Coping with Mother's Day

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Mother’s Day can evoke a mix of feelings, especially for those who have a Mum being treated for cancer or who have lost their Mum to cancer. It's a day that can be both meaningful and challenging.
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If your Mum has cancer this Mother's Day

For those who have a Mum being treated for cancer, Mother’s Day can be a unique experience. While you might not be celebrating the way you usually would, finding meaningful ways to connect and show appreciation can make the day special. 

Simple gestures can have a profound impact. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Write a letter to Mum and talk about a special memory that has stuck with you. If you’re feeling creative, add a drawing, create a collage, or include pressed flowers. Maybe when you give Mum the letter, you could ask if they have a memory to share about their own childhood or from parenting. 

  • Put together a playlist of songs, create a comfy space and make time to hang out. Is Mum a fan of hand massages? Warm drinks? Toast? See what you might be able to do that will be easily achievable yet a nice thing to do together.  

  • Make something. Whether you are crafty or can cook, there will be something that, with a little pre planning and preparation, can be made. The internet is filled with ideas! Remember it doesn’t have to be huge or elaborate. 

  • Take photos together to mark the moment. If you or Mum aren’t feeling camera ready, think outside the box. You could take a picture of your hands together, it doesn’t have to be a traditional family portrait.  

  • Are you able to get out and about? Go to a place where you feel connected. Local park? The beach? A cafe? Take a stroll, breathe in the fresh air and if possible, talk about fond memories or funny occurrences. 


If you’re dealing with Mother’s Day without your Mum 

For those grieving the loss of a Mum, it's important to remember that there's no right or wrong way to feel. You might even find that you experience a whole range of different emotions. That’s perfectly normal and fine. Be kind to yourself and don’t place too much pressure on yourself to think or feel a particular way. Here are a few suggestions to help make the day easier... 

  • Consider writing a letter to your Mum. Though she may not be here, putting your thoughts on paper can be a way to validate your emotions and feel closer to her.  

  • Focus on a good memory. Bereavement can often bring up feelings of regret, such as wishing you had spent more time together. If you’re experiencing similar thoughts, try instead to focus on the time you did have. 

  • Hold a memorial. It doesn’t have to be a big event, it could mean lighting a candle or visiting a special place. 

  • Ease the pain of the day by surrounding yourself with supportive people or planning something with friends to distract you.  

young person speaking with a canteen counsellor to deal with grief

You don’t have to cope alone

Join the Canteen Connect community to chat and connect with other young people who have faced similar challenges. You can also talk to a Canteen counsellor about what you’re feeling. They can chat with you online, by phone, or in person. 

About the author

Siobhan Rogers
National Clinical Advisor at Canteen

Siobhan has been a National Clinical Advisor at Canteen since April 2022 and is an experienced senior clinician and social worker who has held roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors.