“It’s an intense pain” … Mother’s and Father’s Day, days that are not always happy

“As Mother’s Day approaches, I don’t wonder what I could give her, but rather what flowers I will put on her grave. For Anna, as for many others, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, scheduled for June 4 and 18 respectively this year, are very difficult times. Deceased, absent or toxic parent, people wishing for a child who do not have one or who have lost it… These days often recall the painful absence. This is the case of Emine, 41, who lost his 78-year-old father “suddenly last year, on Father’s Day. Over time, the pain becomes more bearable, but its absence remains etched in our hearts forever. I am very apprehensive about the arrival of Father’s Day this year, because this day is and will remain for me and my family synonymous with intense pain. »

This sadness, Anna also experiences it every year since her mother died, when she was 17 years old. “As Mother’s Day approaches, it is impossible to ignore it given the amount of advertisements and publications posted on social networks. It’s hard since I will no longer post a new photo of my mother and me embracing, ”says the 26-year-old young woman sadly. Despite the pain, there is no question of running away from this difficult day: “Every mother deserves to be celebrated, whether on Earth or in heaven. So, on Sunday, I’ll go and lay a bouquet of peonies on her grave and, if I don’t speak to her out loud, I’ll speak to her with my heart, I’ll tell her that I’m proud of her and that I thank her for to have been there as long as she could. »

“Ads make my guts spin”

In addition to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in themselves, the weeks preceding them can also be a test for people who no longer have one of their parents. “The advertisements and leaflets that are full of different objects with the words ‘Happy Birthday Mom’ or ‘Mom I love you’ stir my guts, because these are phrases that I will never be able to say to her again”, says Patricia, 59 years old, who lost his mother “twenty-seven years ago, victim of a feminicide”.

A feeling shared by Christine, 57, whose father died on April 28. “As soon as I see a book, a T-shirt, a cap, a cake in a pastry chef’s window, the posters of the exhibition on Ramses… in short, a gift that would have pleased him, I am overwhelmed by the sorrow because I will no longer be able to offer it to him wishing him “Happy birthday my little daddy whom I love”. I throw away all the fliers and e-mails where I see the word “party”, and I no longer walk around the mall where I work during my lunch hour for fear of starting to cry at the sight of the word “father”. ”. »

Virginie, who is about to experience her “first Mother’s Day since the death of [sa] mum”, for her part, bears a moved eye on the avalanche of communication around these days: “I look with tenderness at the advertisements and I hope that people will take advantage of their chance to have this person still with them. »

“Mother’s Day is reserved for those who are worthy of it”

Mourning all the more difficult to do when added to complicated relationships with the other parent, as experienced by Alix *, 54 years old. “My mum passed away at the end of 2022, after a long illness. My relationship with my father had deteriorated greatly during this period, to such an extent that I had to mourn several times: two for my mother (during her Alzheimer’s and after her death), and that of my parent, given that he no longer considers me as one of his children. So double trouble for me: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are no longer celebrated for my parents this year. Having four children from 14 to 26 years old, we meet around a table for lunch on these Sundays to celebrate mine anyway. »

Mother’s and Father’s Days are also very trying for people who have been victims of abuse and abusive parents, like Catherine. The 50-year-old sums up her childhood “to a hell of brooms, belts and endless humiliations” and describes her mother as someone “destructive and toxic”. She made the choice not to celebrate Mother’s Day, which for her is reserved for “those who are worthy of it. Of course I have a twinge in my heart, but what should I do? I can’t change anything, neither the past nor my mother. So I go with my children who are happy to have a mother. »

“I would like people to recognize my status as a mother”

If children are a bandage for some people, their absence is, for others, a source of great suffering. “My two babies died, one at 1 month, the other during pregnancy, for two different medical reasons, describes Madeline, 32 years old. Mother’s Day is a complicated step for me because no one thinks of me that day: I no longer have my children with me but I am a fully-fledged mother. I would like people to recognize my status as a mother, I carried my children, I gave birth twice, and even if unfortunately I don’t have my children at home, I am a mother. Mother’s Day reminds me that I am excluded from traditions. »

This feeling of exclusion, Vera, 49, knows it well. She chained miscarriages after losing her mother. For her, “the worst thing is the feeling of being isolated in this case. Around me, complete and happy families. With my husband, we form a united and solid couple but we are necessarily on the sidelines…” She made the choice, this year, to clear her mind on this particular Sunday: “I am a volunteer at the SPA, I will spend the day with my furry friends. »

*Name has been changed

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