bartbookI didn’t expect it when I passed the rack of Mother’s Day cards. But suddenly it hit me like a fist in the gut. “I can’t send one of these any more. My mom is gone.”

She had died 6 months earlier.

Losing a parent is the one life passage that all of us experience. If our parent is at an age when death is  more or less expected, the depth of our grief may catch us by surprise.

But, just as I nearly doubled over at the sight of a Mother’s Day card, we realize, “It doesn’t matter that she’s 90. She’s my mom! And she’s gone!”

Here are 3 ways to help you over the hurdle of that first Mother’s Day:

  • Honor other moms in your life. I now send cards to my mother’s sisters and my daughter and daughters-in-law; even to an older friend who’s been like a mom to me.
  • Talk to those whose lives your mom touched: her friends, her siblings. Ask questions that you've never taken time before to ask. Learn to see her not only as your mom but as the special person she was to other people.
  • Remember your mom is creative ways: three sisters I know go to their mother’s gravesite and share stories and laughter. Another friend always makes an upside down cake from her mother’s special recipe to serve on Mother’s Day. Another  touches gently the ring that belonged to her mom.

After my parents died just two years apart, I wrote the book, Nobody’s Child Anymore: Grieving, Caring, Comforting When Parents Die.  I wanted to offer compassionate help to other ‘adult orphans’ and I’m grateful to know it has been in print for 15 years.  Perhaps the true stories--and the “steps forward” that accompany each story-- will be a help to you.

Order Nobody’s Child Anymore: Grieving, Caring, Comforting When Parents Die and support with your purchase

bartocciBarbara Bartocci has authored nine hard copy books  and two kindle books. Nobody’s Child Anymore: Grieving, Caring, Comforting When Parents Die (Sorin Books: Ave Maria Press) won First Place Honors from the National Catholic Press Association the year it was published. A companion book is titled From Hurting to Happy: Transforming Your Life After Loss. Barbara also gives talks and leads church retreats. Learn more at

Copyright 2013 Barbara Bartocci