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Family Support Blog Series: Mother’s Day, How Do You Celebrate?

For those of us whose mother has died or whose child has died, Mother’s Day is never easy. We asked some of our donor families to share what they do on Mother’s Day. We hope that by sharing their words, you will find comfort and support.

Editor’s note:  Again this year Mother’s Day may be different in light of COVID-19.  We recognize that for some of you these changes might be a welcome relief from the pressures that typically exist.  And for others, the isolation might amplify how much you miss your mother or your child.  The blog below was published before COVID-19 and while some rituals and routines will need to be altered due to physical distancing, we can still remember and celebrate the love between a mother and a child.

It starts in April. Walk by the card section and you can see them…Mother’s Day cards. Some of us will see the display and make a mental note to come back and buy cards. Others will see the cards and will wish that Mother’s Day wasn’t so full of difficult and mixed emotions.  For those of us whose mother has died or whose child has died, Mother’s Day is never easy.

We asked some of our donor families to share what they do on Mother’s Day. We hope that by sharing their words, you will find comfort and support.

“On Mother’s Day, I have a Mass said in memory of my dear, Eric. I also write a note to the Pastor asking that they remember the Mothers who have lost children during the intentions of the Mass–grieving parents are usually overlooked on special occasions. Years ago, on the eve of each Mother’s Day, I started writing notes to my children telling them how proud I was to be their Mother and noting special things that I treasured about each of them.  After Eric passed, I found the note I had written that year tucked in his dresser drawer. It made me feel good that no words were left unsaid.  I will also visit the cemetery that day and place flowers on my son’s grave and say a prayer for all bereaved Mothers that struggle through this day and every day. And, I will still write that Mother’s Day note to my son for love never dies.” Mary S. Donor Mother

“On Mother’s Day I make it a point to focus on who my mom was and what she was passionate about. After losing my mom, Mothers Day and her birthday have become times of celebration. We always make a point to do something “Darlene would have loved” those days…. Whether it’s a day trip to the beach, heading to park for the day, or gardening.” Darlene S. Donor Daughter

“The title Mom is more important than any other one could ever be.  Never did I ever image that one day I would add on to that title and become a Donor Mom.  That title changes everything.  That title is what makes Mother’s Day so bittersweet.  Because on Mother’s Day one of my children is always missing.  And on that day the hole in my heart feels a little bit bigger.  Each year I am torn between happiness and sadness, always struggling to find a balance between missing my son Collin and wishing he were here and celebrating my three amazing boys who are still here with me.  Quite frankly, it can be exhausting and overwhelming.  We will spend the day either doing something together, or I will settle in and enjoy some quiet time on our deck, enjoying the weather, reading, reflecting, remembering. I have learned to be gentle with myself and give myself permission to experience all of them.” Nicki L. Donor Mother.

“When my child died, it put a big hole in my heart and I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day again because of that missing piece from my heart. As time goes on I began to heal and realized that even though Curtis is not here next to me, he goes on living in my heart. I love him just as much as my other children. I do miss him celebrating with us and always wish that he was still here and that is alright. So I hold on tight to my other children and go on living because that is what Curtis would want me to do. Now my daughter hosts a cookout and we come together to celebrate and we always remember those who can’t be with us but the love is always with us.” Vivian G. Donor Mother

“On Mother’s Day, over the years since Brian died, I have tried different activities, trying to find the “right” one.  I have settled upon one that gives me some  comfort and peace.  I go with a friend who knew Brian to a park, a garden, an arboretum, some place with the beauties of nature all around. We walk along, sometimes talking about Brian, sometimes not. But Brian is always there with us.  This year as I walk I also will be thinking of my mother, who is no longer with us,  but is now with Brian.  She died on April 17th, with my father by her side, holding her hand.  She loved flowers and plants and had an incredible green thumb.  Also,  speaking for myself, I might be sad sometimes when talking about Brian, but I always welcome any opportunity to talk about him.  I believe that is the greatest gift you can give a bereaved parent, sibling or grandparent…saying their child’s name and asking about them.”  Ann M., Donor Mother

“On Mother’s Day I accomplish one positive intention. Having something to complete on Mother’s Day helps me to get through the day, and gives me something meaningful to do with my time. Before Mother’s Day arrives, I set an intention for example, ‘On Mother’s Day I will say a prayer in thanks for my Mom’s life,’ or ‘On Mother’s Day I will kiss my favorite picture of my Mom.’  No matter how big or small the intention, completing it gives me a sense of fulfillment. Intentions connected to my Mother help me feel gratitude for and closeness to my Mom, which is what Mother’s Day has been about in the past. On this upcoming Mother’s Day my intention is to have a meal with my grandmother, Nana.  It is easy for a motherless child to feel worthless on Mother’s Day because our Mom is not here to celebrate. Nothing compares to looking into our Mom’s eyes, seeing her smile, and feeling her warm embrace. However I want to encourage you to set one positive intention for Mother’s Day, and accomplish it. I believe that it will inspire you to get through the day, and even experience a sense of content or joy.”  Teyona  J., donor daughter

The internet is full of beautiful essays about Mother’s Day. Here are a few that we particularly liked:

When Mother’s Day is Really, Really Hard


Mother’s Day Grief: Life Without a Mother’s Love



Being the Mother of a Child Who Died — On Mother’s Day


How do you spend Mother’s Day?