New York State Funeral Directors Association

Mother's Day Can Be Tough When Mom is Gone

One of the most difficult challenges facing those who have lost their mother during the past year is coping with the merriment that surrounds the first Sunday in May.

Mother's Day can be especially upsetting for those who have recently lost their mom.

The loss of a parent has a great impact at any time but feelings of grief can be stronger now.

Joyous faces are everywhere; people are bustling about buying gifts, cards, and flowers, or talking about taking their mother to brunch. It's hard to ignore. The radio, television, newspapers, and internet are a constant reminder of the occasion.

Many grief counselors say that problems can occur if friends and family ignore the recent death of a parent.

It is much healthier to respectfully acknowledge the death of a beloved family member and then go ahead with family rituals.

A loving parent would want the celebration to continue. Maybe you will still buy flowers, attend a church service, or prepare and enjoy a favorite meal of mom's.

Victor M. Parachin, a grief educator and minister, offers some suggestions to help those who are grieving:

Create a memory book. Many find solace in documenting a parent's life in a scrap book. Include photographs, diplomas, newspaper clippings, awards, accomplishments and other reminders of your parent's life. Such a memory book can be comforting to you, and of great interest to children in the family.

Memorialize your parent. Donate the money you would have spent on gifts for her to a homeless shelter or favorite charity. Volunteer your time at a local charity that was supported by your parent.

Join a grief support group. Many find it extremely helpful to be with others who have experienced a similar loss because they can truly emphasize. A grief support group offers support and understanding and will help you to deal with the advice "to get over it." Your local funeral director may sponsor grief support groups or be able to refer you to one in your area. Many Hospice organizations offer grief counseling at holiday time as well as other times throughout the year.

Yes, losing a parent creates a dreadful void in your life no matter if you are young or old. Pieces of your past are now silent. Your mother is not there to share in your future joys. An important source of friendship, wisdom and counsel is gone.

Perhaps Mother's Day can serve as a tangible reminder to mom's memory.