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Motherless Mother’s Day: How one woman has created a healing space for those who grieve

Every May, companies blast out commercials urging people to buy gifts for Mother’s day. The day is meant to honor the role mothers play in our lives, but for those who have suffered a loss, it can be a painful reminder of the void that remains. Alicia Forneret lost her mother in 2016, and feels the weight of the holiday every year. “I know how challenging it is to get to this weekend, after seeing all of the ads, after seeing all of the emails popping up in your inbox saying ‘buy flowers for your mom,’ ‘buy your mom a gift.’ “I can’t do that, and a lot of other people can’t do that,” Forneret told Yahoo Life. Creating a safe space for people who have lost their mothers became a priority for Forneret, who struggled to find appropriate grief resources after her mother’s death. “I really wanted something that resonated with the experience I was having. Which was very different from doves, and rainbows and recovery. It was anger, it was confusion,” she explained. In 2019, Forneret launched her first Motherless Mother’s Day event, where people could gather to share, grieve, and avoid the nonstop questions about their mother’s on Mother’s day. It became a space where participants could feel taken care of and where feelings could be validated. In 2020, the event was totally digital and consisted of 33 events in 3 days. This year, the event has been renamed to “Caregiving 2021” and will extend until Father’s Day weekend, placing the emphasis on the overall experience of losing a guardian. “So this event will include people who are grieving the loss of any caregiver. Mothers Day isn’t just hard for people whose moms have died, and Father’s Day isn’t just hard for people whose dads have died. The figures in our life that serve those purposes of caregivers and guardians take many shapes and forms, so we’re just opening it up to anyone who needs support this year,” said Forneret.