“How can I face Mother’s Day when my mother is no longer living?” “How will I get through graduation when our son, who died so suddenly, should have been among those graduating this year?” “How will I get through her birthday, our anniversary, or that wedding?”
These special days may once have filled you with eager anticipation; now you may feel anxious about them after your loss. Consider the following suggestions as these special days draw closer.
- Tell others what you need. Let them know about special dates, so they are aware of possible rough times. Suggest how they can support you.
- Reflect on what you want and need to do. If you take the time to think about the day, it will probably become clearer as to what you’d like to do.
- The anticipation can be worse than the actual day. Do you find yourself with such negative thoughts as “I can’t handle this?” Try changing these thoughts into something more positive, such as “I need to stay focused on the present; I can get through today.” You might be surprised how helpful this change in thinking can be.
- What would you have done on that day? Can you revise that same tradition to help you heal?
- Visit the cemetery or other places that remind you of your loved one. As time goes on these visits become less painful and more comforting.
- Consider a new tradition.
It is wise to plan activities or rituals to remember and connect with the person who died. Expect that it may be difficult. You might be relieved to discover moments of healing or comfort on that special day.
By: Patti Anewalt, Director, Pathways Center for Grief & Loss