Grief

How to Cope On The First Anniversary of Your Loved One's Death

by 
Anne-Marie Lockmyer

The first anniversary or deathiversary of someone's passing is tough.The pain is still raw and the memories most vivid. Your grief can be strikingly reawakened and intensified.

All sorts of feelings may be experienced - sharpened sadness, tiredness, anxiety or nervousness, irritability or anger, guilt, or foggy thinking. You can just feel out of sorts. You may experience headaches, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances or unusual dreams. You may feel like you have had a setback.

But you haven't. These feelings are normal and I want to encourage you to welcome them and let them flow through you. They are confirming signs of how important your relationship has been and how significantly this loss has affected your life. Trying to hold them off will only add to your stress.

Acknowledge painful days in a healthy way and it makes the days more bearable. Meet the heartache head on, recognize the loss and process the emotions.

It's healthy to acknowledge the hard days. The key is planning and giving yourself permission and space for raw and tender emotions.

Talk or write about what 's happening to you during these days. Plan a way to remember your loved one - formally or informally. You are going to be thinking about them anyway. You can honor the one who is dear to you while simultaneously encouraging your continued healing. It can be as simple as a special picture and post on Facebook. Or it could be a celebration or remembrance of life with family and friends to share memories, tell stories. eat your loved one's favorite food, light candles or release balloons.

Here are some ideas on how to remember them:

  • Plant a flower or tree and put a nameplate nearby.
  • Place a memorial stone or bench in a garden or park.
  • Install an ornate birdhouse, a fountain, or a work of art.
  • Do something for others in memory of your loved one. Donate to a charity or a social cause they believed in.
  • Take flowers to the gravesite, a memorial site, or another place where you go to remember your loved one.
  • Look at old photos and home videos.  Do this alone and have a good cry or reminisce over photo albums with family and friends.
  • Reach out to someone else grieving the loss via letter, card, phone call, or e-mail.
  • Cook your loved ones favorite dish, use one of their recipes to prepare a meal, or host a pot-luck and ask people to bring a dish your loved one liked.
  • Light a candle in honor of your loved one.
  • Visit or spend time in a place where you feel close to your loved one.
  • Take the trip you had been planning or dreaming about.
  • Read old notes, letters, or e-mails from your loved one.
  • Write your memories onto slips of paper and insert into a bottle. The next year, open the bottle (or break it) and pull out the memories to read.
  • Create a new ritual to celebrate the life of your loved one.  Choose a ritual that can be repeated in the years to come.
  • Do something your loved one would have enjoyed. Build a memorial with portraits, personal items, and objects that remind you of your loved one.
  • Establish a scholarship in their name.
  • Finish a project your loved one was working on.
  • Read old notes, letters, or e-mails from your loved one.
  • Write your memories onto slips of paper and insert into a bottle. The next year, open the bottle (or break it) and pull out the memories to read.
  • Create a new ritual to celebrate the life of your loved one.  Choose a ritual that can be repeated in the years to come.
  • Do something your loved one would have enjoyed. Build a memorial with portraits, personal items, and objects that remind you of your loved one.
  • Establish a scholarship in their name.
  • Finish a project your loved one was working on.
  • Listen to their favorite music

Be gracious and gentle with yourself during this time. It is hard and it can create a roller-coaster of emotions. Remember, you hurt much because you loved much.

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