Coping With the Loss of a Parent


When someone you love passes away, there are days throughout the year that are especially tough to deal with. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries can all bring up feelings of grief and loss. Mother’s Day is one of the many holidays that is difficult for me because my mother passed away in March this year. In the days leading up to the holiday, I begin to feel the weight of the sadness of not having a mother on Mother’s Day. In previous years, I would have gotten her a gift and a card. We would have spent the day together, shopping or getting our nails done, and going out to lunch. However, I knew that this year we would not be doing any of that.

After going through my first Mother’s Day without my mother, here are the tips I have for getting through holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries that stir up feelings of grief and loss.

Find A Way to Honor Your Loved One

To celebrate Mother’s Day last year without my mother, I attended an “alternative Mother’s Day workshop” at my yoga studio. They had a class for people whose mothers are no longer around in which we practiced yoga and honored our mother’s memories. Being around other people who understood what it is like to not have a mother on Mother’s Day gave me a sense of support and comfort. Some other options for honoring your loved one include planting a garden in their memory, going to their gravesite, or writing a letter to them.

Plan A Positive Experience

On Mother’s Day, I also went to a concert with my friends. I find music to be therapeutic, so hearing one of my favorite bands helped alleviate some of my sadness. Spending time with friends who are sensitive to my situation also helped me feel supported and cared for as opposed to alienated and alone. The concert was a healthy distraction from my grief and loss. Other options for healthy distractions include doing artwork, going to a sports game, or hiking outside.

Seek Support From a Counselor

I met with my therapist in preparation for my first Mother’s Day without my mother. She helped me prepare for the holiday by identifying the above plan that I ultimately implemented. She also helped me identify coping skills that I could implement to address any unpleasant feelings that might come up. If you are struggling with grief and loss issues and need help, contact The Light Program.