Thursday, November 26 , 2015, 7:43 pm | Fair 51º

Hospice of Santa Barbara Shares: How to Celebrate Mother’s Day After Her Death

Melinda Bie with her mother, Patsy Graziani, who died last year.
Melinda Bie with her mother, Patsy Graziani, who died last year.  (Hospice of Santa Barbara photo)

By Kelly Kapaun for Hospice of Santa Barbara |

Mother's Day is a day we celebrate our moms and it is usually a day filled with fun, laughter, phone calls, gifts and flowers, but if your mother has passed away, it can be a very difficult day to get through.

“I think about and miss my mother every day, but on Mother’s Day it seems so much more vivid that she is no longer here,” said Melinda Bie, whose mother died last year. “Mother’s Day was a day devoted solely to her and what made her happy, and that always included spending the day with her children. I no longer look for the biggest, gaudiest Mother’s Day card, nor can I pick up the phone first thing that morning and call her. It has become a day of remembrance and reflection rather than a day of fun and togetherness with my mother.”

It’s important to recognize the emotions we are experiencing. It is also healing to recall our mother’s passing by finding ways to celebrating her life and come to terms with any unresolved feelings. Every year we can try to find new and innovative ways to remember our mother and cope with the grief and loss we may feel by her absence.

Here are a few:

» Celebrate the life of your mother by continuing favorite traditions, such as decorating the house or baking goodies. Plan a dinner at your loved one’s favorite restaurant with siblings, relatives and friends who are also remembering her life.

» Buy your mother flowers. Go out and purchase your mother’s favorite flowers. Place them on your table, bring them to honor your mother’s grave, or plant them in the front yard to grow back every year stronger and more beautiful.

» Write a letter or card for your mother. Tell her how much you love her and care. Tell her how you are remembering and celebrating her life. Tell her how you feel. Place it on your dining room table on Mother’s Day and keep to read in future years.

» Share stories of your mother with your friends and family. Let her live through your memories.

» Make a donation to your mother's favorite charity.

» Set a place at the table. Leave a place setting for your mother at brunch or dinner. During the meal, talk about what she would be saying and feeling if she were present.

» Create a memory box. Have every family member bring a trinket, write some words, or make something creative that reminds them of your lost loved one. Decorate a box with photographs and memories, and encourage family members to add something new every year. Even add her favorite perfume to the box and spray it when you are missing her most.

» Make an online memorial. Creating an online memorial allows friends and family the opportunity to post, share feelings about the day and one's experiences, and feel connected.

» Join an online support group. Facebook has many open groups for support, such as Daughters Grieving Loss of Mother that are open for anyone to join and share their experience.

» Let the tears flow. It’s only natural to feel sorrow and loss on Mother’s Day when remembering one’s mother. Tears are good and shouldn’t be held back. They help with the grieving process.

» Seek local support. Hospice of Santa Barbara offers many different support groups, year round, free of charge. Find the one that’s right for you by clicking here.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 550 children and adults every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here. Find Hospice of Santa Barbara on Facebook and Twitter.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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