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Grieving on Mother's Day

For many people, Mother’s Day is a welcome chance to celebrate the maternal figures in their lives and all they do for them. However, if you’ve lost your mum, or a child, or even another motherly figure in your life, Mother’s Day and the build-up to it can be incredibly difficult and sad.

Whilst it is important to do what feels right for you as everyone grieves differently, there are a number of things you can do on Mother’s Day and the lead up to it that you might find helpful if you are grieving, such as finding your own special way to mark their life.


Tips for coping with grief on Mother’s Day

The day, and the lead up to it, can be challenging so you should be prepared for an emotional day, particularly if it is your first Mother’s Day without her. It Is completely normal for people to feel a wide range of emotions during this time ranging from sadness, anger and even guilt.


Here are some suggestions on how to cope with grief on Mother’s Day:

Allow yourself to grieve

The most important thing to do is recognise that the upcoming days or weeks might be difficult. Sometimes you may find that the anticipation of certain times of year can be worse than the actual days themselves.

If you have a moment of enjoyment on the day, try not to feel guilty. Allow yourself to enjoy brief moments of respite if they happen and don’t feel bad when they do.


Spend time remembering your mother

You might find it helpful to think about ways you could remember your mum on the day. Here are some suggestions of how you might do that:

Take some time to light a candle in her honour

- Share memories, letters or photographs with other family members, or you could set aside some time to look at them alone if you’d prefer
- Plant a flower or tree in your garden
- Raise a glass to your mum over dinner
- Make a donation to a charity in her name

You might like to continue to remember them with a Mother’s Day card and write a special message, or you might wish to purchase flowers or a gift in their memory. If you do go to buy a card or gift, go prepared. It’s okay to be upset in public; be kind to yourself and take someone with you if you would like support.

Involved childen in decisions on how they want to spend the day

If you have children, ask them how they feel about Mother’s Day, and let them know that they can talk to you about any thoughts or feelings they have about the person who has died. It’s important that they feel included. You could use their ideas of how they want to spend the day to create new family traditions.

You may also want to talk to your child’s school to see if they will be celebrating Mother’s Day in some way. This way your child will have the opportunity to say if they would like to be involved.


Avoid social media

Mother’s Day is a good day for a break from social media. Log out of your accounts for the day, and perhaps some days after, because it’s likely to feature photos and updates from Mother’s Day celebrations, which may trigger a fresh wave of grief.


Take time for you

It’s important to take some time for you, especially when grieving – here are some suggestions of how to do that:

- Use the day as an opportunity to spend some time with yourself, to reflect on your loss and journey so far. You could read a book, spend time in the outdoors, listen to some music or watch a movie.
- Plan a self-care day. It’s not uncommon to forget or neglect taking care of yourself when you’re mentally struggling, but when you’re feeling down, this is the most important time to be kind to yourself.
- You may find it helpful to write about how you are feeling. Even just taking 10 minutes to put your thoughts onto paper can be useful.

If you feel like closing the door on the rest of the world for the day, there is absolutely no reason you should feel bad about doing so.


Ask for support if you need it

If you are finding the lead up to Mother’s Day difficult, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Share your feelings with those who care about you such as your spouse, friends, or family. If you have siblings, they will connect with your emotions about your mother most of all.

This day can feel difficult for many years after the death of your mother or grandmother, or any older woman who played a special role in your life. Take some time to remember them, perhaps with other people who also knew them. When struggling with grief, some people find it easier to talk to someone outside of their family and friendship group.

Simplicity offers grief help and support through the National Bereavement Service's (NBS) webchat. It is a free online service which connects you to a trained advisor. The service is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm and you can benefit from it by clicking on the chat box at the bottom of this page.


Remember, you can’t plan for everything, it may be something unexpected that brings a wave of grief. Whatever you decide to do, remember that it’s okay to feel sad. Everyone grieves differently and will find different things challenging or comforting. It may be that not all of these suggestions will be helpful for you, but you might find some of them useful.

If you are a mother, it’s Mother’s Day for you too. Be kind to yourself and try to accept your family’s loved and kindness.

Visit our grief and loss area for more advice and guidance. You may find our article on how to cope with the death of a parent helpful.

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