Here’s how I’ve learned to face Mother’s Day without my mom

I didn’t expect to be emotionally ambushed when I checked my email, but the subject lines sucker punched me without warning.

And my favorite: “Don’t Forget Mom!”

Please. I’ve been mourning her for six years now, and not a day goes by where something doesn’t remind me of the underground-music-loving, cocktail-mixing, hardworking ER nurse and mother of four named Lydia who fought lung cancer with every ounce of her strength.

The author and her mother, Lydia.

Nicole Lyn Pesce

I have been trying to forget Mother’s Day, however, now that I don’t have this special lady to treat to brunch, send flowers to or FaceTime with anymore. But it’s hard to escape. Mother’s Day is one of the biggest retail holidays in the U.S., and Americans are expected to spend a record $31.7 billion on their moms this year, according to the National Retail Federation. In fact, Hallmark estimates people send 113 million Mother’s Day cards each year. So the mother of all well-meaning, well-oiled marketing machines is bombarding our inboxes, social-media feeds, websites and TV shows this time of year — which is really, really hard on the kids grieving our moms.

“The first year after I lost my mom, I remember rolling my eyes at all the ads, deleting all the emails before I really read them, or changing the channel, and being like, ‘Will it ever end!’ ” said Jessica Buckley, 41, from Long Island, whose mother also died from cancer several years.

“It’s a tough time,” agreed Simona Rosekelly, 37, in Washington, D.C., who lost her mother several years ago, as well. “The sales ads, commercials, you try turn a blind eye to … but then everyone updates their Facebook

profile pics to show their moms, or posts pics of mom. I just go to ground on the day of, avoid social media. All I can do is distract myself.”

The author and her mother, Lydia.

Nicole Lyn Pesce

More and more families are facing a difficult Mother’s Day this year, as almost 1 million Americans have now succumbed to COVID-19. The World Health Organization has warned that the global death toll is around 15 million people.

And COVID-19 can…

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