“The second Sunday in May is probably one of the least favorite days of the year for those whose moms are no longer living,” writes Laura Goldman on the Renascent blog. Laura shares that even though her mom passed away in early 2001, “sixteen Mother’s Days later, it’s still a difficult time for me.” I believe that individuals like Laura would greatly welcome and value knowing that others acknowledge their grief and would appreciate that you fondly remember their deceased mother. So how can we care for a friend whose mother has died?
Tips for Caring for a Friend Whose Mother Died
- In a note or in person, you might say, “This must be a very difficult time for you as you remember your dear mother. I am so sorry about your on-going sorrow. I will be thinking of you this week.” (It would be extra meaningful if you included a fun or touching memory of the mother.)
- Give your friend a small gift that reminds you of her mother. For example, when I was a child, my mom always had beautiful African violets. So it was heart-warming when my sister-in-law gave me an African violet plant on Mother’s Day after my mom died. The sweetness and beauty of the small violets reminded me of Mom’s sweetness and beauty, and whenever I saw those flowers, I smiled and remembered a loving moment with her.
- Make a donation to an organization which the mother supported. For instance, if the mom was a teacher, find a classroom to support–maybe donating some books or art supplies. Then write your friend a note describing the donation and why you chose this particular donation.
- For very lovely gifts which are carefully selected and beautifully packaged, consider a gift from laurelbox, a company that curates gifts designed for the bereaved. I especially like the Butterfly Garden Gift Box, with its lovely memorial garden stone.
- Laura Goldman suggests that it can be healing to share photos or fond memories of someone’s mother who has passed away. If it is your mother, you can ask for people to share their memories; if it’s a friend’s mother, you can offer up a photo with a personal note – “I found this photo of your mom; she was always smiling!”
So as Mother’s Day approaches spend some time caring for those individuals who are grieving the death of their mothers. Although the feelings of loss are greater during the first five years after a mom’s death, an empty space and sadness in one’s heart may always be there. Be sensitive to all individuals whose mothers have died. Remembering them with spoken words, a note, flowers, or other appropriate gifts lets them know they are not alone in remembering. Your kind recollection will be a love-gift to them.
For further reading on what to say and do when a friend’s mother has died, see: