How can I grieve my mom in a healthy way? what strategies or activities can I do to help me healing?

I lost my mom 2 years ago due to Covid it was unexpected. I took care of her for 2 weeks then she died in the hospital. Me and my 2 sisters were not able to have a funeral for Covid reasons. My mom and I lived together all my 31 years of life. She was my biggest support system and I was attached to her emotionally. I’m the youngest and her and I had a close relationship. I think I've been ok but sometimes I still cry and feel sad. I feel I will benefit from having tools to go through those hard moments beside crying because it is the only thing that helps me
Asked by Elena


When we lose someone like you've lost your mom, it is devastating for many reasons. It's like your mind tries to find all the ways it is suffering now that your mom isn't alive anymore. The circumstance around your loss tells me you may have suffered twice, the abruptness of mom's death and then not even being able to have the funeral. Now, the time has passed, and the world has moved on, yet your mind remains stuck in the past. You are struggling to move on; I suspect it is because you might be scared to let go. 

Your mom meant so much to you that even the pain of the last two weeks of her life could be better than the thought of letting go and putting yourself at risk of forgetting. I think we are all familiar that when we move on from someone, they become a distant memory. I don't think you want that for her. You want your mom to be remembered. You are the youngest, and you want to carry on that legacy of her, those memories of when she was alive, and it hurts. 

You recall the support mom gave you. How close you were. Death reminds us of life. Your experience with your mom has now become all you have because death reminded you that she isn't here anymore, and you have to continue on because the alive version of her would have wanted you to. But you don't know what you don't know, so you ask for help. 

You tell yourself that you shouldn't be doing what you are doing, feeling as sad as you have been, and crying is inappropriate. You tell yourself what not to do next to some measurement of what you should do. The question is, given the circumstance, what SHOULD you do here? How does one move on? Take a minute to answer that question, what is your mind telling you, you should do? 

Often people tell me that their mind tells them what not to do, but then they aren't given any clarity or insight as to what to do. When it comes to pain, loss, grief, depression, and even loss of identity or purpose, we are best to realize the full extent of the situation we are in and instead of trying to fix or turn from it, look at it in the eye. I am talking about fear, loneliness, and sadness; these emotions fuel you to act and think the way you do. If you want to change anything, even cope, you have to acknowledge these emotions and think on what they convince you of, what image or thought you get that gets you to define your situation as painful. 

A few tips: 

1. Radical acceptance is not agreement. Accept your situation, therefore, acknowledge the sadness and reality of your situation. 

2. Practice noticing thoughts, sitting with them, and asking what they want. Sit with the thoughts that tell you you are sad or nervous and be with them. 

3. When you notice a thought, resist the urge to be taken down that pathway of thought. I know familiar pain can seem more enticing than the scary and unfamiliar, but it isn't. Get accustomed to being uncomfortable. It will be uncomfortable for you to turn down the familiar pathway of your painful thinking and the images it produces. 

4. Not indulging the thoughts pain provokes, is the start of letting go of the situation with your mom; she would have wanted that. I say that she would have because you seem like a loyal child and loyal children have authentic parents. An authentic parent would want their kids to do whatever it took to move on. Your mom would not want you to withdraw from life because you were holding on to the last bits of her life. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, we all end up this way. 

5. Be honest with yourself, and your thoughts, and start to acknowledge what you are feeling, thinking, and wanting in life. Be honest, no matter how it sounds. Be honest with where your emotions are. Are you mad at all? 

Look, give credit to the grieving body; it is getting your attention. Your body is telling you that you cannot handle much right now, so you better withdraw from life because you are fragile. The earlier you notice these thoughts and beliefs about yourself, the more you can trust and love and be grateful for what you have been given, a life full of real situations, mom included, meant to shape and mold you. Just think, mom would have probably gladly given her life if it meant that you finally got to live yours. Her death will not only be memorialized in your heart, but your experience with her will also be right there with you as long as you live. Because of that, you don't have to hold on to pain anymore. Notice you hanging on to the past and letting go. Cope by making space for these emotions and giving yourself permission to experience them, all the while you continue to do the things you want in life. Don't let the emotions take you out.