Explore the Hudson Valley

Experience The Hudson Valley

Honoring Mom on Mother’s Day Even When She’s Not Around

  |   April 29, 2014  |  Comment

Mother’s Day–May 11th this year–is less than two weeks away. And the heat is on to find just the right way to say ‘thanks’ when honoring her. Sending flowers and making phone calls, baking cookies and desserts (or reservations), drawing a picture card often come to mind.

One year, (last year to be exact), my brother and sister-in-law and I banded together and conspired for a surprise Mother’s Day weekend celebration involving many twists and turns of spiriting them from Denver to the home in the Hudson Valley before our mother could suspect anything. The scheme worked so well that our mother appeared not to recognize my brother when he walked in the door. As the wide-eyed shock quickly wore off, gasps were heard, open-armed hugs went round. A happy dinner and good wine ensued, followed by the planting of a herb garden the next day.

But what do you say or do when your mother is no longer around to honor? For those who can no longer turn to Mom in the conventional way, they have to find another way to cherish the good in their mothers, to ward off their feelings of loss. This will be the case with one of my high school friends this year. She recently could only hold onto her mother’s hand as her mother quietly, peacefully passed away after a long life well loved.

As my friend acknowledged her sadness, fearful of not knowing what to do, she publicly reached out to friends and family on Facebook for a bit of guidance. Many volunteered hugs and kindred tears. “Mother’s Day, without mom, can be one of the hardest days of the year,” revealed one friend. But one friend, through the distance, gently suggested some advice that surely is worth spreading:

“Could you set up a ritual that you do for her every year in her memory? Maybe on her birthday? My mother loved flowers, especially stargazer lilies. Every year on her birthday I take little bouquets of flowers to a local nursing home and ask the nursing staff to tell me which residents receive the fewest /no visitors—then I give the bouquets to them. You should see their faces light up! One fellow thought it was the end of WW2 because this American was speaking to him in French. Rituals can be as simple as going out to her favorite restaurant or making one of her recipes.”

What will you be doing this Mother’s Day? How will you celebrate or commemorate the day?

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