Coping with grief on Mother’s Day when your relationship was difficult -


Coping with grief on Mother’s Day when your relationship was difficult

February 26, 2024

Mother’s Day and the build-up to it can be an incredibly triggering time – especially if you had a difficult relationship with your mum. Whether you had a falling out, a toxic relationship or hadn’t spoken in a long time, this blog will help you understand your emotions and how to deal with them as Mother’s Day approaches.  

 Although you’ll be confronted with a myriad of complicated emotions, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to prioritise your own wellbeing, regardless of what other people might think. 

Making sense of complicated feelings  

You may have had a difficult relationship with your mum, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience feelings of grief on Mother’s Day. Unsurprisingly, however, those feelings can be complicated and confusing. During this time, you might feel: 

  •  Guilt about not feeling the way you should about your mum’s death 
  • Judged by friends and family  
  • Lonely because you have no one (or don’t know who) to talk to about your emotions 
  • Conflicted about how you should feel 
  • Pressured to feel a certain type of way around Mother’s Day 

While most people feel pain after death, the grief that comes when someone you had a complicated relationship with dies can be heightened. You may feel ‘stuck’ in an endless cycle of suffering that doesn’t go away. You might start to blame yourself for what went wrong in your relationship or obsess about interactions you had with your mum when she was alive. These feelings are normal, but they in no way reflect you as a person.  

However you feel, take care of yourself, seek support from understanding friends or professionals if needed, and focus on activities that bring you comfort and joy. 

How to work through complicated grief on Mother’s Day 

Sadly, it’s not always possible to find the closure you want or need. You’ll no doubt have good days and bad days – but ultimately, you may need to learn to live with the feelings you have. Even if you didn’t have a positive relationship with your mother, it can be helpful to acknowledge what she meant to you while she was alive.  

Remember – there’s no normal way to grieve. After a death, many people feel: 

  •  Angry with everyone
  • Anxious all the time 
  • Numb or nothing at all 
  • Physically ill 
  • Tired from a lack of sleep 

They might also see or hear the person who died and go over every detail of their death. Cruse Bereavement Support covers this in detail on their website. It’s worth having a read through their article on understanding grief, as it may help you to realise that all the strange feelings you are experiencing are perfectly normal. 

In the meantime, here are some things that might help you come to terms to your loss: 

Journal your feelings 

If you’re left with guilt or regret, it may help you to write down your emotions in a journal. Journaling is a helpful way of coming to terms with grief – or at least understanding how you feel in that moment. You could also try writing a letter to your mum noting everything you need to say. Many people take comfort in writing down their emotions as it allows them to articulate more clearly.  

Be honest 

The first step in moving forward is to be honest about how you feel – even if your emotions make you uncomfortable. Whether you’re jealous of other people and their relationship with their mums or feel bitter about the situation you are in, it’s important to realise that these feelings are normal and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.  

Explain how you feel 

You might encounter conflict with your friends and family due to the complex relationship you had with your mum. This can make grief harder for everyone. Everyone reacts to death in their own way, but not everyone sees eye to eye in the immediate aftermath of a loved one passing. 

Though difficult, it might help to have an honest conversation with those close to you about how you feel any why your grieving process looks different to theirs. Otherwise, they may come up with incorrect conclusions.  

When you lose someone you love, meeting others who can relate to how you feel can help. Our Bereavement Groups offer a kind, supportive space with understanding from others who are also living life after loss. We promise you a warm welcome from our experienced and compassionate team along with tea, coffee and cake! Find your nearest group here 

If you’re feeling anxious or upset in the run up to Mother’s Day, read our guide on how to deal with the grief of losing a mother. You may find some valuable tips on how to put yourself first, as well as getting through the day itself. 


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