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Coping with Milestone Grief

milestone grief
The anniversary of a loved one’s death can be more difficult to bear than grieving people realize. In fact, many dread the day. Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated with family and friends. But the anniversary of a loved one’s death is far from a celebration. I once heard a grieving fiancé describe the anniversary as the “death-versary,” which, to me, seems like an appropriate way to refer to the dreaded day. Grief is a strange and indescribable feeling, process or state. Or rather, it’s all of these things wrapped up into one emotional, physical and mental roller coaster. Each day is different than the one before and each day will be different from the next. The death-versary is no exception. One day it may seem as if the person who died was just here and the next day it can seem like they’ve been dead forever. The silver lining? Unlike the 364 days that preceded the death-versary, this particular day is anticipated. This means it’s important to find healthy ways to remember and to honor your loved one. I would suggest making a plan for the day, even if you don’t keep it. At least this way, you focus on something rather than waiting for the ton of bricks to hit. Choose what’s best for you to honor your loved one’s memory – there isn’t a right or a wrong way. A few suggestions:
  • Take flowers to their gravesite
  • Plan a memorial service
  • Cook their favorite meal
  • Watch their favorite movie
  • Get together with friends
  • Take the trip you’ve dreamt about
The significance of the death-versary will always be there. It’s up to you how you choose to go through it. The good news is, you are going through this grief journey and you will come out the other side.

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