How I Cope With Grief And Honor The Memory Of My Mom On Mother’s Day 

In need of emotional support during these times? Consider these various coping mechanisms I use to navigate grief on Mother’s Day.

Woman pointing to the sky
Photo by Clement Eastwood

The tradition of Mother’s Day as we know it today finds its roots in a heartfelt memorial organized by Anna Jarvis to honor her late mother. This poignant gesture marked the inception of an annual observance— held on the second Sunday of May— dedicated to celebrating maternal figures worldwide.

Despite its intention to evoke joy and gratitude for the nurturing influences in our lives, Mother’s Day can often serve as an evocative reminder of loss and emotional struggle. For many, the occasion triggers profound grief, particularly among those who have lost their maternal figures or are grappling with the pain of infertility or the loss of a child.

I lost my mother at the young age of 22, and her passing came unexpectedly, leaving me reeling with emotions I never anticipated facing at such a tender age. Initially, I found myself unable to confront the reality of her absence. Instead, I buried myself in distractions, avoiding the raw pain that gnawed at me from within. Denial became my refuge as I grappled with the fear of uncertainty and the agonizing truth that I would never hear her voice or feel her embrace again. 

I shied away from discussing her, avoided visiting her grave, and steered clear of anything that might stir memories of her. It wasn’t until I sought therapy that I found the courage to confront my suppressed emotions. I realized that my self-imposed isolation and denial only exacerbated my grief, inflicting deeper emotional wounds rather than offering solace.

The death of a parent can be an immense tectonic shift in a person’s life. It’s painful to lose the very person who gave birth to you, nurtured you, and shaped so much of who you are today. Their absence echoes in every cherished memory and in every family gathering where their presence is felt only in their absence. Walking down grocery aisles filled with flowers and cards can ensue a whirlwind of emotions, from longing to sadness. Each item serves as a reminder of the love that once was.

While we cannot turn back time or bring our loved ones back, there are constructive ways to navigate the turbulent waters of grief and find solace amidst the pain. 

In need of emotional support during these times? Consider these various coping mechanisms I use to navigate grief on Mother’s Day.

+ Create New Traditions

Consider starting new traditions to honor your mother’s memory. This could involve activities that you and your mother enjoyed together or new rituals that help you feel connected to her. 

For example, you could cook her favorite meal, watch her favorite movie, or visit a place that was special to her. By creating these new traditions, you can find solace in remembering and celebrating your mother’s life in a way that feels authentic to you.

+ Spend Time Alone & Focus On Yourself

Sometimes Mother’s Day can be overwhelming, and a sense of jealousy may start to seep in as you watch your friends spend time and post social media pics about their beloved mothers. It’s okay to shut everything down and just spend time with yourself. 

Use this time for self-care activities that bring you comfort and peace, whether reading a book, taking a long walk, or indulging in a hobby you enjoy. By prioritizing your well-being, you can navigate through the day with greater ease and self-compassion. I find solace in solitude on Mother’s Day by allowing myself the space to process my emotions and reflect on the memories I hold dear.

A group of women hugging
Photo by RDNE Stock project

+ Spend Quality Time With Your Loved Ones

Reach out to friends or family members who understand what you’re going through and spend time with them on Mother’s Day. Surrounding yourself with supportive loved ones can provide a sense of comfort and connection during this difficult time. 

Whether you choose to have a heartfelt conversation, share memories of your mother, or simply enjoy each other’s company, the presence of loved ones can help ease the pain of grief and remind you that you’re not alone in your feelings. I cherish the moments spent with my loved ones on Mother’s Day. We reminisce about my mother and find strength in each other’s company.

+ Embrace Their Loving Memory

Share memories or tell stories about your mother with others. It took me years to finally revisit my mother’s grave, but once I gathered the courage, I made it a point to bring her flowers and her favorite delicacies to her resting place, commemorating her life and reminiscing on our time together.

I spend time sitting there, talking about my new accomplishments, adversities, and how I hope that I’m making her proud. These moments of reflection allow me to feel her presence and find comfort in the enduring bond we share, even in her absence.

Woman pointing to the sky
Photo by Clement Eastwood

How To Show Support To Someone Coping With Loss On Mother’s Day

You may wonder how to support someone coping with the loss of a mother figure or child on Mother’s Day. Sometimes, it’s as simple as acknowledging their feelings, offering a supportive phone call, or inviting them to spend time with you and your mother. However, it’s crucial to respect their need for space if they prefer solitude.

There isn’t always a “right” thing to say, but being present for someone in grief can offer immeasurable comfort. Personally, receiving a text from friends or loved ones saying, “I know today is hard for you, and I’m thinking about you,” means the world to me. It serves as a reminder of the supportive community I have, even though my mother is no longer with me. It’s essential to recognize that everyone copes with grief differently.

In closing, I strongly encourage you to embrace the day in a way that feels authentic to you. If that’s infusing new significance into the holiday by honoring the women who serve as nurturing figures in your life—whether they are grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, teachers, friends, or mentors— do it.

By honoring both the memory of your mother and the love that surrounds you from those who continue to nurture and support you, your approach to coping with grief on Mother’s Day will evolve. Remember, you are loved.

Erica is a contributor at BrownStyle Magazine covering culture, entrepreneurship, fashion, beauty, and wellness. She was previously a contributor for Singersroom and Rappersroom covering entertainment, music, and culture. She also works as a strategic communications professional and brand strategist, working with entertainment, lifestyle, hospitality, non-profit, tech, and corporate clients. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.