Celebrating Our Mothers
Mother’s Day this year was a special day for me, especially now my kids are growing up and can appreciate her too, as “Yay Nana” I think that’s her name because they never just say Nana. When they learn they’re going to visit her, their response is always Yay! Nana! In their eyes she is the bearer of sweet things, exciting games and handmade gifts and having recently moved into a “retirement resort”, access to a heated swimming pool and private cinema has boosted her status into the stratosphere.
Visiting Mum on Mother’s Day is great…it’s just getting there that’s the problem.
Each year I quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) grumble about preparing the kids, loading them into the car, packing their bags with enough stuff to cover every conceivable scenario (and even some inconceivable ones), scrambling to buy a half way decent bunch of flowers, before heading across the city in bumper to bumper traffic.
However, this year was different. This year, I was able to reflect on how lucky I and my family were to still have Mum to visit and enjoy this day and many others with her. It wasn’t until I attended one of the Tobin Brothers Funerals Mother’s Day services, that the enormity of not having your Mum in your life anymore really hit home.
Although the services were designed to bring comfort to people and allow a space for them to honour their Mother or loved one during a time that can often amplify feelings of grief and sadness, I think it also provided them something unexpected – a sense of ritual and connection.
One lady actually stood up at the end to thank Tobin Brothers and offer her heart felt appreciation for the opportunity to reflect on her Mother in a space with other people sharing similar experiences and feelings.
It was moving to witness many families placing photographs of their Mums and loved ones in the beautifully decorated space at the front of the Chapel. Candles, lights, a pond and layered greenery came together as a shrine and emphasised the significance of the service and its purpose.
Michael Lynch guided the guests, allowing them to reflect and at times talk about the loved ones they were honouring that night. Lighting candles and placing them in the pond was well received by all the guests, and I noticed there was a great deal of respect given to each other’s space and time to complete the ritual.
The music performed by Soul Chic filled the room with warmth, moving some people to tears. Others, especially during a unique but brilliant performance of “Over the Rainbow”, engaged more with their family, perhaps as it’s such a familiar song and inspires hope.
I think everybody left the service feeling better than when they arrived. They all seemed to walk more freely and talk with larger smiles to each other. Most stayed back and enjoyed the refreshments and company before leaving with some seeds of “forget me not” flowers to plant in memory of their loved ones.
I hope to be part of the Mother’s Day services again next year. It’s good to take a moment and slow down to reflect on those you love, appreciate them and how much they enrich your life.
Written by: Matt Weedon, Tobin Brothers Funerals
Photography by: Matt Weedon, Tobin Brothers Funerals