Embracing Mother’s Day without Mom

Losing my mother is one of the hardest things I have gone through. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. That day, I lost the person who was my support, friend, mentor, and confidant. She was my mom, a strong, brave, and ambitious woman. I know that my strength and resilience are largely because of her. Her being such an amazing role model gave me the tools to overcome many challenges in my own life.

For obvious reasons, since her loss, Mother’s Day has not been the same. The grief and challenges that accompany the absence of my mother on any day of the year are difficult to process but especially profound on moments such as Mother’s Day. Yet somehow, I found ways to bring me solace and strength.

After Losing My Mother

I vividly remember the day my mother left this world, leaving behind a void that seemed impossible to fill. It was an unexpected and devastating loss that shattered my world and changed the way I experienced life.

As Mother’s Day approached in the years that followed, I found myself grappling with a mix of emotions: sorrow, longing, and a deep sense of missing her. Yet my journey of grief taught me to feel these emotions fully, acknowledge that they are normal, and practice self-compassion along the way.

Healing Means Remembering

Over time, I discovered that healing is not about forgetting but rather about finding ways to keep my mother’s memory alive and honoring her impact on my life. While Mother’s Day and pretty much every day are difficult, I made a conscious decision to see these challenging days as opportunities for growth and reflection.

Cherishing memories proved to be a powerful tool in my healing. I take the time to reminisce about the precious moments spent with my mother. I share stories with my daughter and anyone who cares to listen.

In addition, I make sure to continue to cultivate gratitude for the time I had with my mother and the love she bestowed upon my brothers, daughter, and me. I also remember to nurture my soul at every opportunity, making time for activities that bring me joy and replenish my spirit. In my case, I take long walks, knowing that connecting with nature has always had a profound impact on my

Helping Others is Healing

I have since shared my experience with others who have gone through similar losses. This provides me with an invaluable sense of understanding and support, as well as a sense of paying it forward. As I began to heal and gain a better understanding of my grief journey, I found comfort in offering support and guidance to others who were just beginning theirs.

Finally, I remind myself over and over again that my mother would want me to be happy and live my life to the fullest. The best way for me and my daughter to honor her memory is by living our lives in a way that makes her proud. Since then, I have pursued many passions, spent time with loved ones, and actively pursued moments or situations that bring me joy.

Life is precious, and as we know, tomorrow is not promised, so find joy in the simplest moments, practice gratitude, and be fully present in the experiences that unfold.

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Read more from Dr. Mankes: Positive Attitude and Faith in Grief – Open to Hope

Dr. Carol Leibovich Mankes

My name is Dr. Carol Leibovich - Mankes, DrOT, OTR/L, PLCC, GC-C. I was born in Israel to Argentinian parents. I immigrated to the USA, adapting to a new culture and learning a new language. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. I married my high school sweetheart and celebrated 25 years together in 2016. My husband passed away from Cancer a few months later. I have been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Parent Coach for the past 20-plus years. My expertise is learning and handwriting difficulties in children aged 3 - 18. I also provide parent coaching through 1:1 sessions and courses to empower parents of "out of the box" kids to advocate and be more effective parents. I am a Widow and a Solo Mom who has gone through many losses and transitions in her life. I’ve unfortunately become an expert on grief and loss through personal experiences of five years of infertility, having a child diagnosed with a disability, and the demise of my spouse and Mom simultaneously. I’ve learned that grief is an individualized journey that sometimes resembles a rollercoaster. Fortunately, I have rebuilt myself with the help of faith and personal determination. I believe healing is possible when one accepts, works, and adapts a healthy mindset. My experiences and professional expertise as an Occupational Therapist, a Certified Life/Parent Coach, and Grief Counselor helped me in my journey. Since then, I’ve been able to support others experiencing similar circumstances. My mission is to empower and bring awareness to grief and loss. Ensure society understands that grief is a process that can arise from any significant loss, including death, loss of control, loss of the "perfect" child envisioned, secondary losses, and more. I am here to inspire & enable others to move from loss and pain into a hopeful and fulfilling future. My mission is to empower others to laugh and live again despite the pain. Turn feelings of despair into hope and a fulfilling life.

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