Mother's Day is not the easiest days for those people without a mother. There are big signs in every shop shouting at you to buy things for your Mum, giving those of us without Mums daily reminders that we don't have someone to buy these things for.
Even if you learn to deal with that and avoid certain shops or just brace yourself every time you visit the supermarket, it doesn't prevent the harsh wake-up call every time an email pops up on your phone with latest 'Mother's Day offers. It's become such a commercialised event that it really is everywhere.
The Mother's Day after Mum was diagnosed the first time, she was just entering remission, so it was great! We got a fruit basket that looked like a bouquet delivered to her work the Friday before. The company we went through were absolutely fantastic, and we were so lucky to be able to get her something a little different as her taste buds had been knocked out by chemo.
Mother's day 2014, Mum was about a month into diagnosis. We went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is a brilliant place to go. My brothers and I climbed over lots of the sculptures, and we played catch with Dad. Mum was a little slower and had started using a stick. She took a slower walk with my granddad and aunt (I imagine my uncle was with them briefly too but he always gets lost...). Playing catch without Mum was my first hint at what life without Mum might be like, but all in all it was a lovely, family, day.
Last year's Mother's Day, Mum had just got out of her longest and last hospital stint. She's deteriorated rapidly a few weeks preceding it and had ended up in a coma where she had remained for a number of days. Everybody thought she would never wake up, but being as stubborn as she was, she did wake up and in the following weeks she slowly began to get back on her feet with the help of her trusty zimmer frame (which I dutifully yarn bombed on her arrival back home).
A few weeks ago when Mother's Day began to enter the shops, I spoke to a few people about how they dealt with the whole 'motherless Mother's Day' thing. There were a number of suggestions including lighting a candle at home or church, visiting their Mum's grave or the place her ashes were spread, spending time with children or grandparents, or simply having a moment at home remembering the good times they shared.
One suggestion was to have a place online where people could share memories with their Mum. For me, one of the harder parts of Mother's Day, is seeing things Mum would have loved and having nobody to buy them for. So, combining those two ideas, I contacted Yorkshire Cancer Research, the charity who Mum requested donations be sent to at her funeral. With their help, I have set up a page, which can be found here. The idea is that people can come and donate the amount they would have spent on a card for their Mum, and share a memory about the times they shared together.
It's not the same as having a Mum to buy things for, and it doesn't take away the pain of grief, but hopefully, it will help to raise some money for Yorkshire Cancer Research, which could prevent future sons and daughters from experiencing as many motherless Mother's Days.