All I want for Mother's Day is my mum

11 days ago
Gemma Sherlock belongs to a club no one wants to be part of and ahead of Mothering Sunday she talks about the challenges she faces following her mother's ...

Gemma Sherlock belongs to a club no one wants to be part of and ahead of Mothering Sunday she talks about the challenges she faces following her mother's death

Gemma Sherlock, with her mum, Tina.

Gemma Sherlock, with her mum, Tina

There’s no greater love than that of a mother.

We celebrate our mothers every year, coming together to honour that love, cherish those memories and make new ones along the way. But what if you don’t have a Mother?

Either by choice or by a situation that’s beyond control, there are millions of people without a Mother. I am one of them.

I belong to the club nobody wants to belong to, the motherless-daughter group. I wear the badge with a heavy heart, and have done for two years. I wasn’t invited nor did I choose this path, it chose me.

In 2023, Mother’s Day in the UK falls on March 19th, a day that will be one of the happiest times of the year for many mothers and rightly so. For me, it marks the worst day of my life - the day my mum died.

I knew mum was going to die. For two years I prayed, and I secretly held on to some sort of hope in the back of my mind but it became the elephant in the room, mum was never going to get better.

My mum, Tina, died of pancreatic cancer on March 19th, 2021, when the whole world was grieving from the coronavirus pandemic. Mum, who was just 52-years-old when she died, was given a 20 minute funeral service, and only 20 guests were allowed to attend due to the restrictions at the time.

March 19 marks two years since the passing of Gemma's mum
Gemma's mum died aged just 52 of pancreatic cancer during the pandemic

The funeral was short, it was rushed, and much like my mother’s death, one big blur (although I must add here, one big, bright green blur as mum's favourite colour was green and everyone wore green to the funeral).

Like many going through similar, myself and my family felt robbed. But I felt robbed especially, robbed of time, robbed of special moments, and robbed of a life without my mum by my side.

So now, every balloon shop window, every card aisle, and every "Don't forget about mum" email reminder is a painful sign that I no longer have mum, and never will again.

Companies are getting better at offering opting-out options to their customers, where people can unsubscribe from Mother's Day emails. Bloom & Wild was one of the first to do so in the UK but it does make you wonder what the end results are when this happens, more precise marketing? Perhaps I will receive more adverts for grief services now?

For me, it's worse just having the question asked of you. It's yet another email reminder that I don't need or want because normally I delete anything and everything that comes my way in relation to it. And it's even harder as a journalist.

Having difficult conversations with colleagues, public relations teams and clients about why you don't want to discuss Mother's Day, can force you to experience emotions you don't want to in a working environment.

While the recognition and acknowledgment that Mother's Day can be uncomfortable, it doesn't necessarily help everyone. And then, of course, there are those who have lost other loved ones like children, fathers, friends, and grandparents, do they get to opt-out?

My mum took her final breath at home with my dad by her side on the Friday morning of March 19th, 2021, and not far from her was the teddy I bought her for Mother's Day just a few days before her death.

That teddy now sits in my office at home. It's the only reminder I want for Mother's Day.

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