mothers-day-grief

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How to cope with Mother's Day grief when you've lost your mum

Let the experts help you survive Mother's Day...

This will be the second Mother's Day without my mum, and I will never forget the first one. Seeing all the cards and flowers in the supermarkets, the crazy amount of advertising on the TV, and just knowing how special the day used to be when my mum was here. 

I'm not going to lie, it's a tough day. And I know I'm not alone. Nearly 3 out of 5 (59%) women find Mother’s Day emotionally triggering. Women’s social network, Peanut, aims to help reduce feelings of pain and isolation by validating these experiences and letting women know they’re not alone. The campaign will appear across London from 14 March through to Mother’s Day on 27 March and it was inspired by the real-life Mother’s Day struggles shared by their community.

MORE: 7 expert tips on how to help a child dealing with grief

While some people (understandably) would prefer to pretend that the day doesn't exist, for me, I want to mark the day each year. My mum loved any day which involved presents with her name on, and having her kids around her, and Mother's Day would always be an occasion we always celebrated.

Last year, on the first Mother's Day without her, my family decided to mark the day by creating a photo book full of gorgeous photos with a CEWE photo book. It kept us busy as we laughed and cried over the memories and created a wonderful book that arrived days later (we saved opening it until our mum's birthday a couple of weeks later). 

As another Mother's Day rolls in, I have no idea what we'll do to mark the occasion this year, but I reached out to the professionals for their advice. Bianca Neumann, Head of Bereavement at national bereavement charity Sue Ryder, had some wonderful suggestions. 

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Bianca told me: "For those who have lost a parent, Mother’s Day might bring up difficult emotions. Unfortunately, due to the tragic loss of life experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are likely to be more people than usual who have experienced an unexpected bereavement and are facing another tough Mother’s Day this year. 

"In fact, many clients have said to me how they avoid supermarkets and shops around special occasions like Mother's Day, because they don't want to see all the aisles filled with cards, flowers and gifts."

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If you're reading this because you'd like to help someone you care about who might be struggling on Mother's Day, Biana said: "People can find it difficult to reach out when they are grieving. Perhaps you can send a card or care package of their favourite things – maybe a mix of snacks for when they don’t feel up to cooking, some flowers or a game that they could play to take their mind off the day." 

How to cope with your own grief on Mother's Day 

Write a card / letter to your mother 

Bianca says: "Sometimes getting our feelings out on paper can help us to process the complex emotions we are feeling. Writing a card or letter to your mother may feel strange but it is a way of validating your emotions and feeling closer to them, even though they are not there with you."

letters-to-mum

Letters To My Mum In Heaven, £10.99, Etsy

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Be kind to yourself 

"Don’t place yourself under too much pressure to be 'OK'. Emotions come and go like waves; they can wash over us and seem overwhelming. Allow yourself to feel and experience and know that in time, the waves will eventually recede."

Bianca added: "You might like to celebrate their life by doing something that reminds you of them, whether that’s buying your mother’s favourite flowers or lighting a candle in their memory."

flowers

Colourful tulips, £43, Floward

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mum-heaven-candle

For My Mum candle, £15.99, Etsy

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Find a support group 

"When you are grieving, you may find comfort in talking to others in a similar position. This could be a friend who has also lost a family member, or you could consider joining a support group, such as Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Community, where you will find that many other people are experiencing the exact same feelings as you."

Create a memory book

"You could share fond memories or, journal what your mum meant to you. You could create a photo album or create a memory book in your mother’s memory. Exploring all the happy times you spent together and giving you something to look back on in the future."

papier-mum-photo-book

Memories With My Favourite Person photobook, from £20, Papier

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Ignore the day completely  

"If you are struggling with the thought of Mother’s Day, you could ignore the day completely. Take the day off social media and do things that make you happy – maybe that’s getting stuck into arts and crafts, reading a new book, watching a Netflix show, going on a walk or simply having a lazy day."

daffodil-crafts

Paper Flowers Daffodil Craft Set, £35, NotOnTheHighStreet

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To find out more about Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support, visit SueRyder.org.

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