Helen, my wife, died in September last year so her birthday of 28 January will be my first without her. I plan to put fresh flowers on her grave and get her a birthday card but I want to do more and I am painfully short of ideas and beginning to panic. We usually tried to get away to Norfolk and do some birdwatching on her birthday and I had thought of going alone but it just does not feel right.

What do other people do, or plan to do if it’s their first time? Any suggestions gratefully considered.
Hope everyone is taking care of themselves and wishing everyone a peaceful night.

Hi Alan what about playing some music that either Helen or you both enjoyed Colin

Thanks Colin - playing The Pogues at the grave side would enliven the cemetry, will think on.

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Hello Alan
My husband passed away five months ago. We too often went to Norfolk and I cannot ever imagine going back there. I can’t think what I will do on our 30th anniversary in February . The ’ kids’ have decided that we will spend it together . How lucky I am.
Do what feels right , be comforted I hope by whatever you decide . I’m sure Helen will adore it , you know her well enough.
Kind regards always,

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Hi Alan

I went for a meal at a restaurant locally on my Mum’s birthday at a relative’s suggestion. They thought it would be a nice way to remember her. The meal itself I could take or leave but we walked home by the river after and that was pleasant so I would say a walk remembering your Helen. Either alone or you have mentioned a son so maybe he would like this too. Take your binoculars too and maybe see some birds en route?


Thanks Kim for your kind words. Its good to have family around you when the milestones come up ! Take care, Alan.

Thanks for you ideas Mel, think I might see what my son is doing on the day and see what he would like - he thinks birdwatching is strictly for the birds but we’ll see. Best wishes.

Hi Alan,my my husbands 1st birthday was 3 weeks after he passed away I went for a walk with my daughter,grandaughter and brother.My husband was also a keen birdwatcher and has some amazing photographs of them that he took .I think going to norfolk at this time would be too hard for you, I to think you should go for a nice walk if the weather allows this or as someone suggested on here a meal out and raise a glass or two to Helen

Thanks Skylark, I’ve been thinking about what you, and Mel,have said about a walk - it’s a good way to revolve things in your mind and reminisce. Could couple it with a meal out too, or get our favourite Chinese takeaway. Hope you have a good look at your husband’s photographs now and again its a good way of remembering good things. Thanks again, Alan.

Have you considered a card from either Moonpig or Funky Pigeon.Com. You can customise it with your own words and personal photographs of Helen or both of you together. It would act as a keepsake for you as well.

Hi Tina, thanks the idea of a keepsake. I must admit I haven’t heard of Moonpig or Funky Pigeon but I will give them a try. Best wishes, Alan

Hello Alan. You have to search the designs to find a tasteful template but you can add lots of photos or a singular photo and create your own text. It may not be suitable for your needs but it is something you can put a lot of thought into from the comfort of your home. Regardx

It’s a difficult time when you lose someone you love. My sister in law passed away last summer. As a family we got together for Christmas and played board games. We enjoyed each others company but missed our special family member. We have planted a magnolia tree as she loved them and always wanted one. We plan to scatter some ashes along the North Norfolk coast as she loved the coast. If you have someone to go bird watching with go. Remember your wife and smile if you can. Maybe buy a plant in her memory or sponsor an animal or become a member of rnbi? Maybe organise or attend a fundraising event that would be close to your heart or your wifes? I hope you find a way to cope with your grief and take care.

Hello Karen, thank you for all your ideas, a little while back I had been wondering whether to plant a tree in Helen’s memory. What I really ought to do is put a pond in the garden - it is something we often discussed but I put off because of being too busy with work to keep the garden in shape, my running joke was that we had a wildlife garden but I don’t think it pleased our more tidy minded neighbours. I retired in August last year and now regret not immediately doing the pond. I always thought there was time but there isn’t. Will discuss with my son who has been a real rock throughout. Thanks again.

Hi Alan,
I’m so sorry to hear of your loss…I lost my lovely Dad to cancer September last year too and it would’ve been his 80th birthday in February coming up.
He loved all things Italian, and so I’m cooking an Italian meal here at home for the family so we can toast him and honour his memory in that way.
Best wishes and hope you’re ok,
Ruth x

Hi Ruth
So sorry to hear of the loss of your dad in September and thank you for your kind words. Helen was Cornish but I don’t think she would have expected me to make a genuine Cornish pasty! We used to have a Chinese on her birthday if we could but it is their New Year on Helen’s birthday so our local may be shut but we’ll see, might try our favourite pub. Hope your meal goes great with swapping some lovely memories.
Wishing you a good day.

Hi Alan

Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you on what would have been your Helen’s special day. I hope you do something lovely to remember her.


Thank you Mel, that was kind. Helen’s birthday was yesterday and my son come down from London and we put flowers on her grave, then we went bird watching because that’s what we usually did on her birthday. We had a Chinese,another usual, raised a toast and talked about her. But it doesn’t feel like talking about someone behind their back sort of thing but as though they are a presence with you and part of the conversation.
Hope you are having a good day, take care.

Hi Alan,pleased that you managed to do something for Helens Birthday,did you go bird watching in norfolk?when I went after my husband passed,I kept getting asked if I had seen a rare bird,can’t remember which one I felt so stupid as I know quite a few different types of birds with going with my husband but I was no where near as good as he was at identifying them,I find it comforting when I go but also sad as he was so passionate about his hobby and he should still be here.take care.skylark

Hi Skylark
Not Norfolk - we usually went for a whole week and that felt too much - my son and I went local (the north Kent marshes). I know what you mean by it being comforting and I miss the teamwork, I used to be a bit quicker actually spotting them but Helen was better at identifying the birds. And as you say our partner should still be here, I am still having a quarrel about this mortality business. All the best Skylark (what a nice pen name for a birdwatcher!)