When Mother's Day Hurts

By Healing House May 11, 2023

For many, Mother's Day represents a day of honoring and celebrating the moms and mother figures in their lives. But when grieving the loss of a mother, Mother's Day can magnify the painful feelings that come with grieving.

Coping with the loss of a mother or mother figure is not always straightforward, and on meaningful days like Mother's Day, feelings like sadness, anger, loneliness, and longing can become intense.

Grief is more like an ongoing process than a series of steps or stages to work through. Even when it feels like the worst parts of grieving are over, it's normal to reexperience difficult emotions on significant days like birthdays and holidays, including Mother's Day.

Some ways to remember Mom or our mother figures on Mother’s Day include:

1.    Tell stories or share memories of Mom with others.

2.    Create special crafts, photo albums, or scrapbooks to remember her.

3.    Cook or share Mom’s special recipes.

4.    Write a letter to Mom or journal about her.

5.    Meditate as you “take a walk” with Mom or visit her grave.

6.    Read stories or poetry about mothers.

7.    Donate to a charity or volunteer in her honor.

8.    Find closure for unresolved issues by attending a grief support group.

9.    Practice self-care by using relaxation techniques and doing things that bring you joy.

VITAS Healthcare is hosting a virtual event on May 11th and 12th for people around the country to come together to honor their mother or mother figure who is no longer here but remains in spirit and memory this Mother’s Day. The program will feature special speaker presentations by renowned grief specialists, talented musicians, heartfelt and inspirational readings, and time dedicated to sharing treasured memories.

Attend this event, free of charge, safely from your home via video or phone conferencing by clicking this link:

The loss of a child can also feel more difficult on Mother’s Day. Feelings of isolation, sadness, anger, and longing are magnified on days when others are celebrating togetherness. Here are a few ideas to honor your child’s memory and help to cope with these feelings on Mother’s Day after the loss of a child:

1.    Grief is a dynamic process, what worked last year might not work this year and what works this year will change next. Leave yourself open to new ways of approaching where you are. Also, if you have a tough year, give yourself space to accept that and know there will be tough days mixed with days of joy.

2.    There is no right or wrong way to do this. You are the only one who can determine what you need. You are as individual as the relationship you had with your child. Honor your uniqueness.

3.    Know that it’s not just ‘the day’ that makes it hard. Often, it’s the days leading up to and following it that weigh on us. Set aside 10 minutes to check in with yourself – How’s your energy, your mood, your body, your emotional state? Give yourself compassion knowing that all of these thoughts and feelings are ok.

4.    Create and plant a memorial flower or garden; add solar lights.

5.    Plant a small tree in your own yard, on school grounds, or through the public parks program, and decorate it on special occasions.

6.    Arrange a butterfly release.

7.    Create a collage of pictures and words.

8.    Volunteer to help a child in your community in your child’s honor.

Some examples are: sponsoring a child for summer camp or boys/girls club, donating books to a library or children’s program, or donating toys or clothes to local shelters.

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