Grief, Mother Loss, Mother's Day, Mother's Day Without My Mother, Motherless Daughter, Without my mother

12 Ideas for Motherless Daughters on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is challenging for those of us without our mothers. It’s a difficult day for people who never knew their mothers and for those abandoned by the person who was supposed to love them more than anything. I was blessed to have a devoted and loving mother for the first eleven years of my life. This piece is written from this perspective.

I’ve written previous blogs about Mother’s Day. I personally experience two every year: Ireland’s Mother’s Day in March, and here in the USA in May. Honestly, one is enough, but as I’m from Ireland my feed announces Mother’s Day in all of its glory both times of the year. Around the globe mothers are celebrated and this is a wonderful thing, but for many it is a sad day.

I found this sweet little card that I made for my mammy when I was probably five or six years old. Dad saved it and gave it to me along with a couple of others. The card and the cute little message inside bring me close to tears. Mammy died when I was eleven.

Mothers day card

Motherless women are asking how they should spend Mother’s Day when they no longer have their mother around to celebrate. For some it is the dreaded first Mother’s Day since a mother’s death and it is not going to be easy. It’s probably going to be very painful. But there are some things we can do to make it bearable and special. Possibly even fun. Here are 12 ideas:

  1. Find a time in the day, preferably morning to meditate for five minutes or fifteen if you can, whatever feels good to you. Light your favorite scented candle. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and invite your mother into your space. Hold her in your thoughts. Focus on the gratitude you feel for your mother and the gift of life that she gave you. Reflect on some memories you have of her. Let the tears flow if they come. Grief is love, remember. Breathe.
  2. Display a picture of your mother in a prominent place. Wear a pendant containing her photograph throughout the day. Hold her in your heart. Speak to her.
  3. Buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers, for your mother, and place them in your home. Flowers lend cheer and beauty to a space. They can remind you of the love you have for your mother and the love she had for you.
  4. Is there a song that reminds you of your mother? Or a song that brings you peace? A song that deeply moves me is Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’. The first time I heard it I thought the song had been written for me. Have a good cry if you need to.
  5. Create a collage using pictures from magazines or inspiring photo journals. Paste pictures that remind you of your mother onto a large piece of card stock or paperboard. I did this once with the Portland Motherless Daughter’s group when I was the organizer. We sat around together working quietly on our collages and then those who wanted to, shared their pictures. The collages were beautiful. Mommas were represented by the choice of flowers, colors and symbolic pictures selected.
  6. If you are a mother let yourself be treated by your family and celebrated. It is what your mother would want. And you deserve it.
  7. Go to your local bookstore, your library, or online if that’s your preference and order one of the books on my list of 10 Books I Recommend for Motherless Daughters. I suggest going to a bookstore or library because the act of getting out of the house with a goal in mind will allow you to focus on something else for a while. Perhaps you’ll pass a beautiful tree on your drive or better yet, on your walk if that is an option. If you have one of these books already at home you might want to settle in to a cozy chair with a cup of hot tea or coffee and reread it.
  8. Read blog posts by motherless daughters. Reading about other people’s experiences can bring comfort. One feels understood and less alone. My blog A LOVELY WOMAN has several blog entries about mother loss and I also have a Facebook page where I post about grief regularly. Project Brave birds is an inspiring page dedicated to celebrating the journeys and achievements of brave girls and women who have lost their mothers around the world. Without My Mum is an active private group page hosted by Leigh Van Der Horst where women share their feelings on mother loss and offer up support. And the Motherless Daughters Facebook community page shares many articles on mother loss including my own. These are valuable and loving places to go for comfort and support.
  9. Write a letter to your mother. This is therapeutic and can be a valuable exercise while grieving. Let yourself cry and laugh as you write & release whatever needs to pour from you. Is there something you really want to share with your mother today?Put down the words. It may even turn into a book!
  10. If you know somebody who has lost their mother invite them to meet for coffee or a walk in the park. Dedicate an hour to talking about your mothers. Or seek out a Motherless Daughters meetup group in your city. Host a potluck for motherless daughters or work on that collage I mentioned previously with other motherless daughters. Spend time with those who understand the tremendous impact of this great loss.
  11. Take part in this new Mother’s Day gift swap idea. I’m unable to participate this year but I’d love to hear from those of you who try it.
  12. If you just want to get away from it all plan a trip. Travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Go in honor of your mother. Plan something ahead of time that will keep your mind off the Hallmark holiday. I often take a trip on this day and I will be traveling again this May. I make the day about what I want it to be. If you can’t afford to travel somewhere or you can’t get away for an entire day take a walk in your favorite park, go for a short hike or a drive in the countryside. Go solo or bring your favorite person or a precious pet. Immerse yourself in nature. It is truly healing.

We are going to feel lonely, despairing and possibly unheard this Mother’s Day. It isn’t helpful to conceal or deny our emotions. But also let us remember that we carry our mothers with us wherever we go. They live on through us and they want us to be happy and to live our lives in joy. This is not always easy, but I believe it’s possible and it’s certainly worth a try.

Much love,

Carmel X

Like or follow my public Facebook page here where I frequently post articles, quotes & information about mother loss, grief and the writing process.

They are not dead who live
In hearts they leave behind.
In those whom they have blessed
They live a life again,
And shall live through the years
Eternal life, and grow
Each day more beautiful
As time declares their good,
Forgets the rest, and proves
Their immortality.
They Softly Walk by Hugh Robert Orr

58 thoughts on “12 Ideas for Motherless Daughters on Mother’s Day

  1. LC says:

    The days leading up to it are so difficult with cards & flowers advertised everywhere.
    I like to not make plans for the day. Too much of an expectation & can be overwhelming if I change my mind. I like to spend the day with my kids going to lunch, movie or park. Simple & sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope Herrington says:

    My mother passed in March 2010. 3 months before my son, her first grandchild was to graduate high school. All she wanted was to hang on til then but the cancer had different plans. So the first Mothers in May was particularly painful. Mother’s Day was a big deal in our family. I still bought her a card. I propped it up on the bedroom dresser and wept. Each year is different than the last. Some go by easier and some not. She was 65 years old, and I 44. So I was so blessed to have her for all those years. I’m so sorry for those of you who lost their mothers at such a young age, or never really knew them at all. The one thing that gets me by and really sustains me is knowing that she would want me to be happy and living a beautiful life. That’s what I want for my children. I cry when I have to, and by God I laugh and smile remembering the love she gave so freely and the precious time we had together here on this earth. Her spirit lives on inside of me. When I share myself with others and the world I can feel her with me smiling and cheering me on! Happy Mother’s Day and may Gods amazing grace and the Holy Spirit be yours. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’œβœŒπŸΌπŸ₯€πŸ‘‘πŸž

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donna throckmorton says:

      This is my first Mother’s day without my mom. She just passed away April 29, 2017. So I’m not sure what to do on this day as it was our special day together. I’m still mourning over the loss of her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Donna, I’m so sorry to learn of the very recent loss of your mom. I do hope that you have friends and/or family to rely on for comfort and companionship at this difficult time. It’s not going to be easy on Sunday. Sending you love and hugs. X


  3. Chrissie says:

    Thanks Carmel, My sister In-law and I exchange gifts and have a nice dinner. Her boys always forget and mine don’t care so we do this in remembrance of our Momma’s and in celebration of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patty Hartley says:

    Beautiful written. My mom passed away 19 years ago, and I still miss her so much. I rember her telling me “the pain is never going to go away but time will make it more bearable”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cate says:

    This is the second Mother’s Day without my mom. The first one was very hard, and this one is just as hard. I am thankful for the time that she had with us on this earth, and for all the memories that we shared. Some days are harder than others, like a punch in the stomach. Miss her so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Delinda Bliss says:

    Thank You For Your Ideas. I Will Indeed Do At Lest One Of These. It Will be Doubly hard For Me For I Am The Youngest Of 3 Girls Who Live Far From Me And this Years Mothers Day Falls On My Mama’s Birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Michelle says:

    today is the 20 year anniversary of my mother’s death in 1997 May 10th was the day before Mother’s Day so today is going to hard day for me but God has sustained me one of my good friend she took me out to lunch then we stopped at a car dealer and she almost bought a car so my mind has been preoccupied all day so I thank her for that

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Angie Gay says:

    My beautiful mother passed away Jan 29th of this year just four months before my oldest son her first grandson was to graduate high school. She tried so very hard to hang on I think especially for me because I lost my husband unexpectedly 10 months before. However cancer is a nasty disease and it other plans. I know mom would want me to celebrate with my kids and remember how much she loved me and that’s she is watching over me so that is what I am going to do. Thank you for the ideas I think they will help my sister and I. God Bless You and Happy Mothers Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Donna.Mitchell says:

    I lost my moma on nov.30 2016, thats when my heart stopped ,she was sick along time and as selfish as it is ,i wanted to keep her here.My mother was the best part of me and i miss her so much , this will be my first md without her .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mother. She died August 26,2016 from pancreatic cancer. My Father died 4 months later on Dec 31,2016. I am still having a hard time believing I’ve lost both my parents and so quickly.
    Thank you for the list of suggestions. I know it will be a difficult Mother’s Day without both my mom and dad.
    Dad always gave me flowers and a box of Russell Stovers candy on Mother’s Day, to make it special for me too.
    My heart goes out to all who are without their mother. 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Esther, Thank you for your comment. I am so sorry that you went through losing both of your dear parents in such a short space of time. That must be so difficult! Sending love and hugs for Sunday and all other days when you are missing your parents. XCarmel


  11. Margel Guie says:

    The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I invite Friends and Family who are motherless to celebrate their Mother’s by writing messages on Chinese Sky Lanterns and send them to Heaven. Some cry and some are happy to give a message to their mothers. I enjoy writing a message for Mama and sending her a gift.

    I enjoyed your article.
    Margel Guie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margel. I’m glad you enjoyed my article. That is a lovely thing that you do with your motherless friends and family. I’m sure they all appreciate it very much. Sending love and hugs, Carmel x


  12. Thank you for the suggestions. We lost our mother suddenly and unexpectedly on August 5, 2016(my sister’s birthday and the day before my son’s birthday). She was the glue for our family and I can’t even bear to go into the stores and see all the mother’s day stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Erika, I’m so sorry to hear of your recent loss. And how sad that your dear mom passed away on your sister’s birthday and the day before your own son’s birthday. For some reason it seems to go this way. My mother died just two days before her sister’s birthday and three days before my dad’s birthday. Keeping you and all motherless daughters in my thoughts and in my heart this Sunday. X Carmel


  13. Tamie Bliss says:

    My mom passed away March 3rd of this year after complications from a surgery. She had been sick for many years, but was by far the strongest woman I have ever known or will ever know. She is truely my hero.
    I had a daughter in August that she was so close with and so very proud of. I am glad they were able to have such a strong bond in the short time they got to spend together.
    I am scared and sad for Sunday. I miss my mom so much and it hurts to he core, however knowing she is no longer in pain gives me a sense of peace.
    I will most definitely be doing a couple of the things on the list. Thank you for posting that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tamie for your comment. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad your sweet daughter enjoyed a strong bond with your mother, even for a short while. That is very precious and special. Your mother sounds wonderful. I will keep you and all other motherless daughters in my thoughts and in my heart this Sunday. It won’t be an easy day, but you will not be alone. Hugs, Carmel x


  14. Jen Fogle says:

    I lost my mom in October of 2015. She had been very ill for a while. This is my second MD without her and I miss her more than ever. She was my best friend and we did so much together. I thank God she’s not in pain anymore but it still hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JRNNIFER says:

    This will be my first mothers day without my mom. She passed away July 16, 2016. She had kidney cancer and fought it for almost two years. She was a very strong woman. I miss her everyday, it’s hard going from talking to her almost everyday to not speaking to her anymore. She was my best friend and my shopping buddy. I feel the tightening in my chest each day as mothers day gets closer.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Joan Klein says:

    I was just 13 when IT HAPPENED! January 3rd 1975, This was the turning point in my life & the lives of my other 3 siblings still living at home. There are 8 of us in total ,4 boys & 4 girls. My father grew up in the 20’s & 30s and didn’t like to share any emotions with us . He was in denial of the severity of my mother’s illness. When she died he lost it. A once very happy childhood was no more. The life was gone out of our house. I not only had to deal with watching my mother slowly dieing for a year ,but also after words deal with a father who only wished we didn’t exist . We were contant reminders of her. My teanage years were filled with rebellion. I was trying to create a normal existence. My older siblings tried to intervene, my mother’s best friend who was my godmother wanted to take and raise me and my younger sister but he said No! I was to be kept at home to cook ,clean and that was the purpose of my existence to him. I finally moved out and started to make my way in this world. I was just 18 . I made my peace with my father in later years . I had to forgive him to begin to heal. At the end of his life he could not believe that we would want to take care of him after all that happened all those years ago. I remembered what my mother told me that last year of her life .That I would be ok, even though Dad was difficult to deal with, and That I was going to be a good wife to some one , And most important of all I never gave to cry on her grave because I took such good care of her while she was alive!!!! I still miss her even at the age of 55 and having a child of my own , and I was blessed with a wonderful Mother in law!!!! I share my message of survival to encourage them whenever I meet someone who shares this very special bond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Joan for sharing your story with us. You have been through so much! I can only imagine how difficult it all must have been for you. I am so glad that you found a wonderful mother in law and that you are blessed with a child of your own. Take care and please continue to share your story with others as it is truly encouraging. Hugs.


  17. Tiffany Ann says:

    My mom died when I was 17. I really hate that she’s not physically here. I had no idea how to blossom into an adult. I’m still coping with it all. I’m definitely going to try one of those ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sarah says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for the ideas… you mentioned the Clapton song. Ed Sheeran just released a new album and I felt that Supermarket Flowers was a page taken from my own life… give it a listen, but grab a tissue first πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Chloe says:

    I am from the UK so I have already had mothers day but I still always read all these articles and I always find such truth in them. The way things are described is the way I feel about things. I lost my mum at the age of 4 13 years ago it’s crazy how time goes by I don’t remember much about her so this page really helps me. I read something on a previous article about doing a journal of her friends and family writing memories of her, I have currently just started this starting with her brother and I’m so excited about it. I love this page so much !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Chloe. I am so sorry you lost your mum at age 4! That is so young. How painful for you. I am glad you are finding articles that are helpful to you and perhaps finding pieces of your own story in the stories of other motherless daughters. That journal project is truly a beautiful one. I wish you the best with that. It will be wonderful to have it. Sending hugs. X


  20. Sy says:

    My heart goes out to you all! This is my 2nd Mother’s Day without my Mom and I miss her tremendously. While I’ll want to stay in bed and close myself off from the world, I’m going to surround myself with family. I hope that one day it’ll get easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Cori says:

    Thanks for the lovely ideas. I just lost my Mom on March 23rd. My Mom & I have been best friends my entire life. I was never able to have children, so Mother’s Day was already hard & my Mom would pull me through it… this year I dread Mother’s Day more than & could ever imagine. I’m an only child & lost my Dad 8 years ago, so I no long have an ‘ immediate family’…. so I’m spending 5/14 with my Godmother & cousins. I pray for the strength to focus on happy memories and to push through the sad moments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Cori, I am so sorry to hear of your recent loss. The relationship you shared with your mom sounds truly special and you must miss her deeply. I hope that you have found comfort in the company of your Godmother, cousins and other friends. This motherless journey is not easy but we get through it in some form or another. Holding you in my thoughts and sending you hugs…


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  25. Belinda says:

    I am grateful for your suggestions and all of the shared posts of the many other motherless daughters. We share a common grief. I lost my mother 17 years ago. I was 36. She died of lung cancer, and ironically, wasn’t a smoker. She was a PHENOMENAL woman. Anyone who was blessed to know her would agree. I have come to despise Mother’s Day. I especially hate feeling like I need to explain that on this day, I don’t want to be reminded of what I no longer have (my wonderful, loving mother) or what I never got to have (children of my own). I don’t need a special day to remember her. . . I have spent every day of the last 17 years desperately trying not to forget her. People who haven’t lost a mother, don’t understand that sentiment. I have managed to get through Mother’s Day in the past, but this year. I am having a really hard time. My sadness is overwhelming. I too, will celebrate this Hallmark holiday with my mother’s best friend, my Godmother, but it took me years to be able to do that. We go to lunch each year on the day before Mother’s day and I get her flowers and I buy some for myself as well. Its also hard when others are insensitive to your feelings and dismiss them. I deal with that occasionally from friends and acquaintances which makes me withdraw on that day. I wish all the Motherless daughters and all of the childless Mothers (loss of a child) a blessed , peaceful day filled with love and comfort for their bleeding hearts.


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