A mother’s impact is felt from the moment their child is born. Throughout their lives, they take on many roles, such as caregivers, confidants, educators and friends. Much of their energy is given to the betterment of those around them, finding joy in the chaos parenting presents. They leave their mark on the world, not only in what they do but also in the humans they raise and the lives they touch.

Mothers provide a sincere and intimate bond that can’t be replicated, a love and support that often begins at birth. As such, we continue to celebrate and honor their dedication.

For over 100 years, we have shown our gratitude for the woman who raised us. But for many, observing the Mother’s Day holiday is earmarked with memories of times past, memories that will never be re-created.
Remembering those souls who are no longer present is a situation many find themselves in each year. While they may not be present, their legacy lives on.

A Difficult New Year

For JoAnna Thompson, this Mother’s Day will be difficult: her mother passed in the early months of 2022, making this the first celebration without her best friend.

“Her spirit is alive. I didn’t do anything to make that happen; she did,” JoAnna says, reflecting on her mother’s infectious personality. “I hear her voice. I see her in the mirror, in my sister, my kids.”

What does she miss the most? Among her unconditional love and frequent phone calls, she misses her mother having the right answer, the words she needed to hear—in comfort or in tough love. Joanna knows this isn’t going to be easy, especially for her own children, who were also close with their grandmother.

Yet, she has found some solace in the memories of them singing together. The song “The Truth I’m Standing On” by Leanna Crawford has been a treasured release as she navigates the world and fondly recalls the beautiful moments she cherishes of her mother.

To honor her mother, she says, “The only thing I can do is try to be even just half the mother she was.”

A New Generation

Sophie Taylor’s mother passed about 10 years ago from breast cancer. She admits there are hard days, days when the sudden grief will wash over her. This became particularly noticeable after the birth of her own daughter, Faye.

“I have great women in my life, who have been super supportive and helpful,” she shares. “But you know, not to sugarcoat it, it’s not my own mom. It’s just not the same.” By acknowledging her emotions, she is able to move through the absence of her beloved mom. “[I] lean on my husband. I talk it out when I need to, and I do have a counselor that I call on and talk to as a third party.”

And she chooses to make every effort to show young Faye the dynamic essence of her grandmother.

Favorite hobbies of her mother included making fresh-pressed flower frames with watercolor paintings, Sophie explains. “I was able to get one of those frames from my dad and I put it in Faye’s nursery. So, she’s [my mom] physically there and so Faye can look at it.”

She continues, “My mom was really into gardening and had a green thumb, and Cory [my husband] and I are the same way.”

The pair has turned it into a new favorite pastime, not only for the fresh fruit, vegetables and beautiful flowers but also as a way to connect their daughter with her grandmother.

Leaving A Legacy

Nearly 13 years ago, Jennifer Presswood’s mother lost her battle with breast cancer. Though the way she honors her mom each year changes, the sentiment, love and admiration are ever radiant.

“She did everything with so much passion behind it,” she reflects. Her mom was a pharmacist, committed to helping people. Jennifer is now a marketing executive for a regional health insurance company with a mission that inspires Jen. After her cancer diagnosis, Jennifer’s mom, Karen, founded METAvivor, an organization dedicated to metastatic breast cancer awareness, research and support.

“My mom left a legacy,” she shares proudly. At first, she felt a subtle pressure to be involved in the organization to keep her mother’s advocacy alive, to continue what her mom started.

“The legacy of starting a nonprofit organization, advocating for the need for more dollars to go to research and support for Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer while fighting cancer herself, those are some tough shoes to follow or step into,” she says.

Eventually, Jennifer found her own passion in the volunteer world. “What I have learned over time is I need to honor those shoes by creating my own legacy to keep her passion and spirit alive,” she acknowledges, collaborating with METAvivor when possible.

As she has evolved both personally and professionally, Jennifer is in a place where she is more now than ever a striking comparison to her mother: living her purpose and passion through work.

“As I have become more grounded in my grief, this year I will honor my mom by resting, pausing and simply celebrating her,” says Jennifer. She wishes her mom could see how far she’s come.

Anna Jarvis secured her mother’s legacy so we could continue to honor mothers for years to come. Simply choosing to remember our maternal figures, no matter the manner, is the greatest gift we can give. It embodies all forms. From artistic endeavors and rest to maternal aspirations and legacies, our recognition of what they do and have done will continue to guide our path.

We honor those who have moved on from this life by living our lives. By carrying out our dreams and by welcoming each day with unyielding zest and energy for whatever comes our way, we honor them. By using the lessons they have taught us, engaging with their passions and joys—even in our own way—and sharing these facets with our own children, we honor them. Now and always, we carry them in our hearts.