If you have ever lost a loved one, then you know that one of the hardest days of the year are their date of birth. You know that if they were alive, there would be there with you, and you would be preparing to get them a cake, some brightly wrapped presents, a birthday card, and a hug that is tight enough to let them know that you are glad they are around for another year.
That is why today is difficult for me, because I know that if my son were still alive, he would be a 5-year-old little boy, walking, talking, and leaving legos on the floor like he should be. My son passed away in a car crash when he was 6. I still celebrate his birthday every year though, with a tradition of getting him a themed cake, lighting a candle and making a wish for him, as I sit alone at an empty table where he should be sitting. Perhaps the only recognition that your loved one gets on their birthday is a faint whisper mentioning them from a friend who is afraid they will make you upset.
If only they knew how much we LOVE hearing someone talk about them or mentioning them, right?! Yes, you will cry and get a little down, but when you are done rightfully crying your heart out, do something special for them, something that you know would have put a smile on their face if they were alive. Provide some form of birthday tradition in honor or in celebration of them. Not sure what to do? That is what this post is for. I want to help you make their birthday a little bit more bearable and meaningful.
After all, their birthday is the one holiday each year that is solely for them, unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving. So I have put together some ideas on how you can honor your loved one on their birthday or any day, really. I hope that you, reading this, will find some comfort as you likely stumbled on this post out of a yearning to celebrate their birthday even if they are gone. So here we go:.
Sure, you might shed a few tears as you cut the cake, wishing you could give one of the corner pieces to your loved one, but just imagine how happy and loved they would be if they knew what you were doing for them, even though they are gone.
So using experiences like that to personalize your cake are always a good idea, to make it even more special. I do one every year and it is so comforting every time because I know if he was here, buying a cake would be something that would come out of my budget every April anyways, so for me, it allows me to still have the experience and symbolic value.
If you want to skip the cake, that is okay too, just get a memorial candle and light it all day in honor of their birthday. Like this one, which is beautiful and you can also get here: Amazon. This is also a nice way to remember them on the day that they passed away every year. To make it even more personal, you can spend the night before blowing up the balloons yourself.
In their favorite color of course. You can also write messages on the balloon with a marker, or attach little notes to the strings of the balloons.Birthdays and death anniversary days have been on my mind.
Celebrating My Dad's First Birthday After He Passed Away
She would have been thirty-nine. My youngest sister, Miki, who died twenty-two years ago, is forever frozen as a little girl, barely eight, even though this summer, she would have been turning thirty. I think of her as I remember Shannon. I can still see her blond curls bouncing as she laughed and played in the grassy yard. And, in less than two weeks, it will have been one year since my dear friend, Jody, died. Birthdays, death days, holidays, and anniversaries—they can be hard to handle.
Will it be a day of remembering our loved one fondly? Will it be a day of remembering the pain of their loss? Can any holiday ever feel the same again? Such a fun family trip, only months before she died of cancer.
It felt more like a success just to make it through. Others may feel the opposite—wanting to completely check out, to not even celebrate at all. There is no time limit, and the intensity and duration of grief and how hard it might or might not be to get through anniversary days really depends on many other factors—like how the person died and what your relationship was like before they died. Those whose loved ones died in unexpected, sudden or traumatic ways may experience longer or more complicated grief, including trauma and anger.
Suicide can be especially difficult. And those who had an estranged or uncertain relationship with the deceased may also struggle more over time. This is how I remember Shannon—right behind me, playing, laughing, being my best friend. Being my sister. Because of how she died—a stupid, drunken mistake, an overdose, but by her own hand—it made it even harder. Instead, I tried to ignore her birthday and I geared up to remember her on her death day.
This year, almost eight years later, I felt the opposite. It honored her and was fun for me.How to Get Over Death & Loss of a Loved One - By Keshav Bhatt
No remorse. No pain. Just a simple, normal day. But on her birthday, on Monday, I finally felt ready to celebrate—to celebrate the gift of having had her as my sister and to celebrate the blessing of now raising her children, our children.
How do you wish someone a "happy" birthday when their closest loved one has just died?
I gave myself and my family gifts in honor of Shannon. I thought of her and missed her and loved her. I had a lovely, quiet lunch, almost like taking her to lunch, remembering her goodness and her loving heart.
And I took my family—our family—out to play on the golf course as the sun set and to get ice cream in honor of her birthday, so we could remember our sister, mother, and aunt. This person chose to remember her loved one on his birthday, when she could feel joyful and nostalgic, rather than to remember his painful death.
Of course, this was after she had spent significant time working through her grief, which is very important to do.
Special Ways to Celebrate A Deceased Loved One’s Birthday
We loved having them there with us as our lives began. Remember the good times. Remember their strengths. Remember what you loved most about them.Hello and thank you for being a DL contributor. We are changing the login scheme for contributors for simpler login and to better support using multiple devices. Please click here to update your account with a username and password. Some features on this site require registration. Please click here to register for free. Hello and thank you for registering.
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What do you say in person or on social media via Facebook? I don't want to say nothing. I really feel sorry for them. Something like, "I know it's difficult right now nut I wanted to send my birthday wishes anyhow. This is where the greeting card companies come in. Someone recently gave me a Christmas card about what a great friend I was.
There are many birthday cards like that. Or write a letter saying how much you treasure the friendship. They need to hear that now. R1 is correct. My father's mother died on his birthday. I said to him something pretty similar to that. Just what you said: "I don't know what to say about this, I am so sorry for your loss, but I wanted to acknowledge your birthday, and hope that with time, your pain will ease.
I would send it privately, or you might start an avalanche of "Happy birthday" messages. You do not do it via Facebook. You are trying to say something personal, not something that might as well be scribbled on a wall. My father died several years ago, shortly before Thanksgiving.Grief doesn't magically end at a certain point after a loved one's death. Reminders often bring back the pain of loss.
Here's help coping — and healing. When a loved one dies, you might be faced with grief over your loss again and again — sometimes even years later. Feelings of grief might return on the anniversary of your loved one's death or other special days throughout the year. These feelings, sometimes called an anniversary reaction, aren't necessarily a setback in the grieving process.
They're a reflection that your loved one's life was important to you. To continue on the path toward healing, know what to expect — and how to cope with reminders of your loss.
Certain reminders of your loved one might be inevitable, such as a visit to the loved one's grave, the anniversary of the person's death, holidays, birthdays or new events you know he or she would have enjoyed. Even memorial celebrations for others can trigger the pain of your own loss. Reminders can also be tied to sights, sounds and smells — and they can be unexpected. You might suddenly be flooded with emotions when you drive by the restaurant your partner loved or when you hear your child's favorite song.
The course of grief is unpredictable. Anniversary reactions can last for days at a time or — in more extreme cases — much longer.
During an anniversary reaction you might experience the intense emotions and reactions that you first experienced when you lost your loved one, including:.
Anniversary reactions can also evoke powerful memories of the feelings and events surrounding your loved one's death. For example, you might remember in great detail where you were and what you were doing when your loved one died.
Even years after a loss, you might continue to feel sadness when you're confronted with reminders of your loved one's death.
As you continue healing, take steps to cope with reminders of your loss. For example:. There's no time limit for grief, and anniversary reactions can leave you reeling.
Still, the intensity of grief tends to lessen with time. If your grief gets worse over time instead of better or interferes with your ability to function in daily life, consult a grief counselor or other mental health provider. Unresolved or complicated grief can lead to depression, other mental health problems and other medical conditions. With professional help, however, you can re-establish a sense of control and direction in your life — and return to the path toward healing.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. This content does not have an English version.For many people, the first birthday after the death of a loved one is extremely difficult to cope with. You want to honor them and celebrate their life. But, you also want to continue your recovery from the loss. What type of cuisine would your husband have enjoyed? You can remember your loved one together as a family while doing something they would have loved.
People deal with grief in different ways. You can either visit the grave by yourself, or you could go as a family or group of friends. Go on vacation with your family somewhere you have never been before. In particular, if the death was due to a particular medical condition, you consider donating to a relevant charity.
For example, many widows of victims of cancer give to a charity which works on the topic. Lighting a candle has for a long time by symbolic of remembering the life of someone special to you. As you enjoy a meal together as a family, keeping a candle burning in the middle is a small reminder of your shared loss.
But, with our tips, you can find a way to honor the loss of the special someone in your life while also getting on with your own life. Do you want to learn more about what to do if a death occurs in your family?
Visit the Cemetery People deal with grief in different ways. Light a Candle Lighting a candle has for a long time by symbolic of remembering the life of someone special to you.We'd always celebrate with a family gathering; if the weather was nice, badminton, lawn darts and a backyard barbecue were the activities du jour.
The events always concluded with my dad eating his favorite chocolate crunch-filled ice cream cake. It was a day filled with reminiscing, laughing and pondering the future. It was a time when we truly recognized that every day is nothing short of splendid, and that in the end, we're blessed to appreciate all life has to offer.
However, my father passed away earlier this year, five months shy of what would have been a celebration of his 64 years on Earth.
People who said it were allowing themselves to wallow -- unnecessarily so -- in sadness. Noting the would-have-been age of the departed mentally prolongs a life that no longer exists, a kind of latching on to that makes the loss all the more painful. Cherishing memories and thinking of the deceased are one thing, but a continual blow-by-blow account of every birthday, anniversary and career would-have-been was hard for me to understand.
I'd often cringe inside upon hearing others say their grandmother, who passed 27 years ago, "would have been 98 today. Yet as is common in situations where we hold tight to an opinion until it directly affects us -- at which point we're often open to new views and develop drastic shifts in perspective -- I quickly took a liking to the phrase after my father's death.
What's wrong, after all, in mentally bringing him back, be it looking through pictures, playing a recording of his voice or yes If the closest I get to having him back are moments in which I dream of him and in the beautiful memory of a Would Have Been, then in the end, I'm blessed. The day is nothing short of bittersweet splendor. So, armed with a new appreciation for this world of Would Have Been's, I take great pride in letting everyone know that this month is my father's birth month.
I reflect on what would have been, wondering what would have been said, what gifts I would have gotten him and who would have scrambled for that last piece of crunch-filled dessert. My father is no doubt on a journey we have yet to fully understand and I can only imagine that its awe far exceeds any game of lawn darts.
In some ways, I view his departure as a birth, imagining him in a perpetual state of streamers and crunchies, if you will.
As such, I'm going to make it a point this month to not only remember the 63 year journey he had on this planet, but I'm also planning to celebrate what is now his first journey beyond the ones he had here. As with birthdays, so it is with a loved one's death: it's a time of reminiscing, laughing and pondering the future.
It's a time when we truly recognize that every day is nothing short of splendid, and in the end, we're blessed to appreciate all life has to offer. US Edition U. Coronavirus News U.The first year without your loved one can be very difficult, especially as milestones approach. First birthday. Each of these days will be difficult in their own ways. Alan Wolfelt, a noted grief counselor, author, and educator, affirms that our grief journeys are as unique as we are.
But their grief journeys are never the same. Despite what you may hear, you will do the work of mourning in your own special way. Be careful about comparing your experience with that of other people. Also, do not adopt assumptions about how long your grief should last. Doing so allows you to mourn at your own pace. As a special day or milestone approaches, consider what you will need to get through the day.
Plan ahead and decide if you need to take the day off to rest and reflect. Or, you may want to go to a special place or gather with certain people on that day. A little planning ahead of time can make for a more peaceful and contemplative day.
The hardest part about a day that is special to you is if no one else seems to remember. Take flowers to the gravesite, look through old photos and videos, light a candle, or write a letter.
All of these are simple ways to express your grief outwardly. The outward expression of grief will help bring peace and healing on a difficult day. Another option is to reinvent the days that bring you pain. If they loved to fish, maybe you and your family could honor their birthday by spending a day at the lake and taking time to remember and cherish.
This same principle can be applied to any special day. Even at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can look for ways to reinvent the day and make it something new, something meaningful and healing, something intentional and beautiful. For example, your family might decide to celebrate away from home if a Christmas at home is too difficult to face. Changing routines and focusing on what brings you joy and peace, even temporarily, can help you get through a difficult day or season.
If your loved one loved animals, you may decide to give a donation in their name to a local rescue. Another idea would be to volunteer your time to a local nonprofit that cares for animals. If they greatly valued children, find a way of giving back to local or international programs that help children.
You may even sign up for a race or a walk that raises funds for a special cause. Some people become so passionate about a cause after losing a loved one that they establish their own nonprofit organizations in memory of the person who died.
Though your loved one is gone, their legacy lives on through you. The possibilities for honoring a loved one on a special day are virtually endless.
It all depends on what speaks to you. What makes you feel close to the one you have lost? What were their favorite things? As Dr. Wolfelt assures us, each grief journey is different. No two are the same. Do what works for you and brings you peace. In time, the significance of the day will change slightly.