Celebrating Mother’s Day Without Your Mom

It’s hard to think about someone who has more influence on our life than our mothers. Mother’s Day is a time to rememberMother's Day how much your mother means to you, but if she is no longer with you, the second Sunday in May tends to be difficult. Even if she has been gone for a decade or two decades, the pain never completely goes away. This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 14th. If you are having trouble coping, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you are sad and that you miss your mother. There is no need to pretend this is an easy time for you. But even if she is no longer with you, Mother’s Day can still have moments of joy as you focus on the many ways to celebrate her memory.

One thing that may be healing for you is sharing your favorite family photos with people you are close to. You can even post them on social media so those who knew your mom can share their memories with you. You can also consider cooking your favorite meal she always fixed you when you were a child. The nostalgia can be comforting and refresh your memory of those special moments.

Being outside in the sunshine can have a powerful effect on the way you feel when you’re sad. For many, being in nature can restore their awareness of the infinite circle of life. Go to the park, take a scenic hike, or go for a bike ride. Being immersed in nature provides you with evidence that while life ends, there is so much rejuvenation, restoration, and renewal occurring all around you.

Consider using this day as an opportunity to bring flowers or a photo to your mother’s grave, or to write a poem for her. If she was cremated, change out the pictures in her glass front niche or add some mementos that help remind you of the good times you spent together. You may even want to write a letter to your mom. Let her know all the things that have been going on in your life and how much you wish she was there to experience it with you. You can throw it away or keep it; whatever feels right to you. Some people have even found comfort in writing a letter to themselves “from” their mom.

If you choose to attend church on Mother’s Day, you may be offered a carnation when you arrive. Carnations are traditionally given because they were the favorite flower of Ann Reeves Jarvis, the mother of the woman who campaigned to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. It is customary to take a white flower if your mother is no longer with you or a pink one if she is still living.

If your mother has died, the most important thing to do on Mother’s Day is to be kind to yourself. If it feels right for you to treat the day just like any other day, go right ahead. If you feel like spending the day on the golf course or treating yourself at the spa, do what will make you happy. If one thing is for sure, she wouldn’t want you to spend the whole day mourning.


What do you remember most about your mom? What has helped you embrace Mother’s Day without her?