How I Plan to Honor My Mom’s Life this Mother’s Day

The last time I spoke to my mom was on a sunny April morning in 2007. We’d gone out for coffee and cake (one of her favorite pastimes) before heading to the doctor for the physical the nursing home required as part of their admission policy.

Although in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, mom was still mom. We chatted about this and that, but I was anxious about what lay ahead and so I wasn’t fully present. If I’d known what was to come I might have made more of an effort to be in the moment. Hindsight, right?

It turns out the disease lurking in mom’s brain was triggered by change. Moving her into a nursing home later that day brought on the next stage of Alzheimer’s. Just like that, mom was gone. She’d have hated the person she became in the months that followed, but she’d have hated where she ended up even more. When she died a year later, I was relieved.

Mom always believed she’d meet her family again in heaven, so I believed it too. I knew she was happy wherever she was. No doubt laughing and eating ice-cream with her sister, admonishing my brother for dying first and knowing her, being annoyed that dad was flirting with the old biddies in his wing.

Rather than miss my mom, which doesn’t do me any good, I’ve chosen to dwell on the good stuff. I draw on my memories, reminding myself of her kindness, her generosity, her offbeat sense of humor and her penchant for anything sweet.

I think about everything she taught me and try to honor her legacy by being the kind of person she was and doing the kind of things she did to make the world a better place. I’m sure it would make her happy to know I saw her as a role model for good.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule to how you approach celebrating Mother’s Day if your mom has passed. It depends on you and your family. But for me, it makes more sense if whatever I do helps someone else at the same time.

How I'm Honoring My Mom this Mother's Day

Volunteer at a Nursing Home

For a lot of folks, these special days pass by in much the same vein as any other. Their families are often too busy to visit them or they’ve moved away.

Having a visitor on Mother’s Day will mean the world to someone who’d otherwise be spending the day alone. Volunteering can help reduce loneliness, so you’ll benefit from the experience just as much.

Write a Letter

A lot of people advocate writing a letter to your mom, but I’d much rather write a letter to someone who’s going through a hard time and could really use some kind words.

More Love Letters emails letter requests out every couple of weeks. If you’re a mother yourself, why not write a letter to your kids? Both these options allow you to do something positive, which would likely have made your mom really proud.

Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Like Sri Sri Ravishankar says, “Love is the essence of the universe. Love in action is service.”

For me, doing something that will make someone else’s life better is a wonderful way of showing gratitude for the unconditional love my mom gave me. These small acts of kindness help me as much as the person I’m doing them for, probably more.

There are also health benefits to being kind, which is like a little reward for being nice. If you need inspiration, the Random Acts of Kindness foundation has lots of great ideas. Remember, when you’re feeling down, being of service is the fastest way to feel better.

Eat Cake

Not everything about Mother’s Day will be altruistic. I’ll also be eating cake. One of my favorite ways to remember my mom is ‘window shopping’ at the bakery and reminiscing about the kinds of cakes and pastries she loved. But on special occasions, like her birthday or Mother’s Day, I’ll actually indulge in a big slice of apple pie or chocolate cake (the healthier vegan version, but mom doesn’t have to know that).

Whatever you decide to do this Mother’s Day, your mom will be proud. Moms are kind of cool like that.

Photo Credits: Thinkstock


JoAnn P
JoAnn P1 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

hELEN hEARFIELD1 months ago


Gino C
Gino C1 months ago

thanks for sharing

Peggy B
Peggy B1 months ago


Louise R
Past Member 2 months ago


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Cindy S
Cindy Smith7 months ago


Gino C
Gino C8 months ago

Thank you

Jaime J
Jaime J8 months ago

Thank you!!

Janice P
Janice P8 months ago

Thank you so very much for the idea of visiting a woman in a nursing home on Mother's Day. My beloved mother has been gone over 8 years now, and I miss her terribly on every birthday, anniversary, holiday, and special day. She was the love of my life, and I still feel that empty pit in my stomach because of losing her. I know that I would have felt less alone today if I had thought of visiting a woman in a nursing home, giving her a special day. I will do that next year - and on other holidays - after I have spent my usual time at the cemetery, sitting and talking with my mother. To be able to make another women feel wanted and less lonely on such a day is a gift that I can make with tender love. Thank you.