Remembering A Loved One On The Anniversary Of Their Death
- June 1, 2022
As losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences any of us will ever have to go through, navigating their death anniversary can be very emotionally challenging. As you pass the first anniversary of their death, you may still be dealing with a whole range of complex emotions and be utterly unsure whether you want to do anything to even mark the occasion at all. Understand that that is completely fine and it is normal to feel this way.
However, it may be the case that you wish to arrange something, be it a large gathering or something much simpler, to help you remember your loved one and to celebrate the life they lived.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief and loss. Whatever you choose to do – be it something or nothing at all will be very personal to you and to your particular situation. Do what feels right for you.
Here are a few ways other people have chosen to remember a loved one on the anniversary of their death.
Connect With Others Who Share Your Loss
Whether you choose to hold an elaborate memorial service or just to sit down to dinner with family and friends, having people around you who understand what this time means to you can really make all the difference. You can make your loved one’s favorite meal or share a toast in their honor… whatever feels right at the time.
Sharing memories with those who were also important in your loved one’s life is another way to remember them and even learn things about them you might not have known before. Doing this will invoke a range of emotions, but this way you get to experience them together and support one another through this difficult day.
Visit Their Gravesite or a Meaningful Place
A common ritual of remembrance is to visit the final resting place of a loved one with flowers each year on the anniversary of their death. You can bring along other unique tokens such as a personal letter, writing down your thoughts and feelings can be very cathartic, or a photograph or you could just simply stay a while and remember.
If visiting their gravesite isn’t possible or simply doesn’t feel right, an alternative might be to spend time in a place that was special to your loved one or even to both of you. Here you can take some time to reminisce on your time together and reflect on the love you have for them. You may choose to do this alone or with family or close friends.
Look Through Old Photos and Momentos
Photos and videos of your loved one can be a great tool for remembrance. They can help you bring to mind all the happy ways you spent together, as can special songs and tokens from your time together. You might choose to use this opportunity to create a photo memory book to compile into a keepsake and share with others.
Another option is to create a tribute post on social media and encourage those in your loved one’s network to share photos, videos, special thoughts, and other messages of support and condolences. Sharing favorite memories in this way with people you might not be able to spend time with in person can lift spirits and lighten a heavy day.
Light a Candle and Quietly Reflect
While some like to share these difficult days and plan something special, this doesn’t have to be the case for you. If you prefer to mark the occasion alone and in the comfort of your own home, then you may choose simply to light a candle for your lost loved one. If you keep their ashes in an urn, you can light the candle next to it.
Take this opportunity to do something, however small, that reminds you of your loved one and the kind of relationship that you had. Maybe you will play a particular song or playlist, watch a favorite film or tv show, write down some of your thoughts and feelings or simply quietly reflect. Do the things that bring you comfort while the flame burns.
There is no right or wrong way to go through this experience. As the years go by, the ways that you choose to remember your loved one will likely change – and that’s okay too. Grief changes, emotions come and go, and your feelings won’t always be the same as they are now. Some years you may feel your sadness more intensely and others less so. That will naturally have an impact on what you choose to do on their death anniversary.
Marking the death of a loved one can be upsetting, but finding the right way to do it, something that feels authentic to the situation can make it less of a struggle and more of a day filled with reminiscence and happy memories. Whatever you opt for, don’t forget to take care of yourself and check in with yourself so that you know you’re doing okay too. It’s what your loved one would have wanted.