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Ten Grief Coping Strategies for Mother’s Day

If you’ve experienced grief, you are likely familiar with feeling overwhelmed and anxious leading up to and during special days or holidays. As each important date comes and goes, you’re reminded that the person you’re grieving isn’t there to enjoy them with you. Mother’s Day, in particular, can be especially difficult for those who have lost one or both of their parents. This day might trigger fresh waves of grief as you are flooded with memories and thoughts of what might have been. It is important to remember that this is common and that you are not alone! In this blog, we discuss why parent loss can be devastating, as well as ten grief coping strategies for Mother’s Day.  

Losing a Parent Can Feel Unbearable 

After losing a mom or mother figure, many people experience high levels of anxiety and heightened emotions around Mother’s Day. In fact, losing a parent can permanently affect our psychological well-being. Heidi Horsley, PsyD and director of the Open to Hope Foundation, says that the death of a parent is especially difficult because it is “marking the end of a bond we’ve known for our entire lives.” Parents, especially mothers, are integral to shaping our worldview and our sense of identity. Losing a parent can sometimes mean grieving the loss of what you thought your future would look like. 

Whether you are grieving the death of a mother who birthed you or a mother (or mother figure) who raised you, you are either grieving the bond you had or the bond you wish you had.” – Liz Schmitz-Binnall

Ten Grief Coping Strategies After the Loss of Your Mother 

Humans are messy. Emotions are complicated. And even those with less-than-ideal relationships with their mother can still be impacted by her loss. Grief often manifests in surprising ways, including frustration, inability to focus, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Sometimes, the psychological stress from grief can feel suffocating. This is why our team developed this list of coping strategies for those experiencing grief on Mother’s Day.   

“It’s a huge part of the mythology around emotion that if we look it in the eye, it gives it power… the reality is, if we look it in the eye and name it, it gives us power.” – Brené Brown

  1. Allow yourself to sit in the discomfort of your emotions. This process is messy, but once you start acknowledging each emotion – grief, guilt, anger, regret, relief, sadness – your grief suddenly becomes a little easier to handle.
  2. Release yourself from any guilt surrounding “expected” relationships and how you deal with the loss of a parent. Grief is different for everyone, and your experience isn’t “less than” because it seems to fall outside societal norms.
  3. It is okay to establish new boundaries as you navigate your way through grief. You might have to temporarily change your involvement level with projects or events before or on Mother’s Day. Remind yourself that you are not a disappointment. Saying “no” helps free you to say “yes” to things you want and need.
  4. Talk about your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend or loved one. Local support groups or online communities are also great places to find comfort on difficult days. 
  5. Listen to others share their experiences on parent loss to help you process certain emotions. Podcasts, Ted Talk Playlists, and our list of Recommended Books are all great places to start. 
  6. Writing down any anxious thoughts or conversations you wish you could have with your mom in a grief journal can help calm thought spirals and connect with your lost loved one. 
  7. Take a self-care day; however that looks for you. Get cozy on the couch with your favorite movie and foods, take a spa day, or try adventuring somewhere new. Do whatever helps you to live your truth during this time. 
  8. Celebrate the day by spending time with all the important women in your life. 
  9. Depending on where you are on your grief journey, honoring your mother’s memory might bring comfort on Mother’s Day – from planting her favorite flowers to baking her favorite dessert to visiting her favorite places.
  10. Talk with a therapist. If you are experiencing complicated grief, speaking with a professional therapist can help you to unpack your grief experience and develop different strategies to cope with loss. 


Whether this is your first or tenth Mother’s Day, losing your mom can still profoundly impact your life. Memories and missed opportunities can be as challenging to process as the loss of your loved one. It’s okay to make space for this grief, but it is essential to remember that it is never linear. Choose to be gentle with yourself today and continue moving forward at your own pace.