When I did my floristry diploma, we were taught about the importance of certain dates in the calendar - the most significant being Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Easter, and Christmas. For another module, we were taught how to sensitively take an order for funeral flowers. We didn't really put them together, and it's only because of personal losses in the last few years (my own and my friends') and my work as a bereavement counsellor that I've seen how the two are connected.
I have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day, and I still wish it was used as a day to celebrate all kinds of love rather than solely a day for couples to remind themselves that they're a couple.
I've seen how Mother's Day can be upsetting for people - whose mothers or children have died, or whose mothers or children are ill or disabled, or who are estranged from some of their family. It could be that someone has a difficult relationship with their mother or child for all kinds of reasons. It could be that a woman wants to have children but can't. It could be that a woman chooses not to have children but gets messages that she's less of a woman for it. Last year, Jennifer Aniston wrote about the scrutiny she comes under for her maternal status, amongst other things.
It's easy to suggest that someone just ignores Mothering Sunday and the messages that are implied with it, but unless you're a hermit, it's near-impossible to ignore Mother's Day in Britain. Adverts and articles will pop up on television, newspapers and websites, the shops (that includes florists - sorry) will do their damnedest to make you remember, and even if you want to just go out for the day, there might be themed lunches and afternoon teas in cafes and restaurants.
So, with some encouragement from other therapists and flowery friends (waves to Sara at My Flower Patch who is running a Spring Workshop in Wiltshire and donates to local charity The Finlay Foundation), I am running an alternative workshop the day before Mother's Day.
- In this workshop, we'll get to talk to each other about what makes Mother's Day difficult.
- We'll do some mindful exercises with flowers.
- Then we'll make a scented posy that people can keep for themselves, give as a gift, or leave as a memorial.
The workshop will be held at Neal's Yard Remedies in Sevenoaks on Saturday 25 March from 1.15-3pm. You can book your place by visiting the shop at 134 Sevenoaks High Street or phoning the shop on 01732 456402.
The cost is £30 and this includes the workshop, a posy to take away, and a £5 donation to the charity Child Bereavement UK.
This year, Child Bereavement UK has launched a campaign called Make for Mum to encourage bereaved people to remember their mothers or mothers to remember their children. The charity supports children and parents who are bereaved or facing bereavement through their national helpline; one-to-one, couple, family and group support; and training for professionals and schools.