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Anniversaries and Special days

Human Beings are created with the ability to withstand and stand in the midst of chaos and catastrophe we are created to survive all manner of trauma, be transformed and changed by our experiences and live on.  The cultural society we live in for expressing grief is to sweep it under the carpet ‘as if’ by talking will trigger memories of the death of your loved one and will evoke those painful feelings to when your Loved one died the truth is, unbeknownst to the outsider you have never forgotten the death of your Loved one and you live it every day and you never will or the pain that comes with your loss.  It is to our mourning which we can support and make less.

Anniversaries and special days imply a celebration and in time that’s what they will become to you once you let go of the initial pain of shock, loss and grief.  Having realistic expectations of what may happen in the future regarding your grief may help you to work through the more difficult and intense days for example You can expect all ‘first’s’ to be difficult and your feelings may become as intense as if the death of your Loved one just happened if not more intense because the shock won’t be there to deflect your pain.  Life will be particularly difficult for the first two years following the death of your Loved one. 


After the first year has pasted you may find year two is often the most difficult of times. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, you will find a way which is best for yourself to get through these especially difficult days; you will be faced with your grief for years to come and anniversaries and special days will be more difficult.  These days are not stepping back into your grief but a reminder of all you’ve lost and how important your Loved one was and still is in your life. 


Anniversary reactions are normal and may last for just the special day or for days or weeks before and after, it is normal to feel sad and blue, it is normal to cry or not cry it is normal to feel lonely or fatigued all those feelings you had immediately following the death of your loved one may return again and with intensity.  Anger, pain of separation, yearning and anguish, loss of control, difficulty sleeping, despair and anxiety, allow your feelings to just be how they are on the day let them come as they are try not to fight them, practice your relaxations techniques to support any anxiety to make the day as easy as possible for yourself find what comforts you.


Another thing we can do for Anniversaries/Special days is to plan before the day arrives


Think about what you may like to do on a forthcoming Anniversary or Special day what do you need to prepare?  What do you need to plan to get through the day?


The emphasis is on ‘doing’ something productive in memory of and for your Loved one - symbolize and memorialize the deceased person.  Memorialize your Loved one and the love you shared with and for your precious beloved.

What you may need to consider is to give yourself ‘permission’ to not only grieve but also permission to go on with your living, accept your life will never be the same again without your beautiful Loved one -  accept your life will go on so your Loved one lives on and through you. 


Sadness will remain a part of you for all time; your memories will be the most beautiful of gifts and cherished joy of your loved one’s life and the life and love you shared together.


If your grief gets worse over time instead of more manageable or interferes with your daily functioning it may be time to seek personal counselling and/or to seek medical support through your GP.  ‘Ignorance is bliss’ but unresolved grief can lead to depression and mental health issues and it is both productive and healthy to be honest with yourself about how you feel so you can take the best course of action to ensure you’re healing and well-being is paramount.


Your aim is to bring your life into some sort of acceptable balance to your Inner Self.


God (Inner wisdom)

Grant me the serenity

To accept

The things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things

I can change

And wisdom

To know the difference.

Suggestions to honour the love you still have and always will have for your precious Loved one, the emphasis is on ‘doing’ something meaningful to celebrate and honour your Loved one’s life


  • Think about letting others know Anniversary, birth or special days will be difficult, if you feel overwhelmed you will need to go or have others go if they are visiting you.

  • Plan a memorial service on birthday or anniversary of their death, it can be in a church, it doesn’t need to be religious a house or dinner party can be a memorial gathering.

  • Volunteer at a ‘soup’ kitchen for the homeless and serve their meals if you don’t want to be home on Christmas day or don’t want to join in families festivities.

  • Create new traditions by doing something different if you’ve never been away at Easter or Christmas plan a break away from all familiarity.If you can’t face a Christmas tree fill your room with poinsettias, flowers or fireplace garlands or buy something new for Christmas or Easter your Loved one would have liked to symbolize his or her presence Go to a place your loved one loved to go and celebrate the times you had there.

  • Visit the seaside and release some balloons over the sea to mark the day.

  • Create a collage of photographs or turn photos into a digital album.

  • Create a memory album of photo’s create little stories or add meaningful words.

  • Place a photograph of your Loved one in a prominent place and keep a candle vigil all day.

  • Introduce a bird feeder into your garden nurture the birds by feeding them every day.

  • Build a themed or special garden, or a rockery buy bright plants, bulbs, wind chimes, spinners and a bird bath or a small water feature, make a sign with your Loved ones’ name on it dedicating this garden in your Loved one honour nurture and sit in it often, on special days lay some flowers or make a wind chime, hold a garden party or invite other to put something special in the garden; or plant a tree/shrub add a plaque.

  • Create a memory box filled with reminders of their life include their possessions.

  • Create a ritual you can do every year for example make a card or write a letter to your Loved one include your feelings, your love for your Loved one keep them in your memory box.

  • Plan to spend the day with other parents who understand what you’re going through.

  • Donate to a charity or sponsor a child in a third world country.

  • Plan a charity Memorial Day in your community.

  • Create a face book page for telling the story of your Loved one’ life; only allow the people you want to see it add what feels right for you to share about your beloved.

  • Plan a day of pampering at a Spa a massage or a treatment so you can focus calmly on the qualities and gifts your loved one left you with.

Whatever you choose to do on the anniversary or special day fill the time with

love & connection

If you feel you would like some support as you negotiate your grieving and healing path please contact on one of the details below

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