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Ways to Deal with an Anniversary of a Death

Posted on February 19, 2016
We often celebrate ‘firsts’ in relationships, but the first year after the death of a loved one is one first nearly everyone is unprepared for. As you begin to establish a new life in that first year, the anniversary of a loved one’s death can creep up on you quickly—and all of a sudden, those feelings you felt when they passed may come rushing back. 

So what can you do to cope with an anniversary of a death? While you should do whatever you feel is most appropriate, we have a few suggestions that may interest you:

Write a letter to your loved one. Having a “talk” with the one you lost can be soothing. Consider writing how you feel or updating your loved one on what has been going on over the past year. If writing the letter seems to be cathartic, maybe start a journal where you can write to them more frequently throughout the year.

Do something to honor them. Sharing and keeping their memory alive creates a positive influence in your life. If you are financially able to do so, starting a scholarship at your loved one’s alma mater not only honors them, but can help a student in need. Even donating your time to a local charity he or she felt a passion for can boost your spirit.

Host a dinner party with your family and closest friends. This is a great way to reminisce on all the time you and your family spent with your loved one. Cook their favorite meal and ask your guests to provide a favorite dish as well. Come together as a united group and look at photo albums, share stories, cry, and laugh through the evening.

Establish a tradition. Doing the same thing every year on the anniversary of their death is a wonderful way to establish happy memories on that day and celebrate a life well-lived. Whether it is ordering their favorite takeout food and watching their favorite movie or visiting their grave or memorial site, find something that fits your loved one’s personality as well as yours.

Treat yourself well. While life will never be the same as before, you can grow and renew your life in so many different ways. Think positively and focus on creating a new life, but continue to include the memory and life of the one that has passed. Make time to take care of yourself—the stronger you are, the easier it is to have the strength to build a new chapter.

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