There is no defined path for grief to take after the death of a loved one. Each person heals from a loss on their own timeline, but even years later, the anniversary of a loved one’s death is painful. You may feel fear or dread as the day approaches, perhaps reliving the moment over and over again. Although the anniversary of a loved one’s death will always be a difficult day, there are things you can do to ease the pain you feel as the day approaches.
- Plan something special. Perhaps there was something that you and your loved one enjoyed doing together, or there was a place that you hold dear. Take some time to plan and engage in that favorite activity or visit that special place, and relive the happy memories that you had together. Having this time to look forward to can make the approach of the day a little easier.
- Give back. Donating time or money to help the community in honor of your loved one can give you a sense of doing something positive at a time when you feel absolutely helpless.
- Share memories. You can plan a memorial for friends and family members, as a time to share what you remember most about your loved one. This is a great way to ease your grief together as a group, rather than alone.
- Don’t hold back. Even after many years have passed, there is no shame in fully feeling your grief on the anniversary of your loved one’s death. It’s tempting to try to ignore the day and the pain surrounding it, but giving yourself space and permission to embrace the emotions you feel is a healthy way of coping.
- Take time for yourself. Really think about what you need to do for yourself to make this time easier. Maybe you need to leave town or block off time for a special treat to ease the dread you feel as the day approaches. Recognize that this is a difficult day and that taking some time for yourself is in no way selfish.
If you need more resources on how to cope with grief, contact us.