Special days become huge triggers for grieving hearts. Birthdays can be especially difficult.
From the Grieving Heart:
Your birthday is coming up. What do I do with that?
I want to remember you somehow, but I'm honestly dreading the pain that I know will come.
I must bear the pain. I love you. I will remember and find ways to grieve well.
I'm glad you were born. Out of all the times and places where you could have been born and lived, somehow your life intersected mine. Amazing. Wonderful. Special.
Why did you have to go? The pain of all this grief is intense. No matter what I would have imagined, it has been worse. I guess it takes a death to appreciate what life truly means.
Did I take you for granted? I'm sure I did. I feel guilty about that. Now my heart is cracked and broken, and my soul is leaking out.
I will face your birthday and express my love for you. I will remember and honor you.
Birthdays are massive grief triggers.
Birthdays used to be times of celebration. Once a loved one leaves, their birthday becomes a massive grief trigger. We remember, and memories can be painful. We look at the calendar with dread, wondering how we're going to make it through this special day.
Some hunker down, close the blinds, turn off the lights, and hibernate. Others take time to remember and whisper words of thanks or gratitude. Still others make specific plans to honor and grieve their loved one on their birthday. These plans can include presents, letters, cards, a special event, a donation, or serving in their loved one's name in a cause that was important to them. Some light a candle or set up an empty chair in remembrance. Many share this special occasion on social media and invite others to express memories.
Most likely, this special day will be difficult for us. It will be emotional. We might have painful or even disturbing memories. All this is a natural part of the grief process.
Their birthday will come and keep coming every year. We will fare better if we can make a simple plan for the day. Just the act of being proactive can unplug some of our dread. We can honor them, grieve well, and make the day count.
This is part of loving them, even after they're gone.
I will be proactive and make a simple plan for your birthday. I will honor you and express my love.
Adapted from Comfort for Grieving Hearts: Hope and Encouragement for Times of Loss. To watch a 1-minute video about the book, click here.