As we approach Mother’s Day, many of us reflect on the love and strength our mothers instilled in us. Yet, for those of us who have experienced the death loss of a mother, Mother’s Day might be a holiday that can evoke a wide range of emotions. Even after several years might have gone by, the pain of their absence may linger on. At times, the memories of our mothers are so vivid it may feel like they are still with us, and at other times, the absence feels so palpable that it is hard to breathe.
Coping with a mother’s death or the death of any significant person in our life is not something that we can simply “get over” — it is a process that takes time, patience, and a lot of self-compassion. Furthermore, it is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Each person’s journey is unique, shaped by their personality and coping styles, relationship with their person, the circumstances surrounding the death, and subsequent losses resulting from it.
However, there are some commonalities in coping with a death loss that can help us navigate this difficult journey. One of the most important things to remember is that feeling a range of emotions is okay. Grief is messy and unpredictable, and there is no “right” way to grieve. Crying, laughing, being angry, and even feeling numb are okay. These emotions are a natural and necessary part of the healing process.
Another important aspect of coping is finding ways to honor your person’s memory. This can take many forms — from creating rituals or tributes or doing something they loved, or simply talking about them with others. Members of our community have found solace in writing about their person and sharing their stories with others. Doing so has helped them feel like their person is still a part of their lives, and it has allowed them to connect with others who have experienced similar death losses.
Coping with a death loss is a journey often marked by pain but also a journey with healing and growth. As we approach Mother’s Day, take time to reflect on the love and memories of your mother that you cherish.
For many, mothers have taught us the importance of kindness, empathy, and perseverance — values that continue to shape who we are today.
Yet, for those who had a problematic relationship with their mother, it’s essential to recognize that it’s okay to have mixed feelings about this day as you may be working through any negative emotions. Emphasizing the positive aspects of your relationship might ease the day.
While Mother’s Day can be a difficult reminder of their absence, it can also be an opportunity to celebrate the love and memories we hold dear. Whether through a particular tradition, a heartfelt conversation, or simply taking time to reflect, there are many ways to honor the mothers and mother figures in our lives. For those coping with a death loss, know that you are not alone. May you find peace and comfort in the memories and continue to carry their love with you.