Celebrating any holiday without my mother is challenging but Mother’s Day, well that’s an entire different kind of hurt, pain and longing. Each year since losing my mother I’ve needed different things on this special day. Some years I retreat. Some years I reclaim joy and celebration. Each year I find meaningful ways to honor her love.
Write her a letter. Write her a card. Write her. Tell her your thoughts and your emotion. Tell her your pain, your worries, and your fears. Tell her your success, your joy, and your happiness. Tell her all of the things you wish she was here to experience beside you.
Then, keep the letters in a special place and read them each year. Chances are you’ll see growth, strength, and grit in your continued living.
Now, Mother’s Day gifts are left to flowers on a grave or a memorial markers at a special resting place. There isn’t the need to shop for presents for the greatest woman you’ve known. Instead, take that money and spread the love. Go out into the world and pay for the coffee of a stranger. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through line. Give a larger and more generous tip to your waiter. Prepay for a cake at the local bakery. And each time you spread kindness, tell them it’s in memory of your beautiful mother.
Spread kindness in honor of your mother in any capacity. You’ll make people smile and you’ll get the chance to tell people about her.
Dedicate time to visit her– whether that is a special place, a memorial garden or her grave. Take time to be with her and though it looks different than you planned and extremely different than you ever wished, it is still meaningful and you’re still embracing the mother-daughter connection.
Don’t have a space to visit? Sit with her picture. Light a candle. Find a space that feel’s right for you. She is always with you, like a shadow, so any place you pick is the right one.
Carry on doing the things she loved. Carry on enjoying all of the things she enjoyed. Visit her favorite park, garden, shop, or church. Dine at her favorite restaurant. Engage in the activities she loved. Think of what would she spend her time doing, and do that. It will keep her memory alive and allow you to tell your family, children and others the things she found joy in.
Always bought her a hanging plant? Buy one for yourself or someone you love. Always eat Italian? Dine at your local pasta house. Try to find joy in the things she loved. Carry on with all of her favorite things.
Look up— or left or right, just pay attention. Ask her for signs that she is still with you, even from eternity. Then pay close attention. Maybe it will be a song. Maybe it will be a bird or a cloud or a butterfly. Simply ask her to show up and then see how she does.
But also, if you don’t find the signs you’re looking for, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t sending others that passed you right by.
For some this day will be too overwhelming to celebrate with others or with colorful flowers and cake. For you– relax, retreat and replenish. Be patient with yourself and be intentional about planning time to just be. Take a bath. Meditate. Pray. Read. Go for a walk. Do something to self-soothe. It’s different for each person. The goal is to find time to breathe, relax and rest.
Seek things that bring you comfort and calmness. It’s ok to request alone time. It’s ok to decline invitations. It’s ok to do what makes you the most at peace. Honor your needs today.
Can’t look back because it hurts too bad but also don’t want to remain still? Create new traditions. Find new ways to celebrate this day and the mother that you were blessed to be raised by. Craft this day to your needs, hopes, and wishes for the future. There is no better time than now to make traditions that suite your heart’s capabilities for this sensitive day.
Decide what you want Mother’s Day to look like now and then make it happen. Be sure to share your ideas with others so they know what you expect on this delicate day. Don’t be afraid to tell others what you don’t want, what you do want, and that sometimes you don’t know which is which. Advocate for your healing and your joy.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the daughters and sons of a mother gone too soon.
A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.