Losing a mother can certainly take its toll on anyone's life, but it is an especially trying experience when a person's mother has given her life for her children. In such situations, guilt is bound to be one of the first responses, especially if the children "ghost" the mother, in other words if they turn their backs or ignore anything that might remind them of the loved one they have lost. This article will explore what one can do in order to cope with the emotions associated with surviving such a life-changing loss and adhere to the mother's legacy—the ultimate sacrifice she made in the name of love.
It can be difficult enough to process through the various stages of grief without having guilt as an additional burden. The guilt that accumulates in this kind of situation stems from a strong belief that the children should repay their mother for the ultimate sacrifice she has made for them and, therefore, this debt should not be taken lightly. As much as some would like to deny the presence of such feelings, such is the power of guilt that it tends to seep into the consciousness of those affected. It may include the idea that the children failed to protect their mother during her lifetime, leaving them questioning why did they survive and she had to give her life and why are they not doing more to honor her memory afterwards. The answer to these questions can be as simple as this—because life is unfair, and sometimes our circumstances and choices are beyond our control.
Although it is impossible to alleviate these feelings of guilt all at once, there are steps one can take to mitigate them. First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge the natural passing of time and its part in helping one comes to terms with such an overwhelming experience. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be seen as an excuse to simply forget about the losses that have occurred; rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to remember the beloved mother who was taken away too soon.
Another crucial way to manage through difficult grief is thoughtfully making sure to connect with the mother's legacy. Experiencing sadness is one thing but turning it into something meaningful and empowering is another. One can do this by finding ways to remember the mother. Examples include, but are not limited to, joining organizations in her memory, volunteering for causes she valued, or simply talking about her and sharing stories with others. It can also be helpful to find creative ways to celebrate her life every now and then, such as setting aside a day to tell stories about her, honoring her by collecting pictures from family and friends, lighting a candle, etc. Doing so will not only help one remain connected to her memory and identify positive traits worth celebrating, but it will also serve as a reminder of the unconditional love the family has lost.
Most importantly, it may be beneficial to remember that while ghosting the mother in a sense may temporarily provide a sense of relief, long-term solutions should be constantly sought. It is okay to take a break and grieve, however, closure is essential for healing and for allowing the family to adjust to a "new normal". This can be done in a myriad of ways, from building a shrine in tribute to the mom, writing a letter expressing all the emotions one is feeling, or simply seeking out a trusted therapist to talk about it.
The goal should be to overcome the guilt associated with the mother's ultimate sacrifice, remember her legacy, honor her through loving memories, and continue committing to celebrate her life. Although it may still be hard to come to terms with the departure of a treasured person, it is important to recognize that the mother's love was still very much present in the lives of her children, and the possibilities to remember her are essentially endless.