Mother’s Day is a tricky time of year for those living with a grieving heart. Read GriefLine’s latest advice on how to approach the day when you’re grieving.

A girl can be seen on the phone sat on a sofa. She has a solemn look on her face as she cradles her knees.

Mother’s Day can be a time of love, joy and celebration for many. However, for those who have experienced the death of their mum, mother figure or child, it can be a bittersweet occasion, often triggering a range of emotions and acting as a painful reminder of their absence. 

Be prepared for an emotional day, particularly if it is your first Mother’s Day without her. Your circumstances and feelings will dictate your mood and how you decide to approach the day.  It is okay to grieve the relationship you have lost as well as mourn the loss of hopes and dreams you had for the future.  

In families with complicated, strained or difficult relationships, Mother’s Day can be a source of stress that can result in many conflicting thoughts and feelings. A desire to celebrate, honour precious memories and reflect on the impact they had on your life can be intertwined with feelings of anger, sadness, regret or even relief.  

You might feel guilty for not feeling as you think you should. You might feel judged by others if you don’t act as they expect you to do. You may feel the need to do the right and dutiful thing. However, that may not necessarily be the right thing for you in your grief journey.  

Mother’s Day and the run up to it can be a really triggering time and comes with ever-increasing commercial and social pressures of how the day should be. This can be overwhelming, particularly when you are feeling vulnerable.  

Grief is unique to each of us and deeply personal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but it can be an opportunity for reflection, healing and growth. Please remember that GriefLine is a safe, non-judgemental space for you to talk about how you feel as well as receive emotional support and discuss other bereavement support that may help you. 

1. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings  

Feeling upset and emotional is inevitable, but it is also part of the healing process. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you are feeling, even if it is painful.  

Grief is a necessary and natural process. Try not to fight against what you are feeling. Going through these emotions can help you to overcome them and move forward. Acknowledge that what you are going through is hard and that you are doing your best.  

2. Put yourself first 

Be prepared to deal with people, things or events that stir up unexpected feelings and random thoughts and emotions.  

Be kind to yourself and don’t shy away from asking for support, whether that is family, friends, a support group or online community. Connecting to others with a shared experience who understand what you are going through may help you feel less isolated and alone. 

3. Talk about how you are feeling

If you feel like you are struggling, reach out to a relative or close friend and tell them how you are feeling. 

It is important for family and friends to be mindful of those who are grieving and to consider how they may be feeling on Mother’s Day, but they might not know how to broach the subject with you. Asking them to check in with you and how you are feeling can help you feel acknowledged and supported at what can be a difficult time.  

Or why not try writing down how you feel. This can be a helpful way to process your emotions and feel less stressed. Putting it down on paper may make you feel better by giving you some space from negative thoughts.  

4. Be gentle with yourself this Mother’s Day and know that you are not alone

If you’d like to speak to a member of the GriefLine team, GriefLine is open from 8am to 5pm every week day and up to 8pm on Tuesday and Thursday. You can call GriefLine on 01279 945089.

On weekends, when GriefLine is not available, you can:


This blog was written by Elaine McManigan. She is a person-centred counsellor and a Registered Member of the BACP. Elaine works at St Clare Hospice as the Family Support Counselling Co-ordinator.

Call us today on 01279 945089Call Griefline today on 01279 945089 - the helpline for grief bereavement and support