Grieving the Loss of a Mother on Mother’s Day

Grieving the Loss of a Mother on Mother’s Day

By Sherrie Johnson at

After the loss of a mother, celebrating Mother’s Day can be a painful experience, whether she departed only recently or years ago. This is especially true if you and your mother used to spend this special day together. 

Getting through this sentimental day in a healthy way is important, which means taking the time to take care of yourself. Simply ignoring the day might be an option for you. But for some, this can lead to bottled-up emotions and increased feelings of grief. 

An alternative to skipping the holiday is to honor and remember your mother in a unique and special way. Below, we’ll give you some ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day when your mom has passed away

7 Ways to Honour Your Mom on Mother’s Day

1. Honor the tradition of giving

Mother’s Day is all about paying moms back for everything they give us. Even if your mom is no longer with you, you can celebrate this tradition by giving to other family members. 

Consider whether there are other moms in your life, and think of a simple, yet meaningful, gift for them. You could also give a small gift to the other people in your life who have lost their mothers. 

This can help brighten a friend’s spirit on what might be a painful day for them, and it can help you feel less alone in what you’re experiencing.

2. Support a charity

Instead of, or in addition to, giving to those close to you on Mother’s Day, you could give to a charity or non-profit organization. If there was an organization that was important to your mother, consider making a donation in her name. 

Another option is to donate to an organization that researches or treats a condition that your mother had.

3. Plant a tree

Planting a tree on Mother’s Day is a way to honor her, both on this particular day and long into the future. And it has the added benefits of supporting the environment and creating a place of remembrance.

You can invite family members to a tree-planting ceremony to celebrate the day, or have a personal and private moment planting a tree. 

We have some more information about choosing a memorial tree here. You should consider the climate where you live and what kind of trees thrive in that environment

If you don’t have space for a tree on your property, consider planting flowers or another climate-appropriate plant. Another option is to have a memorial tree planted in a national park. You can find multiple tree-planting organizations that allow you to purchase one or more trees, which the organization then plants. 

4. Find support in a poem or quote

Quote about a mother - Maya Angelou - To describe my mother would be write about a hurricane in its perfect power.

Sometimes, the words of someone who has been through what you’re going through are enough to lift the spirits. There are many poems and quotes about motherhood and the love of a mother that might be able to comfort you on Mother’s Day. 

You can find short poem excerpts and quotes on many Mother’s Day cards, either in a store or online. Here are a few quotes that we’ve found that might lend some comfort on Mother’s Day: 

  • “Mothers are like glue. Even when you can’t see them, they’re still holding the family together.” — Susan Gal
  • “Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.” — Unknown
  • To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.” — Maya Angelou
  • "When you look into your mother's eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth." — Mitch Albom
  • "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." — Abraham Lincoln

We have lots more quotes to comfort you in your grief here. 

5. Carry on her traditions

If you and your mom had a special tradition on Mother’s Day, like going out to brunch or visiting a park, you can honor her by continuing that tradition. Consider inviting family members or friends to join you in the tradition, especially if they were also close with your mother. 

Continuing traditions that you had with your mother might feel painful at first, but over time, they can become a source of comfort and normalcy. 

6. Start new traditions

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable continuing the traditions you had with your mother, or maybe you didn’t really have a Mother’s Day tradition. If so, it’s a great opportunity to start a new tradition. 

Consider activities that remind you of your mom, like gardening, hiking, or traveling. If she loved to travel any chance she got, you could take the day to get out of town, even if it’s just a few miles out into nature. 

A tradition could be as simple as watching an episode of your mom’s favorite show, listening to her favorite song, or inviting family over for lunch. 

7. Tell stories about your mom 

If you recently lost your mother, talking about her can be challenging. However, if you find it comfortable to talk about your mom, you might find solace in sharing stories about her. You can even invite loved ones to share their own stories about her, either in person or over social media. 

Consider writing a social media post describing one of your favorite memories of your mom, paired with a photo of her that depicts her personality. Sharing this online is not only a way to invite others to honor your mom, but it also preserves the memory for years to come. You can even create an online memorial website for your mom here. 

Honoring Your Mom on Mother’s Day

Mothers have an everlasting impact on who we are. They can be our best friend and our biggest supporter. Even if you were distant with your mother at the end of her life, her memory will always be with you, and she’ll always be a part of you. 

If you’re grieving the loss of your mother on Mother’s Day, honoring her in one of the ways offered above might help resolve some of those emotions. Keep in mind that any time you’re experiencing grief, it’s important to take time out for self-care and relaxation. This day is about mothers, but it’s also about you and your love for her. 

Related Pages:

How to cope with the loss of your mother

Books on the loss of a parent

Where to get help: 

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