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How to Survive Mother’s Day without a Mom

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. Mother’s Day is not an easy reminder for those whose mothers have passed away.

My mom passed away three and a half years ago.

The holiday has become easier for me over time, but the flood of emails with titles like, “Don’t Forget Mom!”, “Do you still need a Mother’s Day gift?, and “Celebrate Mom” still hit me like a ton of bricks.

I can’t help but have thoughts arise like, “I wish I could.”, “My mom isn’t here for me to do that.”, “I wish she was here, so I could celebrate her; she was a wonderful mom.”

It is easy to spiral into sadness, self-pity and to isolate yourself from the rest of the world. So… I have created a list of things that have helped me.

1. Have a mantra or affirmation to remind yourself of the goodness, support and love in your life for when the grief pops up.

  • For example: “I can honor my mom in a different way.”, “I am loved and supported by my siblings, family and friends.”, “I appreciate the love and abundance in my life.” , “My best friend supports me and fills in all the gaps.”

  • Write this down on a post-it on your laptop, write it with a dry-erase marker on your bathroom mirror, or just make a mental note!

2. Plan ahead for the day. Do you want to be alone? Would it be better to make plans with friends who have family out of town? How will you celebrate your mom?

  • Ideas:

  • Get together with friends!

  • Have a tea party with girlfriends. I did this the year after my mom passed. My friends supported me and I could eat as many scones as I wanted!

  • Have a movie day and watch all of the movies you would watch with your mom.

  • Read your mom’s favorite book.

  • Do something to honor her. What was unique about her?

  • Was she giving…honor that spirit and help someone in your life.

  • Did she love margaritas?…go get one with a good friend or family member.

  • Did she love sports?…go see a game!

  • Buy OR plant her favorite flowers.

  • Celebrate her memory rather than wallowing in the loss.

  • ***Warning*** Avoid over-indulging with alcohol, as this can increase your emotional response and make you more susceptible to depression.

3. Know that you are not alone and read this. My sister shared this with me and it helped me a lot!

4. Schedule in time for Self-Care

  • It can be such an emotionally exhausting day. Plan ahead with some self-care activities: maybe a short walk, nap, bubble bath, talk to a friend, watch uplifting/funny YouTube videos, etc. What will help you to self-soothe?

  • It’s okay to feel whatever it is you feel. Feel the sadness…let the tears fall. Feel the anger…go for a run or do some intense exercise to expend the energy.

  • Seek support from supportive loved ones (i.e. not the ones who criticize or are uncomfortable with real emotion)

Enjoy the day in your own way and know that I am sending you love and support from afar!

Be well,


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