Grief Anniversaries… 1 year & 7 years …

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October is my grief month.  This is the week of grief anniversaries for me.  I’m taking a break from the steps to surviving change and loss blogs to write about this.  I have two grief anniversaries this year, hmm, I guess forever.  Now what do I do with this awkward, weird, uncomfortable grief and recognition?

This is the one-year of mom’s death and the seven years of Kris, my first husband.  Last year I wrote my blog on my mom’s death and shared my raw insights on grief.  This year it’s the one-year anniversary of her death.  How do I feel about that?

It’s all bittersweet.  On the one hand, it’s a relief that I’m not living in that dark place of the pre-grief, hospitals, hospice and watching her decline due to congestive heart failure and dealing with dad’s dementia all at the same time.  This time last year was overwhelmingly awful.  Then on the other hand, I’m in a surreal place of wow, a whole year and I still miss mom and I’m sad she’s gone.  I have survived that first year of firsts, OK, check – however I’m not done grieving.  I feel the sadness, that darn hole in the heart feeling, the replaying of events leading up to her death, the desire to talk about it, and the mind constantly thinking, Oh, a year ago, I was doing… mom was… There’s a lot of dread for the holidays since mom’s influence is huge and continues to affect me during the upcoming holiday season.

My deeper thoughts are, Augh, another grief anniversary, and now two in the same week?  It feels like too much sometimes. Other times, I can go about my daily life.  The loss of Kris has lessened over time.  It is now a part of the fabric of our lives, that hole is still there.  Still, there is the reminder and sadness he’s not here, I miss him, and he’s not there for the boys. Yes, we’ve all moved forward with life but, he’s still not here for the boys and that’s the most painful part.  He is still here with the memories, sayings and living within my children – just not physically on this earthly plane.  It’s a very weird place to be happily married but still miss my late husband. How does one wrestle with that?  I don’t really know and sometimes it feels so awkward.  I just try accepting it and thank God I’ve been blessed with two amazing men in my life.

What to do this icky and uncomfortable grief week? I will choose take care of myself and acknowledge this is a weird and uncomfortable week of grief anniversaries.  I am taking a few days off to get away at the end of the week with a friend this year.  Time to try something different and hopefully refreshing.  What do I need? - Just prayers and love.

So what do YOU do with your grief anniversaries? I’d love to hear so please share.  If you are experiencing your first and have no idea where to start here are a few thoughts from my journey you might find useful

Be aware of the date and what may be bubbling up for you.

  • Ignoring and it stuffing it are forms of denial and can lead to outbreaks later.
  • Consider how you feel and what you might need or want at this time.

Communicate what you need/want to others

  • Do you want to be reminded of the day?  (i.e. FB “thinking of you”, emails, texts, calls, cards)  OR Do you prefer to not be reminded and move forward?
  • Do you need or want support or talk about it?
  • Work to communicate your needs to others.
    • They need to know what you want and how to support you.
    • Other people are generally trying to be helpful – if they aren’t gently let them know what you do need or want.

How do you want to remember or spend the day(s)?

  • Do you want or need to take time off of work?
  • Do you want others around or spend it quiet?
  • Do you want to get away or stay at home?

Do you want to do something special in memory of that person?

Here are a few ideas myself and clients have chosen:

  • Visit grave/memorial site
  • Plant a plant or tree in memory of
  • Put up a cross/other religious/spiritual memento
  • Go down memory lane:
  • Watch home video, look at photo albums, go through belongings, share stories
  • Light a candle
  • Journal/write/draw/paint
  • Cook, build, do something they would have loved or enjoyed
  • Volunteer or donate to their favorite charity
  • Play their music, watch their movies, read their books
  • Plan a special event, memorial or church service

We’d love to hear how you cope and what if anything you do you do on your loved one’s death day?  What have you found helpful?  We'd love for you to share your story as well. We have grief resources that might be helpful as well.

Are you or someone you know struggling with change and loss?  I partner with those who desire change and are ready to make positive changes.  Together we work to move forward to live boldly and fulfilled.  I love hearing my clients joy restored and life moving forward again.

Check out my website or email me and let’s connect.
Peace, Love, & Blessings,

Teresa Bitner

Bold Fulfilled Business & Life Coach –Change and Loss Specialty
teresa@boldfulfilledlifecoach.com

Original Post on Teresa's Blog

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