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Remembering the Anniversary of a Loved One's Death

Anniversaries and special dates of significance will cause the family to experience powerful memories and sometimes relive the sadness of loosing a loved one.  Anniversary reactions can occur throughout our lifetime, surprising us when we least expect them.  Below are some ideas or rituals that can help you through this time, while also allowing you and your family members and friends an opportunity to remember your loved one:

1.    Reminisce and tell favorite stories or memories about the person who has died.  This is often fun in a big group over a meal.  It's especially great if there are people in attendance that knew the person throughout different periods in the deceased one"s life.

2.    Take flowers to the grave site, memorial site or location of the tragedy.  This could be done individually or in a group.

3.    Make a donation to a charitable organization or start a scholarship in the deceased person's name. It is especially personal if the deceased person had an organization they were particularly active in or strongly supported.

4.    Make a collection to display the deceased personal items, serve their favorite foods, display different photographs or funeral programs, or watch a video.  Obtain a keepsake memory box and include items that have special meaning to you and the deceased.  Construct a memory book and include such items as the deceased's funeral program, obituary, special poems, quotes or songs, and photo collages.  You can have the deceased person's favorite music playing in the background.

5.    Make a toast or say a prayer at the start of a family meal or gathering.

6.    Plant a tree or dedicate a bench or plaque.

7.    Create a new tradition or plan a weekend getaway.

8.    Write letters or a journal to the loved one to express your feelings or publish a memorial in the newspaper.

Be aware that anniversaries may trigger heavy feelings of grief.  Do not be afraid of them, rather embrace them and reach out to your other family members and friends.  Don’t try to hurry the grieving process, rather feel your way through it and remember the very special person in your life.
 

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