When Mother’s Day is Hard: For Those Who Have Lost Their Mother or Child

When Mother’s Day is Hard: For Those Who Have Lost Their Mother or Child

Mother’s Day.

Perhaps at one time, maybe just last year, this was a day full of flowers, hugs, laughter & good food.

It’s astonishing what a death can take away from us, that even a holiday like this, once so simple and sweet, can become dreaded and excruciating days of mourning.

Writing for a mortuary blog, I feel I have the special privilege to get to speak to the bereaved, to write about, confront, and open up these sorrowful topics that are so tremendously important.

There are two main groups of people I am thinking of as I write this blog:

Children who have lost their mother and have no one to wish a “Happy Mother’s Day” to.


Mothers who have lost children and who will be missing that sweet voice saying,

“I love you, Mom”

As a friend of a grieving person, there is most likely nothing you can do to somehow make this Mother’s Day feel wonderful and just like previous years. What you can do is extend love to your friend, talk about the mother or child that is missing. Acknowledging the loss is something we are often afraid to do because we think, “oh, if I say her name it will just make my friend sad,” the truth is, they are already thinking of and missing these people and likely wondering if anyone else is, too. Showing someone you remember is a precious gift to them.

“Heaven and earth may separate us today, but nothing will ever change the fact that you made me a mom”
Photo Credit: Beth Morey


As a mother who is grieving a child (of any age), Mother’s Day will require a tremendous amount of strength and patience as you encounter others who don’t know what to say and then, perhaps say the wrong thing. You are in a particularly difficult grief that no one should ever have to face.

As a child whose mother is no longer living, it will be hard to see others enjoying their mothers while you are grieving that special relationship.

But what can you do to remember your loved one this Mother’s day? You will know what is best for you, if there are lines you don’t want to cross or perhaps special traditions saved for this day.

–       Write them a letter recalling special memories, some of their unique quirks, and things that their life added to yours.

–       Journal/Think through the questions: 
“How do you make sense of all this?” “What are the lessons for you?” “How are you different because of your loved one’s life and death?”

–       GO – Get out of your house and visit one of your loved one’s favorite spots. Maybe there’s a bench in Dana Point that you both loved sitting at, a favorite meal at a café, a great ice cream spot, whatever it is, getting out can be a very positive and refreshing addition to your day.

–       Seek out support from others going through similar losses. We have a large representation of local support groups represented on our website, many churches can provide you with personal pastoral care and our resident expert, Becky Lomaka, can guide you to a group specific to you (email Becky at: blomaka@oconnormortuary.com).

 I want to say that only you can really know what is going to help you or hurt you as you go through Mother’s Day. Taking care of yourself is the goal here and grieving actively can be part of that but consider what you want to do carefully and without any guilt pulling at you. You will make it through this, and since you have to, I hope you can customize this Mother’s Day with what’s best for You.

Who are you grieving this Mother’s Day?

How will you be remembering them this year?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. samera says:

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  2. Hi Molly –

    Thank you for having the courage to write this blog. I am grateful that you have such deep insight to our friends and family who grieve on Mother’s Day. Life is short & sweet, we will never get over losing our Mothers’ or Children, we can only hope and pray that we can honor their memories and live life to the fullest.

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