I’ve learned a critical lesson in the 20+ years since my mother died: the more proactive I am about remembering her, the happier I tend to be. This is because keeping a loved one’s memory alive is absolutely essential for healing. (Read more in The Reflection Effect, my essay for O, the Oprah Magazine, here.) And because of this, Mother’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate what your mom still means to you. Below are some of my favorite ways to honor moms no longer with us.
The idea is to plant one bulb for every year your mother lived. Daffodils are perennials, so they’ll come back spring after spring — and they’re virtually indestructible. In my book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, I discuss how this is a great social activity and can involve family, friends, and neighbors. Not only will you benefit from the extra hands, you’ll be able to use the time to invite conversation and share stories about your mom.
Buy Meaningful Gifts
The charm shown here features a photograph of my Aunt Ronnie, who died a few years ago of breast cancer. The necklace is by far one of my favorite keepsakes. I gave it to my cousin in remembrance and in celebration of her mother. My hope is that it prompts her two young children to ask questions about their grandmother, an incredible woman they never got to know. If you want to get a meaningful keepsake for yourself or a friend, Mother’s Day deadlines are approaching fast. See more photo gift ideas here.
While I love wearing some of my mother’s jewelry as-is, there are a few pieces I’ve completely refashioned to make them even more special. For example, for my wedding, I had a long strand of my mother’s pearls made into several smaller pieces — a bracelet for me, and a pair of earrings for each of my bridesmaids and maid of honor. Wearing the bracelet (and seeing my friends and family still wearing their earrings) makes me feel close to my mom. And with so many summer weddings on the way, this opportunity is especially timely.
Mother’s Day isn’t just for those fortunate enough to still have their moms. The holiday is for all of us. Embracing this notion is validating. Acting upon it has the capacity to boost our sense of joy and overall well-being.