RESILIENCE: Tips for Celebrating Mother’s Day — Whether Your Mother is Present or Has Passed On

Mother’s Day happens every year in May

It’s a special day of celebration honoring mothers everywhere. Often it is celebrated by buying a gift, sending flowers, or treating mom to a meal she does not have to cook. However, many have suffered the loss of a mother: the mother who birthed them, a grandmother, a mother through adoption, mothers who have died and left husbands to raise the children, and so on.


My next-door neighbor is 103 years old. She is a daughter, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. When I asked her what she did for Mother’s Day in the past, she shared a childhood memory. She said, “When Mother’s Day came around, all the children wore a rose to church. A red rose was worn by those who had a mother living and a white rose by those whose mother had died. Each celebrated their mother.” Mothers both present and past were remembered.


Ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day


Celebrate MOM with a gratitude jar

Choose a jar of any shape or size that you find pleasing. Fill the jar with memories or special moments written on colorful paper, note cards, or just scraps. These can be collected today or throughout the year and presented to your MOM on Mother’s Day. To make it interesting, do not sign the memory and let MOM guess who it is from when she reads it during the celebration.


If your MOM has passed away, do this in remembrance as a tribute to her. Family members can take turns pulling a memory out of the jar and reading it to the group.

Either way, MOM is celebrated on this day.



Honor your MOM with the gift of flowers

There are a variety of flowers to choose from. Do you know what kind your mom likes? Here are some ideas you can choose from, some simple and inexpensive.

  • Potted plants
  • Hand-picked wildflowers
  • Roses
  • Mixed bouquet with a variety of flowers
  • A special tree for the yard


If your mom has passed away, you can take a bouquet of flowers and place them by the grave. You could also tidy up around the headstone.


Cook a meal for MOM or take her out for a special meal

What a surprise it would be for MOM to have someone else cook dinner. What is her favorite meal? Maybe she has a favorite dessert. Does she favorite restaurant? Possibilities are endless, and the gift is always welcome.


For those without a MOM to cook for, you can still celebrate by preparing a favorite food of hers on this day and paying tribute to her in remembrance. Maybe she left some special recipes that were handed down that can be used.



Celebrate with other MOTHERS

My neighbor Mabel and I often share memories of motherhood and life’s special moments. We laugh and share sad times, too. Mable has experienced many losses in her life and is the survivor of a twin sister and several other siblings. She still has family to celebrate this day.


Some do not have family to remind them that they are a mother, and their mother is also gone. If you have a friend or neighbor in this situation, consider sharing Mother’s Day with them in some way. Don’t hesitate to show your love and appreciation to make someone’s day.





One last thing…. Celebrate YOURSELF — MOM!

It is important to remember to take time for yourself as a gift to yourself. Every mom needs a ‘pause’ to regroup from the hectic pace of life. Here are a few ideas:


  • Create a bathroom spa environment and relax in a scented tub.
  • Go for a walk at the local park. Davidson has a lovely walk path around a pond with a central water feature.
  • Treat yourself to a massage, facial, or hairdo.
  • If you are alone, don’t forget to celebrate yourself!


Happy Mother’s Day!



Photos courtesy of Cheryl Barrett




Cheryl A. Barrett, RN, MSN, NC-BC, is a retired nurse with 30-plus years in a variety of settings: clinical bedside in ICU, staff educator, academic instructor both didactic and clinical, supervisor, home care education, editorial director of a nursing magazine and is a board certified integrative nurse coach.





In 2018 she published Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting Transformation, inspired by the death of her husband. She won the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year, 2018 in the category of Palliative Care and Hospice for her book. She is currently creating a companion workbook for those experiencing grief and loss.




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