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Coping with Mother’s Day after your mum has died

When Mother’s Day comes around, it can be impossible to ignore. It’s in your social media feeds, at your local supermarket and turning up in your inbox, encouraging you to celebrate it.

Mother’s Day can be hard for lots of reasons, but it can be really hard if you or your taitamaiti / child has lost their māmā / mum.

We’ve got some ideas for coping with Mother’s Day after your mum has died.

Celebrate other special people on Mother’s Day

Reclaim Mother’s Day by celebrating the other important people in your whānau (they don’t have to be wāhine / women). Maybe it’s their other parent, a stepparent, an aunty, grandparent or sibling. Help your taitamaiti / child make them a card or a present or simply tell them how great they are.

Talk about māmā

Mother’s Day can be a good opportunity to talk about māmā. Encourage your taitamaiti / child to talk to people who knew their māmā. Share favourite memories, funny stories and even embarrassing moments.

Switch off from social media

If your taitamaiti / child is old enough to be on social media, encourage them to log off for the day. Being surrounded by posts of people with their mums and companies pushing Mother’s Day gifts can feel really hard.

Do things māmā loved

If they’re up for it, make Mother’s Day full of the things māmā loved. Cook her favourite meal, listen to her favourite music, cuddle up with her favourite movie, buy her favourite flowers. It can make your taitamaiti / child feel closer to their māmā.

Mark it in your way

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve and there’s no right or wrong way to mark Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day might make your taitamaiti / child feel sad, it might make them feel happy to remember māmā, or it might make them feel nothing. They might want to do something to mark it, or they might want to ignore it. Whatever you decide is absolutely OK.

2 hands holding a flower

10 ways grieving families can remember māmā on Mother’s Day

If you decide as a whānau that you want to remember māmā on Mother’s Day, here are 10 ways you can do it.

  1. Plant some bulbs or a shrub in your garden and make it a special place for māmā.
  2. Cook her favourite meal or order her favourite takeaway.
  3. Start a memory box (or add to one) by putting in something that reminds them of māmā.
  4. Write māmā a letter, poem or song.
  5. Put on her favourite music and do your best māmā-inspired dance moves.
  6. Create a board of special photos, either on the computer or print them out.
  7. Blow bubbles and imagine they’re taking a message to her.
  8. Ask people for their favourite memories of māmā.
  9. Make a Mother’s Day card for her.
  10. Take the card to her grave or where her ashes are, or simply visit.