Sunbeams Through Sadness on Mother’s Day


Acknowledging grief and ways to work through it

Mother’s Day is a day to honor mothers. It’s a time to spend time with your mom, shower her with flowers and gifts, and messages of love and appreciation. As an organization that provides grief care, we know the sunshine of that day can turn cloudy when your mother dies.  

Our Lady of Peace Development Associate Debbie Swanson knows this feeling well. Her mom died suddenly when Debbie was young. “My mom was admitted to the hospital after a round of chemotherapy, and we thought it was just a “bump” in the road. I remember asking the doctor what was happening, and his reply was, ‘We will know in a couple of hours.’ Two hours later, my beloved mom died. I was devastated.”

For many years, Debbie struggled with Mother’s Day, but discovered ways to make it easier. She offers these 5 suggestions to anyone who grieves their mom on Mother’s Day.

  1. Find a way to celebrate your mom in a way that honors the things you loved about her.

If she had a giving heart, bake something, and bring it to someone who could use some kindness.

  • If your mom loved gardening, plant a perennial in your garden that will bloom every year in her memory. There is a spring-blooming plant called a bleeding heart that flowers in pink, heart-shaped blossoms.
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers for your home in remembrance of your mother’s love.
  • Get together with you siblings and share memories and stories about your mom.

There will likely be tears because they represent the power of the memories.

  • Visit a place that your mother loved, and spend some time there remembering

why she loved it. Who knows, it may become your new happy place.

For Debbie, the thing that helped the most was making sure other families didn’t have to go through what hers did. She enrolled in a hospice volunteer training program, and it was there that her passion for the hospice philosophy solidified. She eventually became a bereavement coordinator, serving both patients and families on their grief journey. “I knew there was a better way to die and a better way to prepare yourself and your family for the loss,” she says. “This is at the heart of hospice care, and why it is a gift to patients and families.”

Today, Debbie is committed to helping raise awareness and funds so OLP patients can receive care at no cost, beyond what is covered by Medicare, and their families don’t have to worry about paying a bill. She says, “I’m here to help make sure it continues, well into the future. This is the greatest way to honor my mom; taking the burden off families, so they can focus on love and saying goodbye.”

Recently, Voyage Minnesota published an article on Debbie’s story and her hospice work.

Our Lady of Peace is grateful to Debbie for sharing her story and shedding light on the value of hospice.

We wish you all a blessed Mother’s Day, knowing there may be tears, but also happy

memories that shine through the clouds of sadness.