There are special days throughout the year that are dedicated to celebrating the ones we love. These days bring joy, encourage time spent with family and remind us to appreciate those important to us. But when we’ve lost the ones those days are meant to honor, joyful days can become days filled with grief and loss instead. Celebrating the first mother’s or father’s day after the loss of a parent can be challenging.

The first Mother’s Day or Father’s Day after the loss of a parent may be a painful trigger that reminds you of your loss. As these days approach you may feel growing apprehension knowing that they will be difficult to get through. Grief is a very personal journey with a wide range of emotions. You may feel anger, sadness, guilt, or regret. You may even feel relief if your parent suffered from a long illness. Not having them there for a day that should revolve around them can feel impossible to navigate

Though you are bound to feel the loss, getting through the day in an emotionally healthy state is important. Here are five tips that may help.

Tips when celebrating the first mother’s or father’s day after the loss of a parent.

Acknowledge the Day. Ignoring the day or pretending that it doesn’t matter may not be the best way to move forward. Bottling up your feelings is not healthy or productive. If emotions simmer too long they may erupt later. 

Talk About Your Feelings. Putting on a brave face may seem like what others expect of you, but friends and family can help you feel less isolated in your loss and grief. It’s unhealthy to hold onto strong emotions or pretend you don’t need support. Talk about your feelings to friends or family who may have experienced the same loss. There is empowerment in connection. Especially when connecting to others with shared experiences. 

Allow Yourself To Feel. No matter what you are feeling, allow yourself to feel it. Let yourself feel sad, to cry, to be mad, and to feel all the emotions you are experiencing. 

Don’t Set Expectations. Setting expectations can cause stress, anxiety and disappointment. Expectations will make you feel obligated to act or be a certain way. This can make you feel more stuck and disappointed if when the day rolls around you just don’t want to be how you thought you should be. Don’t put any pressure on yourself. Expectations can lead to negative self judgment, when you simply should allow yourself the space you need to feel what you feel.

Seek Professional Help. Everyone grieves differently. Under most circumstances, people are able to navigate their grief with the support of friends and family. But when grief becomes overwhelming and it’s affecting your life it may be time to accept professional support. There are many options available for grief support. A licensed therapist, psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist can provide therapy for grief. UpliftedCare also offers bereavement support through our grief center 

The first Mother’s Day or Father’s Day after the loss of a parent may feel overwhelming. We hope these tips will help you navigate.   

The UpliftedCare Community Grief Center offers workshops that promote healing and will help you navigate the loss of a parent.

Honoring Mom Workshop:

May 6, 10-11:30a 

This is an opportunity for anyone who has lost a mom to come together with others who have experienced the same loss to feel less alone in their grief. Workshop includes discussion, activity and snacks. Everyone will have a keepsake to take home to remember mom.  

Remembering Dad Workshop:

June 10, 10-11:30a 

A workshop to remember our dads whom we have lost. The opportunity to be with others who have experienced losing a father. This workshop will include a reading, activities, discussion, a snack and group sharing with a keepsake to take home to remember Dad.