Bereaved young people share their advice on how to get through Mother’s Day

February 2024

Mother’s Day can be especially difficult for children and young people who have lost their mum or another special female role model in their life. From adverts to social media posts, it can be difficult to avoid Mother’s Day and this can be a constant reminder that your mum is no longer here.

Our Full Circle partners Winston’s Wish asked children and young people what advice they’d give to other who are grieving this Mother’s Day. Here’s what they said:


1. Do whatever you want. No pressure, no expectations.

For some people, it will be a sad day, for others it may be a happy day, and some people will feel neither happy nor sad. For some people, it will be a day to remember your mum while others may want to avoid it, and each year may feel different. Allow yourself to do whatever feels right to you. There is no right or wrong way to feel and there is no right or wrong way to spend the day.

“I think it is important to remember that just because it is labelled as ‘Mother’s Day’, it doesn’t mean that you have to be sad. Grief is not linear, you will never just be sad about missing that person on anniversaries or special occasions. Allow yourself to do whatever you feel on the day. If you want to ignore it altogether, there is nothing wrong with that, and if you want to honour it then do. If you are feeling low about it, then allow yourself to be sad and miss her.” - Teigan

Read Teigan’s story: Mother’s Day is different every year

“Do whatever you need on the day. Some years I’ve spent it with friends and their mums, my aunt or by myself. There is no right or wrong way to spend the day when your mum isn’t here.” - Ann

2. Do things that remind you of your mum on Mother’s Day

If you feel able, you could take some time remember your mum on Mother’s Day. A good way to do this can be eating their favourite dinner, listening to their favourite music, or doing an activity that they enjoyed or you used to do together.

“Another way we coped in the earlier days was by having a special vase with her favourite flowers out on the day. This made her feel closer and most importantly, it made me feel like I still had a mummy because some days feeling motherless is unbearable.” - Phoebe

3. Buy or make a Mother’s Day card to remember your mum

Your instinct might be to avoid the rows of Mother’s Day cards in the shops, and that’s perfectly fine. However, some bereaved people like to buy or make a Mother’s Day card for their mum. It can be an opportunity to remember your mum. You could write her a message and maybe put the card on her grave, a special place or display it in your home, or you could keep it in a memory box.

“Buy the card. Really, I mean it. Buy the Mother’s Day card. You still have a mum. She’s just not here in the physical. Write whatever your soul desires onto that page. Your love for your mum, the memories, an update on your life. Post it, burn it, stuff it at the back of your bedside table, wherever you want it to go. I write to my mum every year. Wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day. Because she was and is the greatest woman in my life. How could I not?” - Amber

4. Talk about your mum

Mother’s Day can be a good opportunity to talk about your mum. You could talk to your family, your friends or people who knew your mum. You could talk about your memories or ask people about their memories of your mum – you might learn things you didn’t know before such as what she was like at school or the worst birthday present she ever bought.

“It’s okay to mention your mum to others, what she was like, what you liked about her. Sometimes people are worried to ask because they don’t want to upset you but it’s okay to speak about her!” - Ann

5. Give yourself permission to avoid social media on the day (if you want to)

It can feel like you are being bombarded with social media posts of your friends and their mums or from companies selling Mother’s Day gifts. So, some young people find it helpful to avoid social media on Mother’s Day. A number of companies also now give you the option to opt out of marketing emails for Mother’s Day.

“I sometimes try and not look on social media on this day as I think it can be hard to see others with their mothers. I don’t think I can ever explain the heart wrenching feeling of scrolling through Facebook on Mother’s Day looking at all the posts of people wishing their mums the best Mother’s Day.” - Teigan 

6. Celebrate other important people in your life on Mother’s Day

You could use Mother’s Day as a time to celebrate the other important people in your life, whether that’s your other parent, a step-mum, auntie, grandma, sister, or friend. Maybe, buy or make them a card, get them a present or take the opportunity to tell them how special they are.

“I know I’m one of the lucky ones with a beautiful dad – he is my best friend, my father and, in so many ways, he has been my mother too. He’s done everything he can to help keep her alive within me and for that I am so grateful – so for me, I celebrate him on Mother’s Day.” - Phoebe 

7. Reach out for support

If you need, reach out to a Winston’s Wish grief support worker. They will give you space to talk about whatever it is you’re feeling and offer guidance. Call 08088 020 021 or chat online at winstonswish.org from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. You can also email ask@winstonswish.org or use the 24/7 crisis service by texting WW to 85258


 

As Mother’s Day approaches on 10 March, we are sharing some tips from our members about how they have navigated this difficult date in previous years...