The grieving process is a challenging one and as each year passes, we may be at a different stage of the journey. The best thing that we can do is honor where we are at and know that we are not alone. It can be helpful to reflect on where we are within the grieving process, no matter what that might look like for us. It’s different for everyone, and knowing that is part of the healing movement. Depending on our stage, it may affect what we decide to do on our loved one’s death anniversary.
We hope you can find comfort in knowing you are not alone. The various channels of grieving have their trials, yet, our loved one would want us to continue to flourish in life and to keep their memories alive. It’s an opportunity to rediscover ourselves, this new version of ourselves, and see the potential for the days ahead.
In one way or another, we all will experience death at some point in our lives, whether it’s someone close to us or when our own time has come. We know that’s a daunting thought for most. It can be genuinely stressful and scary thinking about this—we can definitely relate to your fears and concerns. If we allow ourselves to open up and communicate early on about our fears or worries, it can help us work through the emotions of grief instead of feeling like we need to keep them in.
Here are a handful of ways you can celebrate your beloved on their death anniversary. We have highlighted the main ones below. See which one feels best for you and know that it may change year to year.
1. Plan a Party
Yes, you read that right. Cultures around the world have traditions when someone passes where the core is based around community support. This is a big step, and may not be for everyone, but it can be extremely helpful to share your time, energy, and collected experience with those you find most comforting. There is strength in numbers and gathering your community together to celebrate may be exactly what you need to reminisce on all the lives that person has touched throughout the years.
2. Look Through Old Memorabilia
If you have any old photos or even home videos lying around, this is a great way to celebrate your loved one’s life on their death anniversary. Old videos allow you to listen to their voice again and that in itself is a memorable treasure. You can even make a scrapbook and it could lead to a very healing activity along the grieving path.
3. Write to Them
Taking a pen and paper to write out how you may be feeling, what you miss about your dear one, or sharing some of the recent milestones with them is extremely therapeutic. It also ensures that no memories get lost over the years, especially if you want to pass them down to future generations. This can be helpful at any stage of your processing and can look like a letter, journal entry, or even a poem.
4. Take the Day Off of Work
Regardless of what you decide to do, this may be one of the most important. It is probably best to give yourself space away from responsibilities that may distract you or not give you enough time to be with your emotions. In a world that can be full of to-dos and going from this task to the next, you want to give yourself plenty of opportunities to move about the day how you desire and celebrate your beloved exactly how you want to.
5. Create Memorial Jewelry
Diamonds remind you of the essence of living. As you move forward in life, having a memorial jewel created allows you to still have your dear one by your side. You can wake up every day with a cherished reminder that they are still with you, now it’s just in a different form.
Whether it’s a person or a pet, all that is needed is your loved one’s ashes or hair, which is used as the carbon element for the diamond. Next, it takes the perfect amount of heat, pressure, and time that is unique to your specific gem. You will be updated on each step along the eight-month journey, so you know your precious loved one is being taken care of and in high regard the whole time. This process becomes not just about making a jewel, but also supporting you in your healing transformation.
6. Spend the Day Experiencing Some of Their Favorite Things
Does your loved one have anything adventurous or playful that they really enjoyed doing? Whether it is by yourself or getting others together who want to celebrate with you, you can plan a day full of adventures. It could be a favorite restaurant, outdoor activity that they enjoyed, going to see a movie, having a picnic at a park, or going somewhere to listen to music.
7. Create a Memorial Garden
Another way to celebrate a death anniversary is to plant beautiful flowers, trees, or even edible shrubbery that you can tend to and watch grow. If you have any keepsakes or reminders that you can include in the garden to decorate, it adds a nice touch. Helping something grow can cultivate a deep sense of peace on your journey.
8. Visit Their Final Resting Place
It is a tradition among many cultures to visit a gravesite and usually to bring flowers to adorn the headstone. An option would be to bring a picnic, lay out a blanket, even light a candle or two while you are there. Take some time to really sit with your loved ones and even share with them what is new in your life.
There are numerous ways to celebrate the death anniversary of a loved one. Every year may look different on how you choose to celebrate. Does your loved one enjoy surprises and new experiences? Maybe you choose to commemorate them by doing something new each year. Perhaps having a ritual that is similar each time, best fits who they are as a person. Decide what is best for you and who you choose to spend this time with. At the end of the day, all we really need to do is hold those who have passed in our hearts, and remember that they are still with us each and every day.
Everyone will experience grief, which can be hard to think about for some. That is why it’s important now more than ever to change how we communicate with our loved ones on death and what that process may look like. It can seem like a taboo subject that no one wants to bring up, but not bringing it up only leads to not knowing what someone may want in their final moments, or how they want to be remembered. Some of the pre-wave resources are things like death over dinner, death doulas, or for once the passing has taken place there are grief retreats or memorial diamonds to continue on in their memory.
Whatever you may decide, continue to tell their story and be gentle with yourself. Emotions may arise leading up to the day, on the actual anniversary, or the following days and that is simply human nature. It’s important to know that everyone processes grief in their own way and whatever you choose is perfect for you. If you need to reach out for extra support at this time, whether that be through a friend or professionally, trust what your intuition is telling you. It’s truly about finding the best option for you and where you are at within this transformative time.