If you lost your mother or grandmother this year, you might want to avoid going to your favorite big box stores starting around the end of April or early May. As soon as you enter those stores, you will see huge displays featuring Mother's Day cards and gifts. Walking among them may feel like a punch in the gut if you aren't prepared.
While others go happily about buying cards and body wash sets for their moms and grandmas, you may break down in tears of frustration, sadness, and maybe even anger. You may ask yourself why other people’s moms live while you lost yours.
If you're worried about how you will handle the approaching Mother's Day, you may not want to leave the day to chance. Make plans. Figure out how you will spend this day to honor your mother or grandmother. Below, we’ve compiled a few suggestions to help you say "Happy Mother's Day in heaven, mom".
1. Read a Mother's Day Quote that Reminds You of Her
It may help you to stop and reflect on how important moms are as Mother's Day approaches. Think about your relationship with your mom, and see if any of these quotes reflect your feelings for that special person in your life.
Consider writing these quotes in a journal and reflecting on them. You may want to share them on social media to help your friends and family understand how hard it is for you to spend this holiday without your mother.
Examples of Mother's Day quotes
- "Mother is a verb. It's something you do. Not just who you are." —Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Activist, and Author
- "A mother's arms are more comforting than anyone else's." —Diana, Princess of Wales
- "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother" —Abraham Lincoln, President
2. Reflect on a Mother's Day Poem
Consider reading the poem called "Sonnets are Full of Love" by Christina Rossetti. In the last stanza of her poem, she reflects upon the timelessness of a mother's love.
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name:
In you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
Of time and change and mortal life and death.
3. Put Flowers on Your Mother's Grave
You may want to honor your mother by placing flowers on her grave. As you visit the cemetery, pause a moment for silent reflection or prayer. You may want to read a poem or sing a song. You may feel as if you want to speak out loud to your mom. Do whatever feels natural to you at the moment.
You may consider bringing extra bouquets to put on undecorated graves. Do this act of charity and kindness in memory of your mom.
Share your final wishes, just in case.
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4. Bake Your Mother's Favorite Recipe
Did your mom or grandma have a signature dish? Why not make it on Mother's Day? If you are able, prepare or serve the dish with your mother's tools or serving pieces.
Serve this dish to your family and friends. Make sure you tell others why the recipe means so much to you.
Particular tastes or scents may make you feel extremely close to your mother. In fact, the senses may cause you to become overwhelmed with emotion. Tastes and flavors can be powerful emotional triggers. Certain scents may have such strong associations that baking may feel like a eulogy for your mom.
5. Visit a Childless Mother
One way to honor your passed mother or grandmother is to do something kind for others who are suffering on Mother's Day. Do you know anyone who has lost a child through death, estrangement, or even distance? Spend time with that person on Mother's Day.
Although you can't replace a missing child, and she can't replace your missing mom, you may find solace spending time together on this challenging day.
6. Listen to Your Mother's Favorite Music
Create a playlist of your mom's favorite music and spend Mother's Day listening to some of her favorite songs. Sing, dance, laugh, and cry as you remember your mom cranking up the car radio when her favorite tunes played.
Maybe your playlist will include Elvis or the Beatles. Maybe your mom listened to Stevie Wonder or Madonna. Regardless, turn up the volume and let your mind wander back to the good old days.
7. Watch Your Mother's Favorite Movie
Spend Mother's Day by watching mom's favorite movie. You know the one. Maybe she watched it every Christmas season, or perhaps it was her go-to movie that she would turn on while working around the house.
Share the film with your kids as you describe how your mom would make an event out of watching the movie every year.
8. Look at Photos or Videos of Your Mom
The best way to tell your mom, "Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven," is to keep her memory alive. Do so by looking at photos or videos of your mom. Share the images with your children or siblings. This may be extremely painful to do, especially if you lost your mom within the last several months.
Looking at these photos may inspire you to take more pics of the older people in your family. Photos become even more precious after a person is gone.
9. Plant a Tree or Flowers
Since Mother's Day is in May, it falls on the perfect time of year to garden. Plant a rosebush or lilac bush for your mom. Plant some annuals or perennials that remind you of your mom or grandma.
There's nothing as satisfying as digging into fresh spring soil after a long winter, and physical activity is sometimes helpful when you are experiencing grief. Add a decorative rock or stepping stone to your garden with a verse or poem perfect for memorial tree planting to complete your Mother's Day tribute.
Read our guide on how to plant a tree in memory of a loved one if you want more information.
10. Seek Advice From Books About Grief
If life has become unbearable since you have lost your mother or grandmother, you may need to seek counseling. These feelings are common for those who have lost an important person in their lives. At a minimum, read books about grief. If your children are suffering, there are plenty of children's books on death too.
Remember, grief isn't something that you need to "get through." Grieving isn't unhealthy. Grieving is the result of having lost someone you loved.
11. Pamper Yourself
Why not use Mother's Day to take a break from the daily grind and get a massage, facial, or pedicure? Self-care is not selfish, and because you’re doing something nice for yourself, it doesn't mean that you aren't honoring your mom or grandma's memories.
12. Go Out in Nature
Spending time in nature allows people to put things in perspective. It reminds us that there is more to life than the daily tasks of housework, meal preparation, and work responsibilities. Spending time in nature reminds us that we, too, will one day be gone.
Take a bike ride or a hike through the woods. Think about your mom or grandma as the sunshine warms your body and a breeze blows through your hair. Some find it easier to connect with the memories of loved ones when they spend time outside.
13. Spend Time With Your Children
One of the best ways to offer a tribute to your mom in heaven is to be the best mother you can be to your kids. Instead of spending Mother's Day by yourself reflecting on what you are missing, do something with the people who are important to you to remind you of the relationships that you have on Earth.
14. Do Something With Your Dad
Mother's Day is probably stressful for your dad, too. He may not know how to act now that his partner in life is not present to honor. Remember, you are not the only person who is grieving in your family. Also, remember that not everyone grieves the same way and on the same timeline.
If your dad wants to play golf on Mother's Day instead of spending it with you, that doesn't mean that he's not honoring your mom's memory.
Celebrating Mother's Day Without Your Mom
Your friends and extended family may not understand how hard Mother's Day is for you now that you have lost your mom. Unless you have gone through it yourself, it's hard to know how difficult days like this may be.
Cut your friends some slack. Most people don't know how to deal with death. They think that offering "thoughts and prayers" on social media is all they can do to help you. They may see that you have responded to condolence messages on Facebook, so you must be okay.
Also, remember that while you may be mentally prepared for the first Mother's Day without your mom, the second, third, or eighth Mother's Day may still be stressful. Grief doesn't have a set timeline. Don't be surprised if it ebbs and flows for the rest of your life.
However long it’s been since your mom has passed, taking the time to do something in her honor can help you process the grief of losing the woman who raised you.