How do you cope with anniversaries and special occasions?

If you’ve lost someone close to you, you can often find that particular dates in the calendar can loom large as a difficult time for you.
The anniversary of the death brings up all kinds of emotions for many of you. So can birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other significant dates when you would’ve shared happy times together.
Some of you prefer to let the day pass with as little fuss as possible. Others like to do something to mark the occasion like visiting your loved one’s grave, or a special place, or simply spending time with friends and family to remember.
Which occasions have you found difficult? How have you coped with them?
Post a reply and let us know your experiences.

My husband passed away 4 months ago. It was his birthday a couple of months after he passed away I spent most of the morning crying at his grave. Last week it was our wedding anniversary and my 60th I spent most of the morning at the grave but this time busy sticking flower heads into the soil to cover his grave. I was kept busy with phone calls, shopping and going for a chest x-ray which didn’t leave much time for moping. My family took me out for a meal at the weekend respecting my wishes and leaving me alone on our special day. All seemed calm a colleague even remarked noticing the change but it’s worse today I can’t stop crying…

It’s the anniversary of my Mums death on the 3rd November. I wasn’t sure whether to mark the event, try to ignore it, go to work, spend it alone, spend the day with my dad…the current plan it for me & my Dad to go to my Nephews confirmation & then out for dinner. I guess we’ll have to see how things are on the day.

My Mum & Dad were together for 60 years, her birthday is the 12th October & their anniversary on the 28th October, so he would more understand what you’re going though. I’m really sorry you’re so upset at the moment.

Tlang I hope you manage to do something on our Mum’s birthday. Visit her favourite place, listen to her favourite music or do something your Mum liked. Hope you and your Dad can do something together, it’s nice to have someone who understands what you’re going through. I don’t think you will be able to ignore it even if you wanted to. I always had the day off work for our anniversary as John and I went out for the day or planned our holiday around that day, that’s why it’s even more distressing.

Hi Libby, how are you doing today? Thanks for your suggestions above. She was very partial to a Margarita cocktail so I may raise a glass to her on the 3rd. Do you have family close by that you can talk to? I ring my dad every day as he’s about an hour away…I’m hoping that he’ll move closer in the next couple of years. He can keep busy during the day but it’s the evenings on his own that he struggles with. I keep suggesting he goes to The Dog’s Trust & get a little furry companion.

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Hi Tlang
I’m ok, thanks for asking. What about you, how are you doing?
I just went for a walk during my lunch break and listened to John’s message.
He left me the most precious and priceless gift - a Goodbye message on a video. I watch this every evening, it feels like he’s on Skype, although it’s only one sided… I’ve also recorded the complete message on my phone and listen to it most lunch times or when I can’t access the video from dropbox. I can understand your dad struggling in the evening. Evenings and nights are really the worst times. My friend lives in the south and she has calls me every single day, she’s as good as my counsellor at the hospice. He’s away on annual leave I guess that’s why I felt so low the other night. Some days are worse than others I guess you know that from experience.

Have that Margarita and listen to your mum’s favourite music, wear her favourite colour or something she liked you wearing. Make her a little card or write a verse you can laminate/put in a plastic bag (to protect from the rain) and take it to the grave. What about planting her favourite plant in your dad’s garden to mark the day. I ordered a Peace Rose last week.

Your idea of a Dog to keep your dad company is really good. Unfortunately, because I work all day I can’t have a dog.

Hi Tlang I hope tomorrow isn’t too traumatic for you and your Dad and you can somehow start your own rituals for the day and all the years to follow. Remember all the happy times fondly, things and places that your mum enjoyed and things that made your mum laugh.

Today is All Souls Day so will be remembering your mum in my prayers.
Libby x

Thanks Libby, it’s really nice that you remembered tomorrow. We’re going to my Nephews confirmation which seems a fitting place to remember my Mum.

How are you doing?

Tlang hope all goes well tomorrow and you can all remember all the good times you had with your mum.

I’m thought I was doing ok until an engineer at work came in last week after his cancer op which brought everything flooding back. He looks like a skeleton and can barely walk but wanted to return to a desk job as he wants company which is understandable. The tears are on the brink all the time now. Take care.

Yesterday was ok as my Dad and I spent most of the day together, went for a pizza with my brother and his family and then my Nephews confirmation in the evening.

I have found that since my Mum dying I am very easily affected by anyone else losing their Mum or Dad or suffering from cancer like my Mum did. I know what you mean when you say you’re always on the brink of tears. Whenever I can I let them flow as trying to always put on a brave face isn’t good for you. I lost my beloved Bulldog Rolo in February and now cry every time I see one on the tv…it’s exhausting this grieving thing!

I’m glad that the anniversary was ok and that you were able to spend it with family.

It’s good that you’re letting the tears flow when you can, rather than bottling things up.

Sorry to hear about Rolo - pets are so special to us, and a big part of our lives, so it’s normal to grieve when they die, and especially so when you are still grieving for your mum.

Are you considering getting another dog at some point?They are such good company, but I know it does also mean a lot of work and responsibility.

So relieved, you were on my mind and I prayed you and your family would get through yesterday. The confirmation must have been a welcome distraction too.

So very sorry to hear about Rolo. It must feel like it’s never ending…

I too find myself affected by people’s grief and loss and those suffering with Cancer. I wish there was something I could do to help. Just today I found out the company can release us from work, one day a week, to do some voluntary work. I’ve called the Hospice and will be collecting an application form. It’s only for a couple of months but it’s a start. I’ve also registered to the Alzhiemer’s Study that was mentioned on BBC yesterday. Just feel the need to give something back.

It will be 6 months for John next Saturday, not sure how I’ve survived this long.

Someone once said to me that they imagined each of the firsts that they had to get through as skittles and each first was a skittle that was knocked down. I know that some people have found this image a help.

Hi Tlang
How are you doing? It can’t be easy with everyone going on about Christmas.
How is your dad coping? Just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you.
Take care Libby x

Hi Libby,

I’m doing ok, thanks for thinking of me & asking. I’ve got a very different view on Christmas this year - I’m watching people around me worry about buying the right presents & delivering the perfect Christmas dinner. I think as long as my nearest & dearest have a present & there is some nice food in the house then I’ve done just fine! It’s a very liberating place to be. I do find myself getting tearful at lot - my daughters carol concert last, I’ve just read her school report (it’s wonderful) adverts for the NSPCA or RSPCA even the John Lewis advert but at the same time I’ll happily launch loudly into a full Christmas carol on the radio and eat 2 mince pies in a row. I’m taking it day by day & that feels ok at the moment.

How are you doing?

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