“Liv, ‘Coping With Anniversaries’
Some tips on how to cope with anniversaries after losing a loved one.
1) There’s no right or wrong way to cope. Some people choose to mark the occasion by doing something special, but you might find it easier to cope as a normal day, or to simply spend some time alone to think.
2) Give yourself time and space. It is normal and ok to be sad, and there will be a lot of memories that come up. It’s not an easy day, but sometimes it is easier to accept that you will be sad and allow yourself that sad time.
3) Talk to somebody. Sometimes it can feel as though you’re the only person who remembers. In my family, we haven’t mentioned the night it happened since, unless somebody else brings it up first. But people will remember, and nobody will mind if you talk about it. If you want to talk about memories, that’s ok. Let somebody know how you’re feeling.
4) If you don’t feel up to talking to anyone, you might find it helps to write things down. You can get blank cards, or ‘Thinking of you’ cards in most card shops - maybe you could try writing your thoughts to your loved one?
5) Is there anything special you might like to do to mark the occasion? It doesn’t have to be a big thing - maybe there’s a special meal you shared, a song that means a lot, a particular item of jewellery that means something. You might like to look through photo albums to reminisce about your loved one.
6) Plan the day in advance if you think you’ll find it difficult. You might find it helpful to have things to do and people to see to keep yourself busy. Or you might find it helpful to make plans to have a quiet day, so that you have time to yourself.
7) Remember that you may feel sad in the surrounding days or weeks, not just the day of the anniversary. You might find that on the anniversary you feel better than you expected to, and that’s ok too. Sometimes the anticipation of the day can be worse than the event itself.
8) Don’t expect to wake up the next day feeling ‘recovered’. The grief is still there, and that is normal. But in time, there can be more and more good days. That doesn’t mean the bad days aren’t there, and it doesn’t mean you are ‘over’ the loss. It just means you can have positive times too.
9) Cry if you need to. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Sometimes crying is the best way to release your feelings, and it is ok to cry.
10) If you feel you need some more support, or if you’d like to talk to somebody about your feelings, don’t be afraid to think about seeing a counsellor or bereavement counsellor. They can be a good place to talk about your experiences and about your loved one.”
— An excerpt from Issue One of Bereavement Zine, a piece by contributor Liv on how to cope with anniversaries.