Coping with the loss of a parent on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Twice a year across Australia families gather to spend a day with a parent. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day – held respectively on the first Sunday in September and on the second Sunday in May – are meant to be occasions where we celebrate family. Yet for those who have lost one or both parents, it can be a difficult time.


Strong feelings on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

It can be impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t been through the loss what it feels like. You may think of mum or dad every day and of course on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, with all of the promotion that goes with it, it can be a particularly tough time.

You may be seeing lots of messages on social media, television advertisements, and signs in your local shops, reminding you that this special day is coming up. This may make you feel frustrated, sad, and even jealous. Why do they still get to spend time with mum or dad? You may miss the good times and what you will never get to do together. This is a perfectly normal response.

As anyone who has lost someone close to them will know, grief doesn’t have a chronological timeline. The grieving process is personal and people react in different ways.

You may be surprised by your grief, by how intense it may be at times, or by how long it lasts. Even if you have family and friends around you, you can still miss a parent.


Small steps to cope after the loss of a parent

Try to not withdraw and instead talk about to family and friends, remembering the good times you had together.

Write down your stories and anecdotes about them. Reminiscing about the best times can help you work through your grief.

You can spend the day doing an activity you would have enjoyed. That could be going for a walk, fishing, watching their favourite movie, or having a barbeque or dinner with the family.

Remember that you don’t have to experience grief alone. Let someone help you and don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for support.


Need help? You can find support services in northern Queensland or complete a self-administered K10 test for depression and anxiety. You can also join the online social and mental health forum to talk with like-minded people.