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10 Ways to Honor Your Deceased Mom on Mother's Day

Meaningful ways you can keep your mother's memory alive during the holiday


Updated June 19, 2014

White flower

White carnations traditionally represent mothers no longer with us.

Photo © Gunay Mutlu/Getty Images

The annual Mother's Day holiday can prove challenging for anyone mourning the loss of his or her mom, even long after she died. This article offers 10 meaningful ways that you can honor your deceased mother and keep her memory alive on Mother's Day.

Say it With Flowers
White carnations are traditionally the flowers chosen to remember mothers no longer with us, so pick up a bouquet and leave it at her gravesite or where her cremated remains were scattered after paying your respects. You could also place the carnations in a vase next to her photograph or a candle as a quiet reminder of her throughout Mother's Day.

Put on an Apron
If your mother made you a special meal or a favorite "comfort food" when you were young, then why not honor her memory by cooking her favorite dish or something you remember her making often? Invite your family or friends over and make an event out of it by sharing your happiest mealtime memories during dinner. (But don't be surprised if your guests think your mother was the better cook!)

Send an Airmail Message
If there's something you wish you could have said to your mom before she died but never did, write it on an index card, tie it to a helium balloon and release it from a place special to your mother. No, she won't actually get your message, but the symbolic nature of this gesture will likely prove more powerful and moving than you think.

Create a Video Tribute
Shoot a simple tribute video with your smart phone, or create a fully edited slideshow from your favorite photographs and set it to music. Once finished, share it with your family and friends, or post it online like this YouTube tribute video to let the world know how much you love your mother.

Pay it Forward
Make a donation to a cause meaningful to your mom in her memory, or to help find a cure for a disease, such as cancer or Alzheimer's. You might also consider volunteering a few hours of your time to benefit others. For a list of opportunities to help someone else in your area, please visit the Volunteer Match website.

Finally Get Organized
Most families have an old shoebox filled with photographs sitting around that they've always meant to organize. (And even if you're a child of the Information Age, chances are your digital pictures are just as chaotic.) Mother's Day is a great opportunity to dig through those images with your family, share the stories behind the photos and create a special scrapbook or slideshow as a tribute to your mother.

Get Your Hands Dirty
If your mom loved to garden, then honor her memory by rolling up your sleeves and planting a few vegetables or herbs -- even if your "garden" is nothing more than a small pot you keep on a sunny windowsill. If you have the space somewhere outside, gather your family and plant a tree together in her memory before sharing a special remembrance or two.

Unleash Your Inner Wordsworth
Writing or journaling your thoughts and feelings is an effective way to reduce stress and often proves therapeutic. Whether you express yourself best sitting at your computer or using paper and pen, consider writing a private poem or letter describing how much your mother means to you.

Take a Road Trip
Did your mom love the bright lights of Vegas? The lapping of waves at the shore? Hunting for antiques? Touring the vineyards of Napa Valley? Whether near or far, if there was a particular place or activity she loved, then gather your family, pile into the car and hit the open road as a tribute to Mom. And this time, nobody can threaten to "turn the car around if you don't start behaving!"

Find a Present Proxy
If you traditionally sent your mom flowers on Mother's Day, took her out for a meal, or gave her a gift, consider brightening this holiday for another mother by doing the same thing for her. If you don't know of somebody already, ask around at your place of worship, a nursing home or hospice, or even at your workplace. While your mother can never be replaced, consider your actions a gesture of love in her memory that would make her proud of the child she raised.

Additional Reading:
When the Holidays Hurt
Words of Inspiration: Mothers
The History of Mother's Day

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