Sunday Thought May 3, 2015: International Bereaved Mothers’ Day

Today is apparently Mothers’ Day in most parts of the world. Here in the UK, Mothers’ Day is in March. Who sets the dates for these things?

But that doesn’t matter. Today is also International Bereaved Mothers’ Day.

Today’s Sunday Thought is with the latter in mind. The thought comes from Angela Miller, the author of the wonderful I Am The Mother of All Mothers book that my heart and soul really needed so very much.



It is human nature, I think, to offer advice when someone is hurting. It is a kindness, we may think, to make the pain go away, to make the person better. Sometimes it’s appropriate, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The bereaved get a lot of well-intentioned, unsolicited advice. I hate being told what I ‘should’, or ‘should not’ do. Too many times I have had someone talk at me. Perhaps they were trying to comfort me. But what I wanted to do was to tell my story, my way, in my own time.

They have assumed they know how I feel – assumptions based on their own experiences, perhaps, or things they have read.

We all grieve differently, in our own time, in our own way.

There is no right or wrong.

No ‘shoulds’ or ‘shouldn’t’.

As a result, I can be reticent to tell my story face-to-face, especially to people I don’t know, or trust.

Mothers who have lost a child suffer enough. Try not to offer advice if it is not asked for, however well-intentioned it may be.

Just be there.


Hold their hand.

Give them a hug.

Send them a note, a message, a text to let them know you are thinking of them.

Because my world ended when Hugo died. My world has been clouded in the world of grief, a miasma of swirling greys.

Thank you to everyone who has been walking with me, helping me to see in colour again.

I imagine other bereaved mothers hold similar sentiments. If you know such a mother, please hold their hand, too.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Thought May 3, 2015: International Bereaved Mothers’ Day

  1. Mary @TheHeartyLife says:

    Nail on the head once again! This is exactly how I feel…I wish people would just shut it sometimes and listen with their heart and not try to fix anything but rather agree with me on how crap it all is on those days that it feels so flipping rubbish! x


  2. Louise says:

    Leigh, thank you so much for sharing this – the quote you shared seems to sum it all up perfectly. I think many of us are guilty of not knowing what to say and then saying the wrong thing and knowing that we don’t have to say anything, just to be there and listen and give a hug is enough is helpful. Sending a virtual hug your way x


  3. Emma says:

    This is so, so important and you put it so clearly and wisely. All too often people’s words of ‘help’ and ‘comfort’ just end up creating more distance and leave us feeling misunderstood or alienated. We don’t need to hear other people’s thoughts, correcting our own. We just need someone to listen to what this is like for us. That is the thing I have struggled with the most, finding people who are ready to hear me without flinching, without looking away or trying to improve things because they aren’t comfortable with the raw, ugly truth as it is. Thanks for writing this, Leigh. As always, you talk to my heart. X


  4. typhaine says:

    Mother’s day in Canada and the US is next week… who knows what’s going on with those dates?

    I like this image of learning to see colours again, and even more so, the idea that what we need as bereaved parents is for people to walk alongside us on this grief journey. That really speaks to the way i have been learning to function again after Paul’s death.

    (finally, i think there might be a little mistake in your image. I think the 2nd “mouth” should be “heart”…)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Casey Bottono says:

    Hi, Leigh.

    Beautiful post, as always. Different circumstances, but I understand the greyness as well. I find it incredible that this is the first I’ve heard of International Bereaved Mothers’ Day. Says more about the state of the conversation than anything else, I think.

    Take care,


    Liked by 1 person

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