Family and Friends Lifestyle Mental Health

Find Peace on Mother's Day, Even When You're Grieving

Two women hugging while at home.

Choose the health content that’s right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox.

Cards, candy, flowers and luncheons are just a few ways we celebrate the mother figures in our lives on Mother's Day. But what's meant to be a joyful occasion can be painful for those grieving for a parent, spouse or child. And for some, every commercial and greeting card display is simply another reminder of their profound loss.

If that's how you're feeling, you're not alone. It isn't uncommon for holidays to trigger a tidal wave of feelings. But the good news is there are some effective strategies for gracefully managing the day.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Feelings are simply that – feelings. They are neither good nor bad. Whatever you're feeling right now – sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness, anxiety, yearning, despair or bitterness – is OK. Grief is a complex journey that takes us through a wide range of emotions. And hiding your feelings away can hinder the healing process.

There's also no standard timeline for grief. Even when you experienced a loss 10 or 20 years ago, you may still feel its sting during holidays. For example, remembering Mother's Day brunches with your grandma may still trigger tears of sadness long after she's gone.

Openly expressing your emotions will help you process them in a healthy way, and over time, happier memories should resurface and become a source of comfort and joy.

Consider Modifying Traditional Celebrations

Especially if your loss is recent, you may wonder if you should even celebrate Mother's Day. Everyone's grief experience differs, but it's OK to observe the holiday… or not. It's all about what feels right to you.

If you choose to opt out, it's important to communicate your decision. Even with a shared loss, your family and close friends may still want to observe the occasion. You can be gracious about their decision while setting boundaries for yourself.

On the other hand, if you're feeling like a celebration is still in order, you could try:

  • Avoiding social media. Cheerful graphics and family photos can be distressing for someone grieving on Mother's Day. Try staying off social platforms for the weekend.
  • Creating new traditions. Rituals help to bind families together, but they can still evolve. Make new memories by picnicking in the park, planting a tree together or hosting a mother-daughter spa day.
  • Focusing on self-care. Reading a book, enjoying a relaxing bath, taking a walk or spending time in nature are great ways to nurture your spirit.
  • Marking the occasion privately. In addition to — or instead of — a group celebration, honor your loved one on your own. Visit their favorite spot, write in your journal or look through cherished photos.
  • Sharing a memory. During a family get-together, tell a favorite story about your loved one. Ask others to do the same if they're comfortable. Consider letting attendees know beforehand so they're not surprised by this addition.

Reach Out for Help When You Need It

When you're grieving, it's helpful to connect with others who understand. If you're feeling overwhelmed as you approach Mother's Day, reach out to friends or family who may be feeling the same. Sharing your experiences can provide mutual comfort and support.

If your acute feelings of grief still linger months after a loss or interfere with your daily life, it may be time to talk with a doctor. A licensed mental health professional can help you manage overwhelming feelings and develop a healthy care plan.

Therapy can also be a safe space to talk and explore unresolved issues. With proper care, you should be able to carry memories of your loved one with feelings of appreciation instead of just sorrow.

AdventHealth Cares for Your Whole Health

Our caring providers are here to help with personalized plans to address your physical, emotional and spiritual health so you can thrive.

Learn more about our behavioral health services. Cards, candy, flowers and luncheons are just a few ways we celebrate the mother figures in our lives on Mother's Day. But what's meant to be a joyful occasion can be painful for those grieving for a parent, spouse or child. And for some, every commercial and greeting card display is simply another reminder of their profound loss.

If that's how you're feeling, you're not alone. It isn't uncommon for holidays to trigger a tidal wave of feelings. But the good news is there are some effective strategies for gracefully managing the day.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Feelings are simply that – feelings. They are neither good nor bad. Whatever you're feeling right now – sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness, anxiety, yearning, despair or bitterness – is OK. Grief is a complex journey that takes us through a wide range of emotions. And hiding your feelings away can hinder the healing process.

There's also no standard timeline for grief. Even when you experienced a loss 10 or 20 years ago, you may still feel its sting during holidays. For example, remembering Mother's Day brunches with your grandma may still trigger tears of sadness long after she's gone.

Openly expressing your emotions will help you process them in a healthy way, and over time, happier memories should resurface and become a source of comfort and joy.

Consider Modifying Traditional Celebrations

Especially if your loss is recent, you may wonder if you should even celebrate Mother's Day. Everyone's grief experience differs, but it's OK to observe the holiday… or not. It's all about what feels right to you.

If you choose to opt out, it's important to communicate your decision. Even with a shared loss, your family and close friends may still want to observe the occasion. You can be gracious about their decision while setting boundaries for yourself.

On the other hand, if you're feeling like a celebration is still in order, you could try:

  • Avoiding social media. Cheerful graphics and family photos can be distressing for someone grieving on Mother's Day. Try staying off social platforms for the weekend.
  • Creating new traditions. Rituals help to bind families together, but they can still evolve. Make new memories by picnicking in the park, planting a tree together or hosting a mother-daughter spa day.
  • Focusing on self-care. Reading a book, enjoying a relaxing bath, taking a walk or spending time in nature are great ways to nurture your spirit.
  • Marking the occasion privately. In addition to — or instead of — a group celebration, honor your loved one on your own. Visit their favorite spot, write in your journal or look through cherished photos.
  • Sharing a memory. During a family get-together, tell a favorite story about your loved one. Ask others to do the same if they're comfortable. Consider letting attendees know beforehand so they're not surprised by this addition.

Reach Out for Help When You Need It

When you're grieving, it's helpful to connect with others who understand. If you're feeling overwhelmed as you approach Mother's Day, reach out to friends or family who may be feeling the same. Sharing your experiences can provide mutual comfort and support.

If your acute feelings of grief still linger months after a loss or interfere with your daily life, it may be time to talk with a doctor. A licensed mental health professional can help you manage overwhelming feelings and develop a healthy care plan.

Therapy can also be a safe space to talk and explore unresolved issues. With proper care, you should be able to carry memories of your loved one with feelings of appreciation instead of just sorrow.

AdventHealth Cares for Your Whole Health

Our caring providers are here to help with personalized plans to address your physical, emotional and spiritual health so you can thrive.

Learn more about our behavioral health services.

Recent Blogs

A Senior Wipes His Forehead While Out in the Hot Summer Sun
Blog
Heat Wave Poses Extra Risk to Patients on Certain Medications
A young woman explores her choices for menstrual medication.
Blog
First Aid Kit Essentials
Blog
Your 2024 Wellness Checklist
A Physician Checks a Smiling Baby's Breathing with a Stethoscope
Blog
Identifying and Caring for Hernias in Children
Blog
What to Talk About in Therapy
View More Articles