Coping with the Death of Your Mother: A Guide to Finding Hope

Monday, August 3, 2020

Losing your mother can feel like an unfillable void was left. Grief can live in the body as a traumatic event. Studies show that with a few actionable tips, traumatic grieving can be mitigated and one can experience a heightened sense of wellbeing even during bereavement.

In this article, we discuss stages of grief and tips on coping with the death of your mother.

Stages of Grieving

Grief is a part of life that will affect everyone. Intense grief comes after the loss of a loved one but you may also experience it after the loss of a job or relationship. According to the Kubler-Ross model of grieving, there are five stages of grief:

  • Denial: A short phase characterized by a non-acceptance, avoidance, and fear of the situation or your feelings
  • Anger: Characterized by lashing out, resentment, envy, frustration, anxiety, or irritation; Usually a mask for underlying feelings
  • Bargaining: Characterized by trying to negotiate your feelings or the situation; may express regret over the past or time lost in the future
  • Depression: Feelings of helplessness, numbness, 'living in a fog', or withdrawal are normal in this phase
  • Acceptance: The final stage of grief characterized by understanding the place a loss has in your life and seeing a situation clearly for what it is. Usually, the person is then able to move on without lingering emotional turmoil

This model is widely used but is certainly not the only one. Some models display two stages of grief, while others have seven. Some people may experience all or none of these phases. It is also not uncommon to experience them in a different order. For example, feeling depression before anger. 

Coping With the Death of Your Mother

Though there are categorical phases to grief, everyone's grief is different. Some experience anticipatory grief before they ever have to make arrangements while others are more accepting. How you cope with your emotions should be healthy and what's best for you. Here are some tips to help your process.

Accept Your Grief

Grief is a natural process. Grief that is denied or ignored can be likened to a dammed river. You can build a life up behind the dam but if there are every any cracks, it will hurt all that you've built. Allow yourself you feel how you feel without judgment. Denying yourself this right will prolong or intensify your grief.

When you are ready, don't be afraid to talk about your mother; the things you loved or didn't love. Take the time you need to clean out their closet or home. There is no time limit on grieving.

Spirituality and Holistic methods

People often confuse spirituality and religion. Though they are related and religion can certainly help the process, spirituality has more to do with caring for your well-being. This means accepting that you are a whole person that has physical and mental needs.

To focus on your spiritual wellbeing, practice things like meditation, yoga, painting, or listening to music. Journaling is a great way to manage your emotions and note any progress.


In a study following bereaved spouses, 90% of the respondents said that having humor in their daily life was an important part of their grieving process. This eased the negative emotions of their bereavement. 

Inject humor through friends, family, or entertainment as a means of self-care. Though you cannot avoid the negative emotions, humor and positive feelings can help you weather grief better. Often while grieving we forget to do the things we used to love. Try going back to the activities that brought you joy to regain the feeling of balance in your life.

Healthy Grieving for a Hopeful Future

Coping with the death of your mother is never easy. Whether it comes as a shock or is anticipated, grief is there waiting for you. Open the door to grief to heal from your loss. Use holistic methods, spirituality, and humor as a means of heightening your well-being during this time.

For some tips on honoring your loved one's legacy, click here.

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