“Loss and heartache do not define you. They are part of your story.”

For many, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration. But for many others, Mother’s Day is a time of grief and pain. Whether you are grieving the loss of your mom, have a complicated relationship with her, or have lost your own child, adopting healthy coping mechanisms can help you heal, make peace and keep your head up.

With Mother’s Day fresh in our rearview, our therapists have prepared some grief counseling advice for coping with pain on Mother’s Day.

1. Honor your mother. What traditions did your mother have on Mother’s Day? Keep them alive, whether with your own children or just with yourself.

2. Acknowledge and accept your feelings—whatever they may be. There are a million reasons why you may feel sad or conflicted on Mother’s Day: depression, anxiety, addiction and other problems may weigh heavy on your soul. Know that, whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay.

3. Keep the memories alive. Share pictures of and stories about your mother, whether with your children, your siblings or loved ones.

4. Stay connected with those who also loved your mom. These people make up your Mother’s Day support network—and you all need each other.

5. Don’t feel guilty. Some mothers just want to spend a day alone, doing what they want to do. There are adult children who, for many different reasons, may not want to spend the day with their mothers. It’s okay. No mother-daughter or mother-son relationship is perfect, and there is nothing you should or should not be doing on Mother’s Day.

6. Understand that you life has changed. Maybe your children are off at college, immersed in their own lives. Maybe this is the first year you’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day after the loss of your mom. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to process all these changes… without expectations.

7. Do your own thing. If Mother’s Day brunch isn’t your thing… skip it! Celebrate Mother’s Day however you want: enjoy an afternoon in your garden, drink wine on the patio, take your kids out on an outdoor adventure.

8. Avoid social media. If Mother’s Day is a painful holiday for you, the worst thing you can do is allow yourself to be bombarded with messages of Mother’s Day joy and happiness. Stay off social media during the weekend of Mother’s Day and spare yourself the inundation.

9. Don’t worry about a grand gesture. If you’re remembering your mom this year, remember that sometimes the biggest homage is a small one. Bringing a plant to her grave or simply acknowledging her memory when you wake up is more than enough.

10. Go ahead and cry. Sometimes a good cry is all you need on Mother’s Day… and that’s perfectly fine.

Whatever the reason for your pain on Mother’s Day—or on any other day—we hope this grief counseling advice helps. If you are need additional support to cope with the loss of your mother—or to process any other loss in your life—our therapy center offers grief counseling services for children and adults. Request a free phone consultation and find out if one of our therapists could help you process your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with your loss.

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