Celebrating Mother’s Day After Your Mom Has Passed Away
Celebrating Mother’s Day After Your Mom Has Passed Away

Celebrating Mother's Day After Your Mom Has Passed Away

Ideas for remembering and celebrating the family and friends we never want to forget.

Menopause & Aging Well

Each May, I celebrate Mother's Day twice. That wonderfully indulgent Sunday is set aside for me: a nature walk with my husband and children (a treat!), while Saturday is reserved for celebrating my mom.


It's been 23 years since my mother died and I've come to learn the more proactive I am about remembering her before Mother's Day, the more joy I feel on Mother's Day. This is because keeping a loved one's memory alive is essential for healing. It allows us to embrace the past while rejoicing in the present. And because of this, Mother's Day weekend is the perfect time to celebrate what your mom still means to you.

In my book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, I share 85 ideas for remembering and celebrating the family and friends we never want to forget. Here are five of my favorite, uplifting strategies for remembering our moms.

  1. Frame Her Handwriting  —  Frame a handwritten recipe or locate her signature on a letter. Seeing her handwriting and making it part of your home décor can be tremendously stirring and gratifying. Doing so is also a great conversation starter whenever company comes for a visit. Telling stories about your mom and creating openings for saying her name out loud can be especially healing.

  2. Grow Her Favorite Flowers —  Visit your local nursery and buy your mom's favorite herb, plant, or flower. Plant and grow a memory garden (either in the ground or in several pots). Enjoy and take comfort in the smells and colors she loved.

  3. "MomSource" Memories  —  Like crowdsourcing, MomSourcing doesn't rely on any one person to get the job done. To begin, upload several cherished photos of your mother to a Google Doc. Then, invite friends and family to add theirs. Encourage everyone to write a brief story or caption to accompany each image. Take pleasure in the notion that remembering can be a social activity. You don't have to remember alone.

  4. Put the "Social" in Social Media — Post a picture of your mother but don't stop there. Ask loved ones to share their pictures and remembrances as well. This digital back and forth accomplishes two goals: First, it enables you to read stories about your mom you may never have heard before. And second, it keeps your mother contemporary and present.

  5. Repurpose Her Jewelry — Sure, I wear some of my mother's jewelry as-is, but a few pieces I've refashioned altogether to heighten what they mean to me. For example, for my wedding, I had a long strand of my mother's pearls made into several smaller pieces — a bracelet for me, and a pair of earrings for each of my bridesmaids and maid of honor.

A final Mother's Day musing:

Enjoy your mother's favorite dessert. Taste is one of the strongest memory-boosters we have. For me, this involves eating something chocolate. My mother loved chocolate and the aroma and taste make my mom feel especially close.

Allison Gilbert is the author of numerous books including Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, the first how-to book ever written that reveals 85 innovative ways to remember and celebrate the family and friends we never want to forget. Learn more about Allison here: allisongilbert.com.

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