This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mum.

I remember my last Mother’s Day with my mum, we went to brunch with my daughter, who was the new centre of her universe. I remember my mum beaming with pride, as she always did, at having raised a daughter who had become a mother herself. She just loved her new title of “Granny” and would tell anyone who would listen about her daughter and granddaughter.

My last Mother’s Day with Mum

But this year is going to be different.

I’ve been thinking about this day for awhile now, approaching it as I do all other special occasions; with immense trepidation as I never know how I’ll react or when grief will strike.

And as one of the biggest retail holidays of the year, it’s kind of hard to avoid. With all the emails bombarding my inbox with subject lines like:

“Moms are our true cheerleaders”

“Show mom gratitude with these wellness gifts”

“Spoil mom with these incredible offers”

But I’m a mom now too. And underneath all the commercialism is really the loveliest sentiment; Mother’s Day is an occasion to honour the woman who carried you for nine months, who worked so hard and sacrificed so much all those years to raise you, and in my case, who did it all on her own.

So instead of hiding under a rock, which is what I might feel like doing, I’ve decided to be kind to myself this Mother’s Day. I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day in her honour, with my own two little ones who made me a mother and who give me meaning, hope and joy. I won’t set my expectations too high and I’ll allow myself to grieve. But not too much – my mum wouldn’t want that. I’ll go to brunch with my family, and happily accept the ”surprise” hand-made picture frame and pop-up card my daughter made me at daycare (and couldn’t wait any longer than the car ride home to show me).

I also did some research on what other motherless people do on this holiday, and I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite ideas for how to survive Mother’s Day if you’ve recently lost your own mother.

Talk about her

I often avoid talking about my mum because I don’t want to start crying. But the truth is that it can be helpful to share stories about her with loved ones to keep her memory alive. I’ll be sure to pull out the photos and videos of her to remember the special times we shared, and to remind my daughter about how much her Granny loved her and to teach my son about his Granny who he never got to meet.

Write her a card.

My mum and I were big on writing cards for every special occasion. And there’s no reason this tradition should stop just because she’s gone now. Many people find it therapeutic to articulate their thoughts on paper to help work through their emotions. So why not write a heartfelt message to your mum, just as you would have done any other year?

Continue your Mother’s Day traditions

One year, my mum and I went to Vegas for Mother’s Day. We had the best time, and I remember excitedly talking about how we would start a new tradition and spend every Mother’s Day in Vegas. Well, that didn’t end up happening, but we did continue to do something special every year together – whether it was getting our nails done or going for brunch. I always brought my mum flowers and we would always start the day with tea (and chocolate, obviously). My husband thinks that it might be a bit unreasonable to go to Vegas every year (I can’t see why…), but I’ll drink the tea and get my nails done and continue our other little traditions, just as if she were still here.

Give yourself the gift of time

My mum never cared to receive gifts for Mother’s Day (or any other holiday, for that matter). She didn’t want me spending my money on her, and didn’t feel she needed to be pampered. All she ever wanted was time with me and my daughter. And now that I’m a mother, I completely understand. All I want for Mother’s Day is to spend time with my family (and I could do without doing housework). I want to feel loved and appreciated. And I might just want some time to myself too.

Do a gratitude meditation

A nice way to remember your mom is to thank her and for the things she did for you and for others. You can do this as a gratitude meditation. Think about specific moments or experiences, like all the times she drove for 2 hours to your house in university, just to have lunch with you. Or when she came out for your birthday scavenger hunt pub crawl. Or when she brought you tea and chocolate in bed every time you went home to visit. Feel those experiences like as if you were re-living them, and really feel gratitude for your mother and all that she did for you.

Give yourself permission to grieve

This is sure to be a difficult holiday, especially if this is your first Mother’s Day without your mother. Share your feelings with people close to you, or allow yourself to cry into your pillow. It’s okay to feel all the feels and to grieve in your own way.

No matter what, be kind to yourself this Mother’s Day. You may feel sad, you may feel happy. Just know that whatever you feel is okay. And remember that your mother would want you to be happy and to go on living. Celebrate her today.

Happy Mother’s Day.

With love and gratitude,

One Reply to “How To Be Kind To Yourself On The First Mother’s Day Without Your Mom”

  1. This is beautiful, Kap-o-leen. You were the light of your mum’s life from the moment you were born. I know – there was never a shopping trip, or a Tuesday night dinner, or, later, a visit to the oncologist or a chemo treatment, that she didn’t talk about you with pride and pleasure.
    Happy Mothers’ Day, my sweet niece. Enjoy and remember and cuddle your babies. I love you.

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