Mother’s Day Without your Mom

Cynthia L. Eppley 05/05/2021, 05/06/22

Mother’s Day

We are coming up on Mother’s Day this coming weekend.

Already you see the signs around you: circulars are chock full of gift ideas for Mom.

Flowers abound in the stores.

Perfumes and chocolates.

Walk into a card shop and you’ll be met with rows of cards—from the silly and irreverent, to deep heart felt sentiments.

The Bereaved

But what do you do when your mother is deceased? Is there a card that can sufficiently sum up the mixed emotions you feel?

Mother’s Day Recognition

One of my friends recently told me she hated Mother’s Day.

Do we need to recognize it set apart from every other day?

And I remember well the church service where carnations were handed out to the women:
one color if you still had your mother, one if she was deceased.

Do I want to remember that she is gone?
And that I stand out with my colored carnation that marks me as a person of loss?

Painful Process

It is a painful process to go through your first Mother’s Day without your Mom. This may be the hardest recognition:

“My first Mother’s Day without my mom. I long to hug her again and miss the relationship that we had before she became so debilitated from depression. I am sad that none of us could be there with her when she died.”

“Maggie graduates on Sunday from Penn State. I know mom and dad will be watching from heaven beaming with pride. I miss her everyday. My routine was to call her when I left school each day. There are times I still go to dial her number.”

Motherless Daughters

The loss of our mothers becomes a defining moment in our lives.

The book Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss (1995) by Hope Edelman explores the profound pain of mother loss among women.

”When my mother died, I knew no woman my age who had experienced mother  loss. I felt utterly and irrevocably alone. In  college, where new friends knew only as much about me as I was willing to reveal, I told few people  my mother had died. I searched the university library and local bookstores for writings about mother loss. In each book I found about  mother-daughter relationships, I quickly flipped ahead to the  chapter about a mother’s death, but discovered they all assumed the reader would be in her forties or fifties when her mother dies.  I was eighteen.”  –excerpt from Motherless  Daughters.

Young Loss

For those who have lost their mothers when they were quite young, the pain of loss is raw:

“It’s weird how the memory photos fade over time. It is so weird! I didn’t realize how drastic the fade was until I thought about a childhood memory and could barely “see” her remembering… I have tons of pics so I can see her face. What kills me is I have a hard time remembering what she sounds like. Her voice and her laugh. And the way she would call my name. I have home videos that I can’t find (of course) wish I could to hear her.”

Mature Loss

We may have lost our mothers when we are more mature. The loss is still real:

When I lost my Mom, I lost my person. She got me. I know now I can never replace that.”

“I still miss my mother………thinking how joyful she would be watching her grandsons in their adulting day to day.”

“I dream about my mom often. At first there was a re-occurring dream about me calling her for a recipe and then one dream she told me to stop calling her that I was now the keeper of the recipes. And I am. My daughters call me often for a favorite grandma recipe!”

“Sadly I no longer have my mother and I miss everything about her. Even our “disagreements”. 

“I still sometimes reach for the phone to call her and it hits me all over again.”

“My mother has been gone for 16 years. I miss our weekly talks via phone. We easily chatted for an hour or more. It’s how I started my Saturdays. I really miss that relationship.”

“There is so much to say about wishing my mom was still here and missing her so much. But, one of the hardest things is having sweet little babies and not having her here to watch them grow up, be a part of their childhood, and just be there to text or call during the hardest moments and most joyful moments of parenting!!  I have found I am having some tough emotions erupt because I want to be the very best version of myself for my daughter and not miss my mom so much in the process. I find I am having a big a hole in my gut wishing my mom could share in this journey too. It has been 5 years….but it truly doesn’t get easier!”

Current Loss

Even with our mothers here, we still long to be with them and treasure the moments:

“I LOVE my mama. She’s one of my best friends since I was born. I enjoy spending time with her, talking, laughing, crying and having fun. She’s my prayer warrior. When she’s no longer here on earth, I have the hope & joy of knowing we’ll spend eternity together in heaven. My mama’s got skills too! She’s one smart cookie! She loves her family and friends. She has a tender heart. There’s SO much more to say. I love my mama!”

“Yes my Momma is still on this side of heaven. The hardest part is not being to go out with her whenever. planting flowers for her every mother’s day.”


My mother will be gone 12 years this August.

I still long for her smile and her laugh. I remember our last long hug; I held on feeling her warmth and catching her scent.

I think of her during celebratory events: a baby shower honoring the baby to be.

And it hits me hard that she never knew my own grandchildren.

Weddings, showers, funerals: they all have their poignant view of what could have been. 


Weddings, showers, funerals: what could have been but also what is: Reasons to celebrate!

For this Mother’s Day, we miss our mothers.

We have the rituals and traditions that we celebrated together.

I will plant flowers in my garden beds, and remember the ones that are from her garden.

I will stake the tall yellow iris and pass a few on to a family member.

We will call our son and rejoice in the recent birth of our new grandchild.

My mother’s voice may fade over time.

But the legacy is strong and the legacy lives on.

Her very life was, and is, a reason to celebrate.

Published by Counseling from a Christian View

Counselor, Teacher, Wife, Mother and Grandmother. It is a privilege to serve God. All my roles have taught me more about God's grace and mercy. And all of life is counseling.

One thought on “Mother’s Day Without your Mom

  1. Thank you for this! I am sharing with all my contacts. I love the beautiful photo.
    You can see and feel the joy and love. Cheryl Tatreau


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