Mother's Day and Grief


BY: Diane Snyder Cowan
CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

Mother’s Day is usually a time of celebration, but for some the time can be filled with pain and sorrow. Not everyone will be buying flowers or going to brunch with the family.

For those who have experienced the death of a child or a mother, for those struggling with infertility, or for those who have a difficult relationship with their mother, here are some suggestions for getting through this difficult time.

 On grieving the death of your mother
  • Acknowledge your loss and the difficulty this day brings
  • Don’t try to minimize the loss
  • Complete a ritual: light a candle, visit the gravesite
  • Do something positive in memory of your mother or an activity that will connect you to her
  • Plant a living memorial
  • Experience self-care; pamper yourself
  • Buy a mother’s day card and write the sentiments you would like to express
For children grieving their mother
  • Let them know it’s okay to miss mom and cry if they need to
  • Read them stories and books mom used to read
  • Have them make a Mother’s Day card or write a letter
  • Reminisce together by looking at photo albums and listening to music
  • Engage in activities that mom used to like to do
  • Create memories of mom (make a scrapbook, plant a tree, organize a fundraiser)
  • Encourage creative and active play
For women grieving their children
  • Give yourself permission to grieve. Cry when you need to cry
  • Tell and re-tell the story. Use your child’s name
  • Reach out to others. Seek out a grief counselor or a support group
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Create your own memorial
  • Celebrate your child by lighting a candle or planting a perennial flower

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About Diane Snyder Cowan​
Diane Snyder Cowan is the director of Western Reserve Grief Services.

She oversees the hospice and bereavement programs and expressive therapy. Diane is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator and a Board Certified Music Therapist.

She currently serves as the Section Leader for the Bereavement Professional Section of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals and previously served on the Board of Directors of the Certification Board for Music Therapy.

Diane has presented on music therapy and grief and loss throughout the country and has written for many publications on music therapy and on grief and loss.

She strives to provide support and education to grieving individuals and those who work with them.