Top tips to cope with grief this Mother's Day

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If you’ve lost your mum, or a child, Mother’s Day and the build-up to it can be incredibly difficult and sad. We’ve gathered some coping strategies from five of our Marie Curie experts that may help you navigate Mother’s Day without your loved one.

Mum in hospice

Allow yourself to grieve

Sometimes the anticipation of certain times of year can be worse than the actual days themselves. Perhaps the most important thing is to simply recognise that the upcoming days or weeks might be hard.

Do things differently this year

If the idea of doing what you always did is too painful, then think outside the box and do something different.

It’s OK if you don’t want to go out

Sometimes just having a nice bunch of flowers or a photo to look at, in the comfort of your home, and a still moment of reflection can help you through the day.

Gardens can be a healing space

Gardens can be a wonderful, quiet space to reflect on your loss. Some people like to plant flowers and it also means you can return a year later to see it has grown, which can provide some comfort.

Tell others how you wish to spend your time

Do you want to continue traditions, begin new ones or not celebrate it at all? Choose what you want to do and don’t feel guilty if what you decide on may not feel like it’s the ‘right’ thing to do.

Be kind to yourself

Grief can be exhausting. Look after yourself practically, physically and emotionally. If sleeping has become difficult, have a guilt-free afternoon nap. Don’t worry if this happens – you aren’t at your sparkling best so be gentle with yourself.

Reach out for support if you think you need it

Some people might feel awkward about offering their help, especially if they don’t know how to broach the subject. So if you want some company or support on Mother’s Day, make the effort to ask for it.

Claire, right, with her mum Maura

Claire, right, with her mum Maura. Claire shared advice on How to cope on Mother's Day without Mum

“Don’t be scared to remember your mum. Light a candle, raise a wee glass, look at photos, share stories of happy memories, or whatever you feel is best. Doing this might bring tears, but that’s OK.”
Claire, whose mum Maura received hospice care from Marie Curie

Involve children in decisions on how they want to spend their time

Ask them how they feel about Mother’s Day, and let them know that they can share any thoughts and feelings with you about the person who has died. They may be worried about upsetting you. It’s important that they always feel included, and they may even come up with some great ideas on what to do. 

It can also be helpful  to have a word with the child’s school to see if Mother’s day will be celebrated in some way. You can make sure a child the opportunity to say if they would like to be involved.

Have some quiet time to reflect on the good times you’ve shared

What did you enjoy doing together before your loved one died? You may find some comfort doing the same things you used to do together at this time of the year, such as sharing a favourite drink or visiting a special place.

Don’t feel guilty if you have moments of enjoyment

Allow yourself to enjoy brief moments of respite if they happen and don’t feel bad when they do.

Talk about your favourite memories

Take the chance to talk about your loved one. You could light a candle by a photograph or release a balloon in memory.


Our experts

Brigette Flye, Support Line Team Leader, Caring Services, Marie Curie

Sheila Healey, Social Worker at the Marie Curie Hospice, Liverpool

Jo Moore, Social Worker at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale

Katy Francis, Chaplain at the Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle

Dawn Barton, Social Worker at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale

Get support

We’re here for you with the support you need, when you need it. Call us on 0800 090 2309.

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