Excerpt from “Getting Through the Annual Reminders of Your Loss” from CareNotes.
Memory writes on every page of the calendar – her a birthday, there a holiday, further on a wedding date. In the wake of death, those precious days bear a bittersweet tinge, a pang that celebrations they mark will never be repeated with someone you have loved.
Most of those dates are warmed by tender recollections; some are written darker than the rest. Whether this is your first turn around the calendar – or one of many – since your loss, these dates loom dark on the horizon. Tears that you thought were behind you swell again, and with them comes a terrible loneliness.
You can meet these milestones head-on and make them a bridge stretching toward a brighter tomorrow by reaching out, looking back and looking forward.
Reach out by choosing your company for the day. Don’t wait for someone to remember. Your grief easily slips out of mind – even within the closest circles of family and friends. Present your need and ask for companionship, you might even be more comfortable with someone who has been in your shoes instead of those you have always spent your day with. Tap into the support of your faith-community by asking for prayers or to remember the deceased in the Sunday worship service.
Look back by claiming your memories, those bits of history which have made you who you are. Call to mind all the joys and struggles which shaped this interrupted relationship. Admit your regrets. Mourn the dead dreams. Claim your grief and give yourself permission to cry.
Look forward by offering forgiveness. Create new holiday traditions. Count the blessings you have, especially the people who grace your life with love. Plan something big, or small, for the future.
On the days special in your memory, face the truth of your sorrow and the truth of the healing which has already begun. And believe in the promise Jesus of Nazareth spoke: “Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.”