The anniversary of a loved one's death can be incredibly difficult, as these sort of milestone dates often bring back feelings of loss and grief. If you anticipate this happening and plan for it, you can actually turn it into a positive experience. Instead of attempting to ignore this upcoming anniversary, use it as an opportunity to honor your loved one's memory and help process your feelings of loss at the same time. Here are five ideas to explore:
Write Them a Letter
It may seem silly to write your loved one a letter they won't get to read, but this can actually be a very therapeutic practice. Oftentimes when someone dies, you are left with unresolved feelings and things you never got a chance to tell them. By writing a letter, you can honor their memory, tell them how much you miss them, and possibly provide yourself a bit of closure by getting things off your chest and onto paper. You might want to tell them how much you loved them, and write about a few favorite touching or funny memories.
Visit Them at the Cemetery
While cemeteries are often associated with feelings of sadness, they can also be very peaceful places that help you feel closer to the loved one you lost. By visiting your loved one's grave, you get a chance to sit and reflect, and talk to them about anything that's on your mind. You might want to read them the letter you wrote, play their favorite songs, or just sit quietly and let yourself experience whatever feelings and thoughts come up for you.
Have a Movie Marathon
If your loved one was a movie buff, or even just passionately attached to their favorite television show, why not enjoy a marathon of some of their favorites? This can be a very enjoyable way to feel closer to your loved one, while also perhaps gaining insight into the type of person they truly were. This can be a great activity to share with siblings or other family members on the anniversary of your loved one's death, as it lets you honor their memory but in a more light-hearted and social way.
Go on a Roadtrip
Sometimes the best thing to do when you're sad and experiencing grief is to get behind the wheel and put a stretch of open road in front of you. Perhaps you and your loved one shared a favorite hiking or camping spot, and you can take a road trip there to honor them. Another idea might be to take a road trip to their childhood hometown or a house you lived in together when you were a child. A road trip can put you in touch with powerful memories while also letting you do something adventurous that's good for your spirits at the same time.
Plant a Tree in their Memory
Planting a tree in a loved one's memory on a big anniversary can be a powerfully symbolic act. As the tree grows and thrives, you can watch it from your window or yard and experience the beauty of life continuing on, even after loss. Planting a tree is also good for the environment, so this can be an especially fitting and beautiful memorial for a loved one who was eco-conscious and loved nature. If you plant a flowering tree, you will be reminded of your loved one every spring when it blooms.
These ideas won't bring your loved one back, but they may help you get through a difficult anniversary and will hopefully also provide you with a feeling of peace. You can click to find out more information on honoring your loved one and coping with your loss.