Today is the first day of spring. As I sit here, looking at the daffodils and other bulbs that have bravely pushed their way through the still hard soil of my flower beds -hoping that the temperature won’t drop too much, so that they can survive their due lifespan- I reflect.

These past few weeks the weather has been even more changeable than we are used to in this part of the world: one minute it’s unusually warm and sunny, the next it’s overcast; a cold wind blows with force and then stops suddenly, the sun comes out again before the clouds hide it once more; it rains… it pours, and before it stops… I see a rainbow.

It’s the third spring since my beautiful son Steven passed away, and my feelings about this new season of rebirth are as changeable as the weather. Everything is coming back to life: the flowers, the trees, the grass…, and my emotions surface with the same vigour without any warning.

I used to love spring. Now it’s not an easy season, but which one is? As the seasons change, they all bring different memories, special days and anniversaries, but maybe in springtime -surrounded by new life- my son’s absence, and the absence of all my loved ones who are no longer here, is more poignant. It occurs to me that Nature is beautiful and cruel at the same time.

I have no choice but to greet all the feelings this new season brings, to sit with them, to acknowledge them, to allow them ‘to be’. As we cannot stop the new life that springs all around us, as we cannot stop the world turning and the seasons changing, resisting my feelings would be futile and unhelpful.

Next Sunday will be Mothering Sunday in the UK, where we have lived for more than 20 years. I always found it to be an imposed, commercialised celebration -like so many others- but it has taken a new meaning since losing my son. I now realise with brutal sadness that he won’t be here this Mothering Sunday. I want to hide away, to escape all the hype and to avoid seeing all the mothers celebrating it with their children. I don’t have any other children to celebrate it with and -while I know I will always be Steven’s mum- I wonder whether I have lost my status as a mother on this Earth.

I remember vividly all the Mothering Sundays I celebrated with my son, -in Spain and in the UK- 27 of them, to be exact. I remember all the cards, the little hand-made gifts he brought me from school, the flower bouquets, the special meals.

And in the next breath, I think about all the other mothers who are also missing their children as this new season starts, and who won’t be able to spend this Mothering Sunday with them either. I feel my heart swell with their sadness, with their longing, and also with love for them all: the ones I have met, hugged, cried and laughed with, the ones I know only through social media, through messaging and phone conversations, those who have shared their stories and their children with me, those I hope to meet soon, and those I may never meet.

I want to send all those mothers a heart-felt hug across the energy fields, as we all wish with all our hearts that we could hear another ‘Happy Mothers’ Day, mum’ from our children, that we could get another card, another bouquet of flowers, that we could have another meal with them. I hope we can all feel those hugs we so long for in our dreams, during this whole week -as we start another spring without our children’s physical presence- and very specially on Mothering Sunday.

My wish for all of us is that the darkness will be followed by light, that better days of more gentle and predictable weather will come. And when the storms hit, when we feel as if we don’t have the strength to keep going, that we may be able to lean on each other.

We can’t do this alone, but together -with the help of our children- we may be able to find some semblance of peace again in the impending springtime and in every other season. I can imagine our children in spirit rooting for us to begin to appreciate the beauty of this season again, so that they can enjoy it with us, making the distance between our worlds a little smaller. Let’s try to do it as a gift for them, in their honour.

With much love and compassion

Marta Arce-Dubois

A special acknowledgement

With thanks to Merce Castro Puig, bereaved mum and amazing writer. I had considered translating some of Merce’s blog posts into English, so that they could reach even more people, and I am grateful that she trusted me to do it. I have come to realise that I can’t do that, because our journeys are our own, and I need to write from the place I am in at each given time. But she is one of  the people who continue to inspire me, and I want to acknowledge that I have incorporated some of her thoughts into this blog post and  that I will continue to do so in the future.

If you can read Spanish, please visit Merce’s blog or follow her on Facebook: