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Mother’s Day When Your Mom Has Passed

mother's day

Mother’s Day is just two and a half weeks away.  For most, it is a time of showering your mom with love and perhaps a gift of some sort.  It can be a big deal celebration or not, but on this day most thank their mother for creating the family that helped turn a gaggle of people into the family that we are today.  That is until your mother is no longer among the living.

Mother’s Day Again

My mother is no longer with us, and that is why I am writing this post today versus in two and a half weeks. For me, Mother’s Day can suck big time or can be a mere non-event. You never know for sure how it will hit you, so you have to be prepared. A couple of years ago, when it sucked big time, I did something that made me feel immensely better and I wanted to share it with you before Mother’s Day is here. So read on…. But before you move on, the featured image above the post title is my mom and me on her last birthday at South Street Seaport. We (her four kids) surprised her with a trip to New York City to see Kathie Lee and Regis who she watched every day while fighting cancer. She died several months later.

My mother died of colon cancer back in 1995. Ever since then, Mother’s Day for me has been a day that I try to ignore. No brunch with my mom. No flowers to send. No breakfast in bed like my sisters and I used to do when we were kids. Not even a phone call like when I lived in Chicago and she still in Hilliard, Ohio. It’s just another holiday that some get to celebrate and others wish they could but can’t.

The Reminders

I have a hard time on Mother’s Day and the days leading up to it even after 22 years. Maybe it is because I am repeatedly reminded of the holiday and therefore her. It could be because of the ads on TV, the displays at the stores, the greeting card section at Target, the restaurants promoting brunch that day or the fact that your friends are talking about what they are doing for their mom. This year, I am feeling her loss more because my dad died this past year and having lost both parents now makes my mortality even more frontal. Nonetheless, even though I still miss her every day, it makes me miss her more on this day than on most others.

This year feels like a couple of years ago when Mother’s Day hit me harder than I expected. I can’t remember why then, at least I know why, now.

A New Tradition

So a few years ago, I had gone to the grocery to do my weekly shopping. As I walked by the flower stand in the store, the flowers were all screaming “Happy Mother’s Day!”. At first, I walked by and just shrugged. But as I was checking out there was another small display of flower arrangements and bouquets, and I could not stop myself from buying a bunch of flowers.

After I had put my groceries in my car, I walked up to an elderly woman and asked her if she was a mother. She said she was, but her kids lived elsewhere. I handed her the flowers and said…. “my mom is not with us any longer, and so in her honor, I want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and give you these flowers.” She was so shocked and smiled from ear to ear. I got weepy. We hugged, and we were both on our way. That was it. But it was enough. I was in a great mood the rest of the day.

My mom has been on my mind a lot this year. I think I am gonna do it again. If you are in the same boat as me, maybe you can try this and see if it makes you feel any better when missing your mom this Mother’s Day. Even if it does not make you feel any better, you may make a stranger’s day.

I miss and love you, mom!







  1. Gina

    That is the best idea! My mother passed away when I was 26 and then my father when I was 35. I’m old enough to be your older sister now (that was 31 years ago) but, I still miss them. Thank you for sharing a great idea.

  2. Danielle Dones

    I’ve just started reading your blog and I love it! This was so beautiful,my mother passed a year and a half ago, and I still haven’t gotten over the painful memories of her illness and the way she had to spend her last years with us,
    Thank you.,.btw, I started reading you because of Natalie Mason, love her blog too!

  3. Katy Reuter

    So wonderful that you do this…brought tears to my eyes. I’m enjoying your blog!

  4. Gia

    I like you.I think I’m going to enjoy your blog.

  5. Luci Secord

    This touched me a great deal RICK because, as you know, I loved your mom a lot. I love the pictures you posted and I know she would be so thrilled a your beautiful tribute. I remember that New York trip….she was beyond happy. And if I remember correctly, she didn’t think you were coming and you walked in the restaurant and surprised her! She glowed for weeks after she came home. And you nailed it…….what a wonderful job she did turning her gaggle of four into an incredible family. There is no better Mothers Day gift than siblings becoming life-long friends!!!

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