24/03/2017 13:02 GMT | Updated 25/03/2018 06:12 BST

Celebrating Mother's Day Without A Mother

When I was a child, Mother's day always confused me a little bit. I'd grown up not having my mom around and that was just completely normal for me, so when this particular day came around where my loss was so blatantly brought to light, I often felt a little bit out of place. I honestly can't remember ever being predominantly distraught or angry or bitter; maybe a little bit, but mainly just confused. I used to occasionally give a card and a little present to my Nan but it was never quite the same, and it didn't really make sense to me back then why I couldn't just enjoy the day like everybody else. Sadly, this is the way that it is for a large amount of children who have lost a parent on days like these, whether they have memories of them or not. It can be both bewildering and isolating. Even as a fully grown adult, I still struggle a little bit when Mother's day comes around. I mean, yes, it is inevitably always going to be upsetting but, more than anything else, I never quite know what to do with myself. So, really, is there even a point in acknowledging it at all?

Actually, yes. I think there definitely is. Recognising and appreciating people who have acted as a mother figure is definitely valid and actually quite important. It doesn't always have to be about your biological mother or your own flesh and blood. I think that's definitely your call. For me, though, I still want to use Mother's day as I would have done if she was alive. I love her and I appreciate her and I want to express all of that, even if she's been gone for twenty two years. After all, it is Mother's day, and she is my mother. Why should the fact she's passed on have to change that? And of course I know that it is much more complex than that. I have spent every single mother's day since I can remember feeling sad and isolated and like somebody has kicked me in the guts. I can't lie to you and say that that has completely gone away, and I don't know if it ever will, but I've also spent a lot of time just kind of sat by myself thinking: she wouldn't want me to feel like this. I need to find a positive in this day, so I'm going to change something.

So, how exactly am I doing that? Well, Mother's day for me is probably a little different from yours, but this is what I typically like to do. For starters, I take social media in small doses. I am genuinely so happy to see other people having such wonderful and loving relationships with their mothers, but a tonne of it all at once can inevitably be a little overwhelming and triggering whether I like it or not. So, I have to sometimes just take some time out and absorb small amounts at different times. Although, please, never stop gushing about how fantastic your mother is in fear of how people like me might react; she deserves it, and I would do the exact same thing if I could. I mean, I guess I still do in a way.

Something I also like to do is watch the old videos I have of her. The ones of her on her wedding day, being beautiful and hilarious getting ready in the morning, as well as her with me when I was born. Despite being so unbelievably ill, she held me and played with me and gave me all of the love and happiness she possibly could have in such a tiny space of time. How can I not be grateful for that? How can my heart not be completely full knowing that this woman gave me life? I like to listen to her favourite music. I know for a fact that she had an undying love for Bon Jovi, so they are usually always my go to. It does also help that Bon Jovi are absolutely incredible so, thanks, mom!

More than anything, though, I look after myself. I try to eat well, take care of my mental health, put time and effort into the things that I love, because I know that's the best gift I could've given to her; just to live my life and to be happy. It's a major work in progress, but I know that even when I have days where I don't want to do it for myself, I should do it for her. So, although Mother's day may be a weird one for me; I don't want to just let it remind me of what I don't have. I don't want to feel miserable and lonely and like I can't do anything or go anywhere. I want to remember how lucky I am to have had her in my life in the first place, if only for four months, and for that to be enough. It's always going to be difficult; in fact, it's really, really hard, but I'm willing to try.