21/03/2017 12:57 GMT | Updated 22/03/2018 05:12 GMT

What's Mother's Day Like When You've Lost Your Mum?

Dougal Waters via Getty Images

There's no avoiding Mother's Day. It's near impossible to sidestep the pastel-coloured supermarket displays overflowing with chocolates, special offer Prosecco and Dirty Dancing DVDs. And even if I manage to navigate the weekly shop without so much as a Belgian chocolate seashell, my email inbox isn't so kind. Never ones to let a marketing opportunity pass them by, my favourite brands have been bombarding me for weeks, telling me to "Keep mum about our Mother's Day gifts" and "Treat your mum this Mother's Day".

But if I can make it through all the other days in the year without my mum then why is this one random Sunday any different? Mother's Day is just another day on the calendar isn't it? But somehow, it's not. For me, there are three main reasons why it's such a difficult time of year:


1. #AWKS

A mild wave of panic washed over me as the shop assistant started making a beeline for me. I'd just overheard the "We have a great Mother's Day promotion on at the moment speech she'd given to another customer and I couldn't face her giving me the spiel too. I didn't want her to tell me the perfume came with free gift wrap, or that she was sure my mum would love it.

Why? Not, as you might think, because it was a tragic reminder of watching my mum slowly slip away to cancer. No, it's because I couldn't handle how awkward it would be for us both if I had to explain the perfume wasn't for my mum. I didn't want see her nervous reaction if I told her I don't need to buy a present because my mum is dead. But nor did I want to fake smile and play along with the charade, when I was really buying the perfume for myself.

2. I should be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky)

Mother's Day is prime Facebook fodder. It's the perfect excuse to Instagram photos of flowers, tweet quotes about the world's best mum and Snapchat the family together at Sunday lunch. And, well, I get jealous. I get jealous that I'm missing out and I get jealous I can't celebrate with my mum. But more than anything, I get jealous of people's nonchalance - do they realise as they write their post how lucky they are to be able to give their mum a hug and tell her that they love her?

3. Forgetting to forget

With so much advertising around Mother's Day, every now and then I'll have a fleeting moment of forgetfulness, swiftly followed by a huge moment of remembering. I've lost count of the amount of times I've caught myself thinking "I must remember to get some flowers for mum for Mot..... Oh, wait!" or seeing a Mother's Day card and thinking "Haha!  That one's so funny, I'll get that for m... Oh, wait!" These moments are a cruel reminder that I still haven't quite made the adjustment. They never let me forget that my brain still hasn't quite processed the fact that she's not around. 

So what's the answer?

The first Mother's Day without my mum, I wanted to ignore anything and everything to do with it. But as time goes on, to not mark the day seems a waste. I suppose it comes down to one question: Is there still a purpose to Mother's Day once your mum has gone?

I'm beginning to realise that, yes, there is. It's still not a welcome date in my diary, but I'm slowly able to leave behind some of the sadness the day brings with it. So this year, I'm going to use Mother's Day as an opportunity to celebrate the fact that I'm the daughter of someone amazing. I've decided to treat myself over the weekend - not just for me, but for my mum too - It's my little way of celebrating the bit of me that is her.