Alison Garwood Jones

Mother’s Day Grief Survey

February 28, 2024

Hi Everybody:

I want to include you in a story about Mother’s Day. I know many of my friends and colleagues here have gone through the experience of losing your mothers. You’re my people.

A lot of you are also doing life without your dads. Like you, I’m an orphaned adult.

With your help, I want to write an article called, “It’s Just A Day: Orphaned Adults Share How They Get Through Mother’s Day.” To do that I have crafted a survey to capture your thoughts. (link below)

The article I’m planning, which I’d like to pitch to the Toronto Star, coincides with a book I am publishing the week of Mother’s Day. I MISS MY MOMMY: 150 Portraits of Orphaned Adults is the world’s first picture book for big people without parents. It is 280 pages of drawings and short captions about our least favourite emotion, grief. Cover reveal coming in April.

I MISS MY MOMMY captures the Five Stages of Grief through a series of intimate portraits that are funny, grim, and relatable. I called my fictional cast of mourners “The Stagers of Grief,” and I followed them around with my sketchbook and brushes as they moved through their eeriest, rawest, softest, and biggest breakthrough moments.

Unlike past Star articles about Mother’s Day, I want this one to offer a wider range of voices and experiences from our cohort (orphaned adults 45+). What I’d like to find out from you is, what kinds of feelings and memories do you bump up against every second Sunday in May? As a reminder, this article is not about not being a mother ( #Bless), it’s about being an adult whose mother is gone.

I am genuinely interested in finding out how you honour the good memories and manage the bad ones (afterall, grief can also include thoughts about the mother you wished you had). I’m not interested in writing an article that leans into saintly stereotypes about motherhood. Rather, I want to share short vignettes of how her choices and personality shaped you and the life you are leading now. I want to show how our cohort of orphaned adults is facing up to grief, and learning to manage it through rituals or self-care.

This article also won’t be about how you keep busy being a mom or dad or a grandparent on Mother’s Day. It will be about how you sit with the moments of silence that push their way through the busyness and make you consider what it meant being your mother’s child.

Through your range of voices and experiences I would like to offer other grieving readers a sense of recognition and comfort. I will honour your privacy should you choose to use a pseudonym. I hope that it inspires greater honesty in your answers.

If you are interested, please join me over at:

Thank you for your willingness to share your notes from the road. If you mother is still with us and I have mistakenly tagged you, I sincerely apologize.

The poll will close on Wednesday, March 13.

Alison xo


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