Motherless Mother’s Day: Communal Grieving and the Healing Process

Motherless Mother’s Day: Communal Grieving and the Healing Process

A way to honor your mother with others who have lost their own. Sponsored Content from Celebrant Foundation & Institute.


Traditionally, Mother’s Day is all about “Celebrating Mom”; the assumption being that our mothers are alive and well and this is a special day to thank them for being our mothers. Everything on this day is geared to showing mom how much we care for her by giving her flowers, cards and gifts. Now, imagine how painful this can be if your mother has already died.

Grief is not a linear process: it is circular and seasonal; returning our pain to us on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries of death and other occasions… And as we have learned from beloved teacher and guide, Sobonfu Some, coming together to grieve with others can help all of us immensely in our healing process.

I came up with the idea of “Motherless Mother’s Day: A Cel­­ebration Honoring Mothers No Longer With Us” in 2008, after finishing my training as a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® through the Celebrant Foundation & Institute. In early 2017, I published a website giving people the outline of my ceremony/celebration and the tools they need to create and lead their own. My materials are free for people to use. I include an outline of my ceremony and welcome anyone interested to contact me for the script:

Two key features of my ceremony are 1) Telling our mother’s story, Hearing our mother’s story, and 2) A potluck (NOT a catered event). In telling our mother’s story, you tell your story to a partner, the partner actively listens (i.e., pays really close attention), and then the partner tells the group your mother’s story. Hearing her story in someone else's voice is a powerful experience, making your mother’s life “come alive.” Your mother, her life, her legacy, live on. The other feature, the potluck, is vital because many of us learned how to cook from our mothers; while we also learned about culture, relationships, family history and LIFE in our mothers' kitchens. And oh, the stories we heard in those kitchens!

I host this celebration because for those of us who have lost our mothers, Mother’s Day can be heart-breaking… Coming together as a group, we sing together, cry together, and laugh together. Lighting candles as a group, we hear others repeat our mothers’ names adding, “We Remember.” This is powerful in that it reminds us there is healing that comes in remembering, in sharing our stories with others, and in grieving together in community with others who have also suffered loss.

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About the Celebrant Foundation & Institute

The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants. To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit

Watch January 2017's Weddings with Zita (Zita Christian) with featured guest Elisa Chase, CF&I Academic Manager, discussing Ceremony, Rituals and the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.

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