After the funeral’s over: 4 ways to deal with anniversaries

A little over a year ago, I had my first real experience with losing someone I was close to. My cousin, who I grew up with, died unexpectedly a few weeks before her wedding. After a year, I still think about her every day. So, when the anniversary of her death came, I knew it wasn’t going to be just another day.

Here are some ways to remember loved ones:

  1. Write them a letter / talk to them — Just because they’re not physically present anymore doesn’t mean that your relationship with them ends. Ask them for guidance. Tell them how you feel. If there were things left unsaid — say them.
  2. Call your friends/family — You’re probably not the only one struggling with memories and emotions. Reach out to each other. Tell each other funny stories about your loved one.
  3. Have a memorial service / scatter ashes — If the funeral for your loved one left something to be desired, hold another one! It is never too late. Even if the funeral was the healing ceremony it should be, that doesn’t mean there’s not more healing to be done. Gathering friends and family together for a short remembrance ceremony can be deeply comforting.
  4. Have a personal remembrance ritual — The options are unlimited here. What reminds you of them? My cousin was an amazing baker. For Thanksgiving, in what will probably become an annual tradition, my sister attempted to make my cousin’s famous pumpkin pie recipe. It was a small way to honor her memory at a time when we would be missing her the most. This article says that personal rituals can be a great salve for grief.

I called my sister and spent some quality time with my journal. I reflected on how my life has changed since she left, partly because of her, and how I wish I could share it with her.


Originally published at www.carolynwalkley.com on July 31, 2016.

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