By: Emily Frank, Full Circle Volunteer and Long Time Supporter

Mother’s Day is always a challenge for my family as I lost my mother when I was 20 years old. She died at 43 as a result of lung cancer leaving behind a husband and 4 children of which I am the oldest. I was away at college and my siblings were at home during her illness. Both of my parents were very busy running their own businesses which after she passed away, my father managed on his own. Work was his way of “coping”.

I desperately needed counseling and I believe it would have been beneficial to my entire family. We were all in different phases of our lives and developmentally, had individual needs.

Children should not be expected to just return to normal. They should be supported in their grief and this is where counseling can make a huge difference. 

My dad was going through grief as an adult and his coping mechanism was going to work and getting everything immediately back to “normal”.  For me, I failed miserably at going back to school 2 days after she was buried and being told to move forward. I needed my constant cheerleader. The person who told me I could do and be anything I wanted. Instead, I made poor choices. 

My grades suffered and I no longer made myself a priority. I didn’t attend classes and used food to self soothe. I gained over a 100 pounds in the year after her death and no one thought to try to help me. I have struggled with my weight ever since. 

As an adult, I have met with counselors over the years to talk through some of the pain that I carry with me today. The loss of a parent affects your entire life for the rest of your life.

Finding a good counselor is imperative to help you through the grief and work through the anger, pain, and all the downstream impacts.

Depression sets in and can take over if you don’t get help from a qualified grief counselor.

On Mother’s Day, and most other days, I think about how proud my mom would be of her children, their spouses, and her amazing grandchildren.  She would have loved all of the sporting events and other activities they are involved in. I get to see a part of her in each one of them. They are all unique but she lives on within them and I feel the joy and pride that she would have felt if she were physically here.  

Loss and grief occur in many ways throughout our lives. Please make sure you take care of yourself and those around you.

Asking for help is a critical step in the healing process.

My mom would have never wanted her death to impact us as it has, but each day is a new opportunity to be the best person I can be. 

Honor your loved one by taking care of yourself and reach out to get the help and guidance you need. I am so grateful for the services that Full Circle Grief Center provides to our community.

You are not alone in this journey. Full Circle is here to help.