“He died a year ago today…it’s been five years now since the death of… 22 years ago my sweetheart passed…”

These time markers- a year, 2 years, 10, 30 years etc. are hard. We go through the day-to-day life without the person, dealing with the grief, having some fair or even good days and some rough, but somehow the day that marks the thanoversary, the anniversary of the death, is difficult.  Some people feel the intensity of the loss magnify on that particular day.  And I agree with grief expert David Kessler on this- the days leading up to the thanoversary are challenging as well.  We feel lost at ways that can give suitable or a proper expression of our love.  We want to honor our loved one in a “quality” and fitting fashion but nothing feels quite right. Anxiety creeps in and has us on edge, fearing that day ahead, wondering how we are going to cope.  Some of us feel like we are back at square one with our grief…in a lot of pain.

What helps people get through this tough day is to do something special that helps the griever find connection to the loved one.   The things folks do range from the smallest gestures to the largest acts.  There is not judgment on what, if anything, you decide to do.  Only you will know, and it may have a flavor of being sub-par.  But the idea is to take some action in loving memory of the deceased.

The internet is a great resource for finding what others may have done for themselves.  I’ve gathered a few ideas here which you can adapt and make your own. You can do these on your own or with others. Please know that if you decide to stay in bed all day I would not pass judgment in the least.

  • Constructing/building/making a marker that reminds you of the loved one. Garden stones, sculptures, plaques of out wood, plaster, stones have been used.  Putting them at the gravesite or your home/yard may work well.
  • Framing a picture of the departed and putting it somewhere – in the home, at the gravesite
  • Going to a place that the loved one enjoyed going to or wanted to go to. Somewhere in nature, like the mountains or the beach, a park.  Or somewhere you want to go, maybe taking a few days off or longer and going on a vacation. Do an activity you like.
  • Going to a restaurant that the loved one enjoyed or making a favorite food.
  • Going through pictures, videos, a memory box.
  • Assembling a playlist of songs or playing music the loved one liked.
  • Watching a movie or play that reminds you of the cherished person.
  • Doing an act of service in memory of the loved one like donating time at a shelter or at a school, doing a walk/run to fundraise for a cause.
  • Attending a religious service, like Mass or a prayer event, or saying prayers, reading the Bible or other spiritual text, setting an intention and meditating.
  • Drawing/painting a picture, writing a poem or tribute, choreographing a dance.

There are so many variations on these that the list can grow exponentially.  Feel free to choose more than one if you like.  Reminder to be kind to yourself on this day, turning down the volume on the inner critic or “What if?”  “or “If only” thoughts.

I wish you moments of peace as you plan and experience this day.  Feel free to reach out to me or others for suggestions and support.

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Tustin, CA 92780

(714) 941-2257

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