Coping with Mother’s Day After Loss or Strife

The constant reminders of upcoming Mother’s Day can be overwhelming for those who have lost their mother or have a strained parental relationship.  When others are out celebrating with their mom, those who have experienced the death of their mother, or a fractured connection, can be catapulted back into old grief or trauma.  Each person will cope with the holiday differently, and over time will learn what approach serves them best. 

Many people find that after the loss of their mother, or any significant parental figure, honouring them in a small, private way is most manageable and meaningful.  For some that might include cooking Mom’s signature dish, or planting a flowering tree where it can be enjoyed for years to come.  Others may want to visit a gravesite or surround themselves with people who knew her best and share precious memories.  There is no wrong way to approach holidays like Mother’s or Father’s Day, and with space, intense grief can subside and leave room for peace, fond memories, and lessons to carry forward.

More companies like Nespresso, Pandora, and Etsy are also allowing their patrons to opt out of Mother’s Day emails.  According to a recent NPR Family article, many people find the stretch between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to be difficult because they have lost a parent or become estranged, have faced fertility issues, or experienced complicated family dynamics. With just a click, users can protect themselves to a degree from the daily onslaught of advertising pitches designed to tug at the heartstrings. 

For those who prefer to keep busy during emotionally challenging times, volunteering or donating useful items like toiletries to a women’s shelter might be a meaningful way to honour the memory of a beloved mother.  Collecting photos, writing down memories, or sharing recipes with those who knew your mother can also be comforting.  Visiting an older person in a nursing home or care center is another way to honour Mom by bringing a little joy to others who may be lonely.