Monday Notes: A Post-Mother’s Day Message for the Motherless

Dear Motherless Child, 

I see you.

If you’ve just lost your mother, then a holiday, like Mother’s Day may seem strange. You’ll want to acknowledge that you, too, had a mother, good, bad, or otherwise. A woman birthed or adopted you and provided you with unconditional love. But now you’re in a different club. You may walk by aisles of Mother’s Day cards, their pinks and reds taunting you. You may feel inclined to buy one, forgetting you have no one for whom this would be appropriate. Or you may feel as if someone should buy you a card as recognition for your loss. Wouldn’t it be nice if Hallmark made a greeting card that began—I know it’s Mother’s Day, and you just lost yours…? But they don’t. The most you may have is Mother’s Day at church where you’re encouraged to partake in a new tradition, wearing a white carnation, symbolizing your mother’s death

Women who possess a nurturing gene may try to mother you. Their gestures will stem from kindness. Their heartstrings will lengthen and tug and wrap tightly around you, until you can’t breathe. But they will fail, because they are not your mother. As Mouse, a seven-year-old fictional character from the book Looking for Hope says, “there’s nothing like your own mother.” She’s right. Only the woman assigned to you knew the lilt in your voice when you were angry or excited. Only your mother knew when you needed a hug or extra encouragement. It is normal to have mixed feelings about others’ good intentions. Feeling grateful for other women who’ve served as proxy is understandable; wishing you had your own mother is also valid. The latter doesn’t make you ungrateful; it makes you sad and grieving. And that’s okay.

If it’s been a few years since your mother died, then the compassion some showed may have worn off. Friends and family may even suggest that you should “get over it,” as if losing one’s mother is akin to a bad breakup. However, even bad breakups can be hard to “get over.” Sometimes, bad breakups last years in the cells of your body and crevices of your brain. Shouldn’t losing one’s mother take a bit of time? Still, you’ll learn to have compassion for these people. They don’t get it. They don’t understand. Though we may suspect, not one of us knows how we will feel when our mother dies. Even if it’s an expected event, prompted by a terminal illness, or even if you hated her for trivial or grandiose reasons, no one understands the bundle of emotions that may bubble to the surface, threatening to erupt, until it happens. So, offer a smidge of grace for those who think you should “get over” your mother’s death. They simply don’t know.

Losing one’s mother, no matter your age, is not easy. But here’s what I hope for you. I hope these words are comforting. I hope you’ve found a space where other motherless children convene. I hope peace fills the void. 


a motherless child


Motherless Daughters Online Source

Motherless Daughters

Blog Post about Motherless Daughters Retreat

70 thoughts on “Monday Notes: A Post-Mother’s Day Message for the Motherless

  1. I didn’t know that, about white carnations. This was a touching essay. A good reminder for me. My mom is still going strong but my wife’s mother died in 2015. I just tried to FaceTime her at work to say that I’d read this and sorry I hadn’t thought of at least saying something in tribute to her MiL (I’m usually pretty en pointe about these kinds of things) on Sunday but I’m sure she would have downplayed it though been appreciative. thanks for sharing this, K. Hope you’re having a good Thursday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jason! I think in many ways people who are motherless experience quite a few things that society doesn’t understand, and as a result, we kinda fade into the background and develop our own coping mechanisms.

      I hope your wife had a nice Mother’s Day!


  2. Well said. I’m blessed to have a mother who is alive and well and with whom I have a great relationship, but I know that many people are not in this situation. One reason why I don’t like public displays of Mother’s Day celebrations is that for many people, Mother’s Day is not a day of happiness and appreciation – for many people, it is a painful reminder of a difficult loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, JYP!

      Apparently, those of us who are motherless can celebrate the Sunday before. I just found out about this day this year, but it still just doesn’t seem quite right, and now when I google it, I can’t find it.


      1. Doesn’t that seem like a bit of a cop out though? Like instead of society being sensitive enough to accommodate people who are grieving on Mother’s Day, instead they give you a different day to be sad so you don’t ruin it for everyone else. I don’t know, something about this seems off to me. As a collective, we should learn to accept that at any given moment people are experiencing things and emotions differently

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your post and comforting words. It was a difficult day for me yesterday. One highlight was a call from my daughter and while we were talking my son called. She led me through “merging” the calls. I learned something new and felt like both my kids were with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, E. A. Losing a parent is difficult, especially if it’s your mother. I’m glad you and your children were able to talk to one another and that it brought you a bit of solace ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura! Yes, I would’ve re-blogged sooner, but I just found out there’s a day for people who have lost their mothers (it’s the week before). Next year, I’ll know 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mother’s Day this year was very hard for me. Loosing my mother right before the Pandemic, I was able to be alone at home with my sorrows. During the Pandemic, I was still processing my emotions. Every thing open again has been extremely difficult. I’m motherless, I’m without my grandma, loss her the year before my mom and I am without child/ren myself. Yes, difficult is an understatement. I smile, though it’s a hard day for me. Thank you for hugging my heart.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts!!.. Mom always leaves a lasting impression on us and occupies a special part of our hearts and with us always so we are never “completely” motherless… 🙂

    A Letter From Heaven

    When tomorrow starts without me
    And I’m not here to see,
    If the sun should rise and find your eyes
    Filled with tears for me.

    I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
    The way you did today,
    While thinking of the many things
    We didn’t get to say.

    I know how much you love me
    As much as I love you,
    And each time you think of me
    I know you’ll miss me too.

    When tomorrow starts without me
    Don’t think we’re far apart,
    For every time you think of me
    I’m right there in your heart.
    (Alena Hakala Meadows)

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such a heartfelt write, Kathy. Your opening sentence, “If you’ve just lost your mother…” made my heart ache a bit as I think of my best friend’s son, and his first motherless Mother’s Day. And you’ve summed it all up so well, losing one’s mother is hard, no matter your age. May all motherless children find a space to convene! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Our culture has heavy commercial influence, coupled with social media portraying only fantastical picture of human relations and situation – this keeps a lot of humanly experiences unacknowledged. You are very welcome.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. 🙏🏾💙 You are just . . . I bet this was so comforting for a lot of your readers, because I felt every moment of it totally. Peace, Kathy. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This is beautiful, Kathy. Mother’s Day can be so difficult and painful due to the death of a mother, the absence/estrangement of a living mother, or the death of a mother’s child. Hugs and love to you ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I’ve been through 23 Mother’s Days without my mom. Yes, it’s a bittersweet day to remember all the wonderful things about my mother who I loved deeply and never lived more than 5 miles away from, never went a day without talking at least once on the phone. Is it hard? Not so much on Mother’s Day but on the life milestones like weddings of her grandchildren, my first grandchild, my book coming out into the world …
    But all of that pales in comparison to a few friends who have lost a child, including one earlier this year to Covid. It’s not the natural order and those are the women I held in my heart yesterday.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for adding this, Laura! I have a whole nother something regarding what you’ve written here. It’s about how my grandmother told me that sixteen years was a long time to have a mother (so I shouldn’t be sad about her death). What you’ve written here about all those missed moments is exactly how I found out sixteen years isn’t a long time to have a mother.

      I understand what you mean about other people’s loss, but I also try hard not to compare. We each are missing something, and it’s important to hold space, no matter what ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WordPress is playing games, and I just got this notification now. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I definitely hold space for my mother and other losses I’ve had. My point was that it isn’t on Mother’s Day that I miss her the most. And this week, filled with sadness, anger, and some PTSD after the massacre in Texas, is an opportunity to put things in perspective.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Beautifully written, Katherin. I’m going to share your post with a woman I know that lost her mother last year and has been suffering with terrible grief. She will especially appreciate your words.
    I’m sorry for the terrible loss you endured with losing a mother that wasn’t there for you. I can’t even find the words to describe your horrible experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re welcome ❤ Sending you lots of light, Krissy. I've learned that we have to look out for each other, and sometimes the "we" shifts depending on the circumstances 😉


  10. Thank you, KE. My mother and mother-in-law are still alive and I’m trying to make up for lost time now that we live closer. My problem with Mother’s Day is that I’m not a mother (other than to pets) but it is assumed I must be because I am a female of a certain age. Right-to-Lifers set up a table at the entrance to the church and hand out flowers to women and wish them a happy mother’s day. When I politely refuse it because I’m not a mother, they tell me to keep it, as I will be someday. No, I won’t. I’m 53 and menopausal. But I don’t want to have to say that, so I take it and keep quiet. Just like all the other women who have decided, for their own reasons, not to have children.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Assumptions cause people to act in strange ways.
        Hugs to you and all those without a mom on Mother’s Day, especially those living through it for the first time. The death of a parent leaves a hole nothing else can fill, even if your relationship wasn’t particularly sweet or close.

        Liked by 2 people

Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s