Tips to celebrate Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day

by Elaine Tiller, M. Div.

With May and June come Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For those of us who have lost a parent or both parents, these days renew our pain of loss as well as being a time of honoring and remembering our Mom and/or Dad. Whether our parent(s) died a few weeks ago or years ago, these holidays bring a flood of memories and a mixture of sadness and joy and the question of how to honor our deceased Mom and Dad. Here are some ideas that might be helpful:

  • Allow and acknowledge the feelings you have.
  • Plan your day rather than letting it sneak up on you and depress you.
  • Think about a way of honoring your parent on this special day.
  • Think about the positive traits, values, beliefs of your parent(s) which live on in you.
  • Buy that Mother’s Day or Father’s Day card or write a note to your parent and put it by your parent’s photo as a way of saying thank you on this special day.
  • Give someone else a gift in memory of your parent or give a donation to a charity which your parent would have supported.
  • Go on a hike or picnic or do another activity that your parent would have enjoyed and appreciated.
  • Share a meal with others who loved your parent and share stories together.
  • Listen to music that your parent liked or music that reminds you of your parent.
  • Visit a special place to remember or plant a flower in honor of your parent.

Like everything else in our lives, over the last past 15 months, COVID-19 has changed the way we might celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day in 2021. Many of the ideas provided above will work just as well this year as any year, except most likely, a family gathering will be with masks and distancing or will be by zoom rather than in person.

This year of COVID-19 may also provide us with a new kind of memorial idea for our Mom or Dad. With so many people still out of work and struggling to feed themselves and their families, we might want to consider a special Mother’s/Father’s Day gift to a local shelter, food pantry, feeding program or a program helping people to make mortgage payments to stave off eviction. There are so many in need right now and a memorial gift to honor our parent would help some of them. We could write a note with our check explaining that this is in honor of a special mother or father and provide their name. Maybe a copy of our note could be kept on our dresser or somewhere we can see it regularly.

© Copyright 2021, Dora Elaine Tiller

Watch an interview below for Riderwood TV, in which Elaine talks about the impact of losing rituals for grief and everyday activities, and ways in which you can create new rituals to help you through those tough moments.