Mother’s Day can be an emotional holiday for those who have lost their moms. Regardless of whether this loss is fairly recent or happened some time ago, the inescapable emphasis on gifts, celebrations and togetherness can stir up feelings of grief, loneliness and nostalgia.

Doing something special to honor your mother’s memory can be very cathartic. Even a small gesture may help you acknowledge the painful vacancy she left behind and refocus on the many ways in which she fulfilled and enriched your life over the years.

This Mother’s Day, consider these thoughtful ideas for honoring the memory of the woman who played such an important role in your life.

Mother’s Day Tribute Ideas

  1. Buy Mom a Card

    It’s hard to avoid greeting card displays and advertisements in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day and seeing them can make you emotional. Consider buying a card that captures your feelings or describes your relationship with your mother. Thoughtful, serious or funny, the one you choose can help put your thoughts and feelings into words. If visiting the card aisle doesn't suit your purpose, tap into those memories and write Mom a heartfelt note. You can bring your tribute to a meaningul place you shared, to her gravesite, or keep it in a special place at home.
  2. Set a Place for Her at the Table

    On Mother’s Day, set an extra place at the dinner table for Mom. You might add a framed photograph at the place setting as well. Keeping her seat at the table can help you feel as though she’s still included in the family meal. Along with this idea, each family member can share a special memory of Mom or Grandma while you eat. Preparing your mother’s favorite dish or a special recipe she taught you is another way to embrace happy memories, rather than focusing on her absence.
  3. Buy Mom Flowers

    Bringing flowers to your mother’s gravesite is a lovely Mother’s Day memorial idea. While so many others are rushing about to buy last-minute gifts, cook meals, or make visits to parents and in-laws, take the time to visit your mother’s resting place for some moments of quiet reflection. A fresh arrangement of flowers can add some color and a touch of spring. If Mom’s gravesite is some distance away, ask a nearby family member or friend or the cemetery about placing a floral arrangement for you. Many funeral service providers have relationships with local florists to make ordering flowers easy. You can also buy a bouquet of Mom’s favorite flowers for yourself and place them in a prominent spot at home. Every time you look at them, you’ll be reminded of her.
  4. Visit With Another Mother

    This holiday can feel lonely if you can’t call or spend time with your own mother. Consider visiting an aunt, a neighbor, or a senior in a nursing home or senior center who might not have any visitors on Mother’s Day. Instead of being alone with your memories on this holiday, use the day to bring joy to another mother. Just be sure to check your state’s nursing home visitation policies, clear this plan with the facility ahead of time, and follow all current CDC COVID-19 guidelines to protect yourself, residents, staff members and other visitors.
  5. Donate Your Time

    They say charity begins at home. Keep Mom’s generous legacy alive by volunteering with a meaningful local organization on Mother’s Day. Serving meals at a food pantry, planting new flowers or vegetables at a community garden, working with animals at the local humane society, or reading to children through a hospital program are examples of volunteer opportunities that might reflect your mother’s interests and allow you to spend an otherwise tough day in service to others.

Missing Mom on Mother’s Day is natural. However you decide to spend the day, experts agree that it’s most important for you to listen to your heart and allow yourself to do as much or as little as you are able. Giving yourself permission to grieve for and honor your mother in whatever way you need is essential for coping with a parent’s death.

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