It’s continually espoused that the anniversary of the death of a loved one, their birthdays, Christmases, Weddings and other special life events can be particularly challenging after the death of a loved one. These times are known to increase the absence that we feel of our loved one in our life. They are also known for triggering negative memories and causing old grief to resurface.
What a lot of people actually find though is it’s the build up to the event itself that is more challenging rather than the actual event itself. With some planning and forethought we can actually change this and allow these times to be a time of reflection for ourselves.
Not only can we reflect on how our lives have changed since the death of our loved one but we can look at how we have grown since then too. We can look at how we’ve become stronger and remind ourselves of all the good things that have since happened.
Rather than viewing special occasions as a reminder of the absence of our loved one in our life we can instead look at ways to bring their presence into our lives even more. We can look for ways to celebrate their lives rather than mourn their deaths.
The one thing that is required to change our perspective on this is action. By passively sitting and waiting for special occasions to happen we create the mental dread of the event and allow ourselves to bring up unpleasant thoughts and memories. We end up focusing on the death of our loved one rather than on their life.
During family gatherings moments can be created to acknowledge and remember your loved one. You can toast and celebrate them. By remembering the good times that you had with them you are creating their presence there. It is only by not remembering them that we feel their absence more.
Some of you may find that initially talking about them is painful. Yet by looking past the pain, back to the memories that you had of them in life you are actually able to ease the pain. Remember what you loved about them. Remember what you drove you mad about them. Share these moments with others so that they can share their memories too.
You may find yourself crying. That’s ok. What is more important is that you may find yourself laughing. That’s ok too. You may find yourself caught up in the love that you have for them. That’s more than ok. For it’s in tapping into the love we have for them that allows us to feel as if a part of them still remains.
Questions for self-reflection:
- How does the thought of your next special occasion regarding your loved one make you feel?
- How would you like to feel?
- What could you do to help create this shift in your emotions?
- How could you celebrate your love one’s life and bring them into the special occasion?