Mother’s Day without Mom

Remembering lost loved ones with new Mother's Day traditions

Hallmark staff
Mother's Day without Mom: Meaningful ways to honor lost loved ones at Mother's Day

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate the women who have loved, hoped, prayed and worked to make a difference in our lives. If you’ve lost your mother or a mother figure, Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet occasion—especially if this is your first Mother’s Day without your mom or grandmother.

So we asked our friends and family to share ways they have honored a mother’s memory. Maybe some of these ideas will help you remember the most important women in your life.

I take some flowers to the cemetery and have a talk with her to let her know what's going on. ‪— Faye B.‬‬‬

My mom passed suddenly nine years ago, and it’s still hard to believe she's gone. I go to the cemetery, but we also launch sky lanterns in her memory, either on the anniversary of her death or on Mother's Day. I also have a memorial garden planted for all of my loved ones who have passed. — Wendy B.

It's been about 12 years since we lost our mother from ovarian cancer. Mother's Day can be hard, but I know our mom would not want us crying on such a beautiful day. In memory of her, we look through old photos and remember all the good times we had with her and how she made us laugh. — Mae B.

My brother and I go to the beach every Mother’s Day. She liked the beach, but we mainly go to be together. She would’ve loved that. ‪— Lynn B.‬‬‬

I honor my Mom every day! I keep her very much alive in my heart. Mom loved yellow roses. So for Mother's Day, my kids always bring me yellow roses in memory of their Nona. — Debbie M.

We lost my mother-in-law to cancer several years ago. While she was in hospice, someone put a light with an angel on it on her nightstand. I asked for that after she passed. It sits on a shelf in our home, but when we gather, I turn the light on or put it in a more prominent place as a reminder that she is with us. — Julie G.

My sister and I are getting my mother and her sister bracelets that have my grandma’s handwriting incorporated into them. This is their first Mother's Day without their mom. — Sara W.

We usually visit my grandmother's grave on Mother's Day to pay our respects. We also go out for brunch since that was her favorite thing to do on Mother's Day. — Natalie K.

I don't live near where my mom is buried, so I just buy some of her favorite flowers to keep in my kitchen so I can smile when I see them. — Meghan K.

I visit the cemetery where my mom is buried and leave flowers. Every Mother's Day, I make her recipe for coleslaw and potato salad. I know she would be proud that I carried on her traditional dishes. — Sara R.

To honor my mother’s memory, every Mother's Day we play her favorite songs and cook her favorite meals. When I smell the food and hear the music, I can almost feel my mom there. — Leif R.

This will be our first Mother’s Day without Gran (whose birthday is just a week after), and since we don't live near where she's buried, we can't visit the cemetery with the rest of the family. We will just celebrate with her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting. — Danielle W.

I lost my grandmother a few years ago, and I find that just keeping her in my thoughts, as well as sharing special stories about her, helps. — Jennifer M.

My grandmother passed away a few years ago and my mom has been really sad. On Mother's Day they always talked, even though they lived far away. I often surprise my mom by emailing a picture of her mom (my grandma) with the great mom is not very technical, so she wouldn't usually access these digital photos on her own. — Kelly P.

Other ideas to help you pay tribute

  • Gather family for a meal featuring the things she loved to cook. Print off a copy of her favorite recipe as memento for each guest.
  • Plant one of her favorite flowers and enjoy it year after year. Tulips, lilacs and peonies are among the many plants that bloom in May—Mother’s Day month.
  • Have a picnic at one of her favorite spots. Better yet, get the picnic food from one of her favorite restaurants.
  • Did she love going to movies? Or did she have a favorite route she walked every day? Do something she loved with the people she loved.
  • Donate a flower arrangement to her church for Mother’s Day.
  • Donate a gift to a charity she supported.
  • Purchase a plaque in her honor at a local botanical garden or arboretum.