On February 8th, 2011, at the young age of 47, Dawn passed away from breast cancer that had spread throughout her body. It was profoundly sad.
Dawn’s attitude about cancer was amazing!
She had so much love and support surrounding her throughout treatments.
And Dawn had her little sister and her loving mom with her as she took her last breath.
Not surprisingly, she fought hard until the end!
The sheer amount of people who came for Dawn’s memorial was mind blowing. They kept extending the time because there was such a long line waiting to give condolences to the family.
The love for Dawn was heard, seen, and felt that day.
I know she was right there partying along side us, with her infamous, unforgettable Aunt Dawnie laugh.
It’s how Dawn rolled.
Astonishingly, one year after Dawn passed away, Dusti received barely believable, shocking news…
She had breast cancer.
That was the hardest phone call Dusti had to make to her parents.
The diagnosis shook up everyone all over again. It was a different type of breast cancer than Dawn’s. There was no genetic link.
Dawn blazed a trail for Dusti to get in and fight.
Dusti’s brave attitude during this time was not only amazing, it was completely inspiring.
I think often times she lifted us up with her upbeat, always positive email updates more than we lifted her up.
It’s how Dusti rolls.
A thought occurred to me while writing this, and although I didn’t ask, it seems Dusti’s incredible attitude and positivity during her treatments was born from a place of protection.
Where she would do anything in her power to not cause more worry, hurt, or fear for her devastated parents, my brother, and her kids. But, especially for her mom.
She was a mom protecting her mom.
The same year Dusti received her diagnosis, a double mastectomy, and chemotherapy, her friends organized a team to walk in the annual Susan G. Komen Mother’s Day Race For Cure, to honor Dawn’s life, and to celebrate Dusti being a breast cancer survivor! Pauline proudly walks beside her.
I’m happy to report that Dusti is five years cancer free today!!!
This year, I wanted to turn my thoughts of Pauline and others who are hurting during Mother’s Day, into action.
So, with my mom heart totally breaking for her, I asked Pauline some hard questions through lots of tears.
What does Mother’s Day look like for you?
“You try to be happy and appreciative of who is left, but that makes you think of the other, and that she’s never coming back. You try to enjoy the time with Dusti and her family on Mother’s Day, but sometimes it makes it sadder because there’s a constant reminder of Dawn not being here. “
“Someone once told me that it doesn’t matter the age, parents aren’t suppose to bury their children. They’re supposed to bury us. Now I hear it all the time. It’s so true!”
“It’s just a hard, hard thing…….. it’s the worst thing.”
Is there anything that helps you feel better that day?
“I try to escape the sad memories by focusing on the positive and I tell myself that life goes on. Everyone deals with loss differently and there’s no right or wrong way to do it, you just have to do what feels right in your heart. “
One of my missions in talking with Pauline was to gather some insight on ways that all of us can best support, and show love to those around us who are hurting on Mother’s Day.
Pauline brings some very simple clarity on the best way to reach out to those people we don’t want to ignore or cause pain by bringing up the hurt, but who we want to know they’re being thought of and cared about.
“It really depends on how you’re day is going, or how you’re feeling. Sometimes it feels great to know you’re being thought of, but, it can also make you feel more sad to talk about it. I think the best way is to send a note so they can read it when it feels the most comfortable to them instead of a phone call or visit that could catch them off guard. “
So, are there any hurting Moms or hurting people who have lost their Mom, surrounding you that you could love up this week? It’s as easy as sending a note!
Co-workers, friends, relatives, parents on your kids soccer team, your hairdresser, mail carrier, yoga instructor, pastor, boss?
Can you even imagine what that small gesture of love could do for one of those people who are hurting this Mother’s Day??
I say we go for it.
Let’s step outside our comfort zone, and encourage these people this week!
Let’s not be afraid to love.
I would LOVE it if you came back with any responses you receive or any thoughts you’d like to share regarding this topic, in the comments below.
K Kay Designs is more than a jewelry brand.
Its mission is to spread as much encouragement, love and joy as possible into this world.
Together we can start a movement by just paying attention to the people around us.
Be a light!
Give them a smile!
Show them some love!
When you’re on your deathbed someday, I guarantee you will NEVER regret the encouragement, love, and joy you gave to someone.