When Your Mum Isn’t Here For Mothers Day

mothers day

My mum died when I was 25. She died quickly from cancer after a short shocking battle. It doesn’t matter how your mum dies, I don’t think. There is no comparing. There are no winners. I only say how she died because at 52,  you consider your mum young, you think she will be around for your kids and maybe even catch sight of your grand-kids. My mum never got to see me being a mum. She never got to see my sister be the best auntie you can imagine. She never met all the other aunties and uncles who play a role in my children’s lives. She never got to see mothers day as a grandma. I am still as shocked today as I was 10 years ago and if you have lost your mum I imagine you are too.

Those that do Vs those that don’t

This year I have noticed mums talking about how they will balance their own desire for mothers day with that of their mums and mother in laws. I think how lucky they are to have this dilemma and hope they value their own mums before themselves. I say this because despite your desire to be honoured as a mum, try to remember that your mum came before you and that you grew up so quickly, you left the nest, you made your own nest and *poof* “it” was over. So much invested in making you the wonderful parent you are, and that deserves to be repaid at the very least on this day of the year. Even more if you have children. How amazing to honour her by letting her spend time with her grandchildren.

Also remember, if you need further convincing, that the value you place on time spent with her, will be passed onto your own children. One day (with hope) you will sit in your own mums spot and mothers day (I hope) will be about your own children, and grandchildren honouring you. Think about the way you communicate with her about how to balance this day, honour her by making her feel as though you will work around her. I know you are thinking, it is easy to say this, when your mum has passed. I would argue it is easy for me to have perspective on what matters most and that is TIME SPENT more than anything.

mothers day alone

Tips to cope with Mothers Day without a Mum

  • Accept it is never going to get easier. It sounds harsh but the flipside it, it doesn’t seem to get worse. It just is. What it is.  Time doesn’t actually help. I think your brain just copes a little better but it is still painful every. single. year. I miss her.
  • Take some time out of your day to think about her. For me I avoid the memories specifically but instead I choose to focus on all things I am grateful that she taught me. I do this to avoid mothers day being sad- I think when you are in a state of gratitude, sadness is less likely to surface.
  • Talk about her to your children, especially on Mothers Day. We look for butterflies, a great symbol for “angel grandma”. We have never spent a mothers day without being visited by a butterfly.
  • Do something symbolic. I do this on her birthday when I have a glass of wine at the spot where we had a plaque placed. On mothers day I take the time to have a chat with her, explaining all the things that have happened in the last year. How proud she would be.
  • I don’t sweat the small stuff. If I forget to talk to her or my kids don’t want to hear about their grandma in that moment I try not to get upset.
  • I try not to yell at my friends whinging about their mums. 🙂
  • Honour her in grace. Before a meal we will wish her a happy mothers day.
  • Be the mum you want to be. Make mothers day your own. Enjoy it, relish in it, honour your role as a mother to your own children and in turn honour your own mum.
  • Spend time with family. I love my husband’s mum and we make sure we spend time with her on mothers day. He role is made more special by the fact she will have to lead my children as the sole grandma.

If it helps. I think your mum is here with you, always. I think when we pass we are always afforded the gift of being with our loved ones. She also remembers you at your best. Always at your best.

Have you lost your mum, how do you celebrate mothers day?

This post has also been featured in the Local Guide To Mother’s Day. For a tonne of ideas for marking this occasion – from gifts to make or buy for Mum, places to visit or dine at on the day, recipes to whip up and ways to decorate for a Mother’s Day at home, and even outfit ideas for Sunday 8th May – hop over to the guide for an inspiring collection.

About the Author
Ngaire Stirling
Owner and Founder of Brisbane Kids, Ngaire has a professional marketing background with an early years teaching qualification. She grew up in Brisbane and lives with her husband, 3 kids and too many animals. She enjoys long summer days, bright starry nights and working on Brisbane Kids.
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6 Comments on "When Your Mum Isn’t Here For Mothers Day"

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Thank you for this beautiful article and for sharing your insight. I am very lucky to still have my Mum with me, my husband has lost both his Mother and his Father, so I have never been able to put myself in his shoes and this has helped. He lost his Dad as a child so Father’s Day is always the hardest, we were very lucky to have his gorgeous Mum meet both of our children even if one was for a mere 9 months. Today our daughter placed 10th in her district cross country out of over 100 kids… Read more »
Ngaire Stirling

Thanks for saying Roslyn and happy mothers day to you x


Sadly my Dad has just lost his Mum today 🙁 but Happy mothers day to you for tomorrow x

Ngaire Stirling

oh so sad Roslyn xoxo my thought are with you x


This will be a first for me and quite unsure how to deal with it. Its still so fresh, losing her to Leukemia in February… sincerely thank you for this article.


Although both my hubby and I are still around on Mother’s Day we tell our child we will call it Parent’s Day that way it doesn’t matter if you have 1 parent or 2 parents or parents of the same sex or if ur a Auntie etc looking after kids that person is being a parent to them.

On fathers day we call it Grandparents day that way Grandparents can be thanked for the work they do as well.

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