7 Ways to Survive Mother’s Day Without Mom

by Alli

I’ve officially joined the club. On May 7th, 2016, I became a member of a new group. When my mom unexpectedly passed away the day before Mother’s Day, I joined the How to survive Mother’s Day without Mom group.

The entire family was in shock last year and we barely acknowledged Mother’s Day at all. When you’re in the midst of planning a funeral, Mother’s Day seems to take a back seat. Much later, my children celebrated Mother’s Day with me – a redo of the day they had originally planned.

7 Ways to Survive Mother's Day Without Mom - Whether it's your first Mother's Day without Mom or you're 10th, Mother's Day doesn't have to be depressing. Here are ways that help me survive Mother's Day.

A Little Mother’s Day History

According to National Geographic, the history of Mother’s Day is “rife with controversy, conflict, and consumerism run amok.” Mother’s Day was originally started by Anna Jarvis as an anti-war movement. It didn’t take long for Mother’s Day to become commercialized – something Anna Jarvis never intended.

Last year, fortune.com projected that Americans would spend over 21 billion dollars on Mother’s Day. To say this is a popular holiday is an understatement.

How to Survive Mother’s Day

It’s OK to Cry

There were so many firsts for me during the first year after mom passed, including my mom’s first birthday. I won’t lie. It was hard. The tears flowed freely and often. There’s one thing I’ve realized over the past year: It’s OK to cry. Crying releases pain-relieving endorphins and makes us feel better.

Plant a Tree in Memory of Mom

I visit my dad as often as I can. He has given me several of mom’s perennials to plant in my flower garden. When I’m puttering around in the garden, seeing those plants make me smile. My sister and her family planted a tree in memory of mom.

Make a Donation to Mom’s Favorite Charity

My mom died of a sudden, massive heart attack. She was always in great physical shape, so we were shocked, to say the least. I’ve also had heart issues, so I make sure to donate to the American Heart Association in memory of mom.

Don’t be Alone

I’ll start Mother’s Day off at church. Deep down, I hope my pastor husband skips the whole Mother’s Day sermon. I’m preparing myself either way. I also plan to have a special flower arrangement at church to honor my mom. All of my grown children will come over for lunch and it’s much easier when you’re around a group of people.

Note to self: Be sure and wear waterproof mascara!

Visit the Cemetary

I live in a different state, but I do visit my hometown as often as I can and I always take flowers for mom’s grave. I’m well aware that the spirit of my mom lives on, but it helps to have a designated place to honor her.

How to Survive Mother's Day

Talk About Your Mom

Even though my mom is in heaven, I have so many precious memories of her. Talking about mom, her recipes and her sayings help me feel close to her. I also enjoy looking through all the old photo albums of our family.

Helpful Hint: If your mom is living, be sure and get lots of family photos. You’ll be glad you did! Also, get some photos of just you and your mom.

Another Helpful Hint: Write down all your mom’s recipes that you love. Your mom’s recipes probably have been handed down from generation to generation and can’t be found in a cookbook or online.

Don’t Let Grief Overtake You

It’s easy to let grief overcome you on such an emotional day, but you can get through it. Remember, it’s OK to cry, but eventually, you need to wipe those eyes and remember that your mom would want you to enjoy life.

I have a voicemail from my mom that I saved. I was on my way to visit my hometown and spend a few days with my parents. On the drive down, mom called and I missed the call. After my mom passed, I realized that I had never erased the message from my iPhone. Sometimes I just need to hear her voice. At the end of the message, she tells me how much she loves me. (I have it saved in three different places so that it won’t be accidentally erased.)

I’ve heard that surviving Mother’s Day without your mom becomes easier as the years go by. I sure hope so.

It’s weird how I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone to call mom. I also catch myself making a mental note to tell mom something crazy or funny that happened. Mom loved to laugh and hear all about the antics of her great grandkids.

If this is your first Mother’s Day without your mom or your 10th, please know that you’re not alone. We’ll all get through this. I promise (as tears run down my face)!

I miss my mom every single day! If your mom has passed from this life to the next, how do you survive Mother’s Day?

One More Thing

P.S. – Don’t be envious or jealous of friends who still have their mothers with them. Don’t look at the overload of Mother’s Day displays in department stores and wish you had laser beams coming from your eyes that could incinerate all of that stuff in a nanosecond. Be grateful that your friends have their moms to spend the day with and remember, you are not alone! Trust me, you can and will survive Mother’s Day. Hugs to you!

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Robin rue May 8, 2017 - 6:05 am

I lost my mom in February, so this is my first Mother’s Day without her. My stomach has been in knots over the last week and it’s SO HARD hearing all the ads about what to get for mom. But I will get through it – with my family.

elaine April 29, 2018 - 6:11 pm

Hi Robin,
I feel your pain. I lost my mom 3 weeks ago on 5 April. I found this site while looking for a card I could send to my siblings as we all dread our first mothers day without mom. So far I haven’t found one. But I did find a lantern festival that I will participate in as a ritual for myself. I think that will be good for me. Still not sure how to help my siblings. I wish you comfort and sending a big hug.

elaine May 7, 2018 - 5:23 pm

Hi Robin,
I feel your pain. I lost my mom 4 weeks ago on 5 April. I found this site while looking for a card I could send to my siblings as we all dread our first mothers day without mom. So far I haven’t found one. But I did find a lantern festival that I will participate in as a ritual for myself. I think that will be good for me. Still not sure how to help my siblings. I wish you comfort and sending a big hug.

Angelic Sinova May 8, 2017 - 6:27 am

Donating money to your mother’s favorite charity or planting a tree is a great way to honor your mother. My friend’s mother passed away last summer unexpectedly and this Mother’s Day her and her sister are going to spend the day doing their mother’s favorite things (watching her favorite film, eating at her favorite restaurant, etc).

Amber Myers May 8, 2017 - 8:31 am

This would be difficult but I love your ideas. I love the one about talking about mom. It’s what I would do if I ever lost mine.

Rebekah May 8, 2017 - 8:43 am

I’m reading this with tears rolling down my face. I miss Grandma so much too. We will make sure that this is a great Mother’s Day for you. You are strong just like Grandma was. She knew how much you loved her and she was very proud of you. Soaking up the sun at the beach and having your two oldest grandsons to keep you company will also help. lol

lisa May 8, 2017 - 1:07 pm

This is a great list. I am very lucky to still have my mother and mother in law. My best friend lost her mother when we were only 15 yrs old. I still think of her often and I can only imagine how hard it is.

candy May 8, 2017 - 1:26 pm

After all the kids and family have left my house and they have given me a wonderful Mothers Day. I always go to the cemetery to have a nice long chat with my mom and take flowers to put on her grave.

Melinda Snavley May 8, 2017 - 1:30 pm

I’m like Rebekah reading this I have tears coming down and that’s okay to cry like you said. I just thank GOD so much for bringing us through this!! I really didn’t think at the time I would survive this but he brought us through last Mother’s Day and I know this year will be the same. Love you and can’t wait to see you next month 🙂

LaShawn May 8, 2017 - 2:31 pm

I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is so hard and especially so close to a holiday. Hopefully, all of these tips help YOU this coming mother’s day.

Alli May 9, 2017 - 3:55 pm

Thank you! I was thinking that I couldn’t be the only person facing Mother’s Day without their mom so I hope this helps everyone who is missing their mom during the upcoming holiday.

Jaime Nicole May 8, 2017 - 7:32 pm

This is a really great list. I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day, as my mother and I don’t have a relationship, so it’s a struggle for me as well. I try to focus on my children.

Paula Bendfeldt May 8, 2017 - 9:25 pm

These are all great tips for those who have lost their mom. Mother’s day can be a really difficult time. Donating to mom’s favorite charity and planting a tree are such great ways to honor and remember you mom.

Annemarie LeBlanc May 9, 2017 - 1:05 am

The loss of any parent, be it your mom or your dad is difficult especially around the holidays. My mom is 78 years old and still strong and active and I am thankful for that. However, I know there are others who are grieving the loss of their mother and all I can say is, be thankful for the years you have spent with your mom, and know that she never left. She lives in our hearts forever.

Maurene Cab May 9, 2017 - 2:18 am

I know how difficult it is to grieve over the loss of a loved one. It’s nice to see support groups available.

David Elliott May 9, 2017 - 2:21 am

This is such a beautiful post. I know it can be hard to think about loved ones when they are gone. Sometimes painful things come up. But they can be beautiful depending on what we do with those things. I’m sure our mother’s who are no longer with us would want to go on and thrive without them. That’s the best gift we can give to them on mother’s day.

Sari Florencio May 9, 2017 - 3:20 am

Thank God that my mom is still with us and still bubbly and healthy. I feel sad for the who is not with their mother’s anymore. This is a nice survival tip.

sara May 9, 2017 - 5:40 am

This is an important post because many people will be without their Mom on Mother’s Day. I don’t think it is ever easy. Your tips are very helpful, thanks.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All May 9, 2017 - 7:17 am

Those are wonderful suggestions you made on how to celebrate the memory of your Mom if she has passed. Mine hasn’t yet but being in her mid-70s I am getting nervous, I will be lost when that day comes.

Alli May 9, 2017 - 3:53 pm

You know, for some reason I just never imagined life here on earth without my mom. She was in such great health and very active and I was naive I guess. But I do have the memories to hang on to and I’m glad she was a big part of my life.

Our Family World May 9, 2017 - 7:58 am

I wish I could hug you right now. It must be so hard to be missing a parent (or both) during holidays and special occasions like this. I hope you find peace and acceptance that your mom is now in a better place and that she continues to live on in your heart.

Alli May 9, 2017 - 3:52 pm

Thank you so much! This has certainly been a year of firsts without mom and I do know she’s in a better place and I try to dwell on positive thoughts. Thanks for your kind words.

Chrishelle Ebner May 9, 2017 - 8:33 am

I am so sorry that you will be missing your mom this year. I understand a little bit since I am in the “I miss my dad” club during Father’s Day. I will tell you it essential to not be alone and talk about her. My prayers for you.

Alli May 9, 2017 - 3:50 pm

Thanks so much! It’s much harder than I ever imagined but I know I’ll get through another holiday without mom. Sending you hugs and prayers for Father’s Day. It’s right around the corner and I know how difficult it can be.

Kita Bryant May 9, 2017 - 2:50 pm

I have a close friend who lost her mother 27 years ago. Coping with that on every Mother’s day can be very taxing and hard to deal with. This is some amazing advice that I will share with her.

Jenn @ EngineerMommy May 9, 2017 - 4:28 pm

This is such a beautifully-written heartfelt post. I agree that it’s so important to recognize mom, even if she’s no longer with us. I love the idea of planting a tree in her memory.

Lisa Heath May 10, 2017 - 12:20 am

This is so beautiful. As I get older, I worry that one of these days soon I’ll be going through Mother’s Day without my mom.

Rhona Veisfeld May 14, 2017 - 12:49 pm

One word: Friend. This is the 6th Mother’s Day without my Mom and as I read your ‘tips’, I know many of them. Hadn’t thought of the planting a tree (thanks). The tears still run down my face reading this. A friend tagged me on FB for your article. It still hurts. I spoke to my Mom minimum once a day, sometimes more, just asking her ‘how long do I leave this in the oven for Mom’. That was one of many and I’m older, so ….. Thanks. People, enjoy your Moms.

Alli May 15, 2017 - 8:25 am

Thanks for your kind words! I also spoke to my mom on a daily basis, asking her for a recipe that I grew up with and hearing her say, “well, there’s not really a recipe.” We’d talk it through and come up with a recipe of sorts. I don’t think we’ll ever get over missing our moms. I tried to stay as busy as possible yesterday! I did tear up a few times and I’ve already cried this morning – the day after Mother’s Day. One thing for sure, we will always keep their precious memories with us. Hugs to you!

Sabrena May 12, 2018 - 5:57 am

I’m sry for your loss. Mom passed on Sept 25, with all of her family gathered around her. Not 3hrs before she told me that she loved me very much & to stay strong cause Dad & my brothers would need me.
This week leading up to Mother’s Day. I just want to skip it all.
But I know I want. I’ll push myself & probably try one of you ideas. Thx for the article.
God bless⚘

Alli May 14, 2018 - 10:22 am

Sorry for your loss as well! I try to remember all the good times, but Mother’s Day is always bitter-sweet for me. Hugs to you!!


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