Remembering mum on Mother’s Day
Not all of us will be able to celebrate Mother’s Day in the way we wish we could. Some people will experience the day without their mum or child for the first time and others will struggle through the day like they have for many years. While the day will bring different emotions for each individual, it is important to grieve your loss and take the time to cherish the memories.
Rhonda Edmunds was 56 years old when she died from lung cancer. For daughter Michelle Barnes, living with her grief for the past eight years has taught her to reflect on the good times she spent with her mum and cherish Mother’s Day every year in her honour.
“We have a Mother’s Day ritual where I grab a rose from my rose garden and take it to the crematorium where she is. I take a miniature bottle of Jack Daniels and pour it around the rose bush where she is because it was her favourite drink.
“I have my own little moment with her and if I take my daughter, we say our little Buddhist blessing to mum and enjoy the moment.
“I think it is important to create your ritual and take the time to breathe and reminisce. I always surround myself with friends and family and people who are important to me and my mum’s life,” Ms Barnes said.
While losing a loved one is one of the hardest things many of us will ever face, Michelle manages her grief by talking about her mum openly and doing the things she loved.
“We all talk about mum still, probably more so than when she was around.
“We sing and dance to some of her favourite songs and we know she would be dancing with us.
“We have a special candle that we also light which makes us feel a deeper connection with her when we walk past,” Ms Barnes said.
Having four children of her own, Michelle admits the one thing she misses most about her mum is her love and support with parental guidance.
“Now that three of my four children have grown up, I miss talking to mum about parenting matters. Because I am a parent myself, I have so much more understanding of how things must have been like her for and how difficult life was.”
Rhonda sadly died when Michelle was pregnant with her fourth child. From this, a deep connection developed between her child and her mum even though they never physically met.
“The day mum was told that her cancer had spread to her brain and it was going to take her quickly, she said ‘one girl goes and another one is coming’. Two days after Mum passed away we found out we were having a girl.
“My daughter feels so connected to mum yet she hasn’t physically met her. She will have moments where she tells me how much she misses Grandma Rhonda. The two have never met her but she can feel her and she knows mum is with us,” Ms Barnes said.
Palliative care supported Rhonda with quality care towards the end of her life. Michelle and the family were able to farewell Rhonda in the way they wanted and were extremely grateful for the palliative care team.
“The palliative care team at Wesley Hospital in Brisbane were amazing in the way they orchestrated everything and it was just an incredible experience.”
“We were all able to say our goodbyes and have our alone time with her to say the things we wanted to say. We are just so grateful to the team,” said Ms Barnes
From Michelle’s experience with her mum and her palliative care team, Michelle decided to enrol in university to become a registered nurse to help people in the way the nurses helped her mum.
“When mum passed away, I thought – wow if could help other patients and families the way they helped my mum and me, then that would be incredible.
“From the whole experience with mum, I now have a strong interest in the palliative care area and I am really excited to finish my degree so I can help others through their tough times,” Ms Barnes said.
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