Skip to content

To Mom: What Would I Do Without You?

I discovered the homemade Mother’s Day card inside a box of her things and read what I’d written at the bottom as a young teenager.

“If I didn’t have you what could I do?”

Indeed, I told myself, sitting in her house among her things, This is the question I’ve lived with since she died.

IMG_0002 (2)

My mother and father on their 40th wedding anniversary in 1998. They marked the day by renewing their vows.

This is my 8th Mother’s Day without Mom. Among my friends are those who face their first Mother’s Day without their mamas. For others, it’s been many years.

We all manage to get through it, but not so easily. I hope by the end of this post, you can personalize my ideas and cope more easily.

Mother’s Day in Your Face

Other than Christmas and the anniversary of her death, I miss my mom most at Mother’s Day. You can’t swing a dead cat without seeing something about the approach of Mother’s Day. Sometimes I get downright hostile about it.

In my email box: TCBY: A free treat for moms on Mother’s Day!


At Chick-fil-A: Honor Mom’s Day, May 11.

Wad up the flyer on my tray.

At Kroger: A wall of Mother’s Day cards.

Quicken my pace to the check out.

And then there are the well-meaning people. They celebrate Mother’s Day, oblivious to the time of life when your mother isn’t there anymore.

I thought I was safe at Baskin-Robbins. I dashed in to pick up one of their smallest ice cream cakes. Personal sized. The very courteous manager asked if I wanted the cake personalized. No, thanks, I said.

“Mom?” he suggested to be placed on the top of the dessert.

I wanted to tell him, “No! My mother is dead!” but what would that accomplish?

No Easy Way

We imagine we’ll find a magic pill and the grief will go away, or at least fade into the background. I wish I could tell you there was an easy way to get through Mother’s Day.

Each Mother’s Day is different. I try different things. I’ve avoided morning worship services, where the pastor asks for all moms to stand to be honored. And I’ve also attended and congratulated the mothers enjoying their special day. I’ve celebrated my mother-in-law at Sunday afternoon lunches. And I’ve rummaged through my mother’s things to feel as though she is near me.

I’m gentle with myself. I gauge what I can handle. I vent my woes to my husband. It’s great to have a listener in your corner.

Two Things & Other Things

My mother was a follower of Christ. She accepted God’s provision for a fallen person to be reconciled to a perfect Creator. I also am a Christian. I cannot be good enough to get to heaven, but I know that the trip isn’t earned. It is accepted a gift.

If I didn’t think I’d see my mother again, I do not think I could cope. And if I did not see my mother’s hand in my life now, I’d mourn more deeply than I do.

“If I didn’t have you what could I do?”


My adventurous mom in Cuba before I was born.

I’ve dived into knowing my mother better than I did through the things she left behind. I’ve tried to be the confident woman that she wanted me to be. I’ve remembered what she’d say to me when I was down in the times I needed her encouragement again. I’ve shared her life and her stories with readers.

I’ve let grief do its work, and so, like her, I’ve allowed my life to change and to grow and to become a testament for perseverance. Every time I think to give up, I remember my mother is cheering me on in the arena seating of heaven.

That is what I do without her. Until the day I see her again.

What positive memories or thoughts help you navigate grief? What strategy have you used or might you use this Mother’s Day to cope with the celebration?


Copyright © 2017 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Polly #

    Thank you for sharing this, Toni. 🙏🏼💕✨🎁
    I needed to read this just now. 😢


    May 10, 2017
  2. Hi, Jackie. Thanks! I looked around on your page for it and couldn’t find it. Could you tag me or tell me where it is? I would love to read it. So good of you to reach out to people like that. I’ve learned that a big part of grief is finding people who will listen and may understand.


    May 10, 2017
  3. Sheryl M. Baker #

    Another great post. Someday, I’ll where you are. It is inevitable. I just pray I will be able to grieve and help others like you.


    May 11, 2017
    • Thanks, Sheryl. I remember thinking someday I’d lose my parents. I just loved them more and took it as it came as best as I could later. We all get there and we help those who come behind us.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 11, 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: