How to deal with loss and anniversaries

Today I wanted to share some tips to on how to deal with loss and anniversaries. By this I mean that its the anniversary of their death. Whist I’ve seen lots of tips about how to cope with the immediate feelings, when it comes to anniversaries, all I see is people stating “Time is the greatest healer”. I do agree that each day gets easier. However, when that anniversary rolls round, it can set you right back to the beginning.

black woman consoling anonymous unhappy boyfriend on sofa at home
Photo by Alex Green on

I recently experienced this with my grandad. It was the anniversary of his death at the weekend and it was such a difficult day. Out of anyone I’ve lost, his anniversary always feels the most difficult because it was so sudden and unexpected. Whilst I’m still sad that my nan and her twin sister passed away, they had full time nursing for months beforehand. It helped me to prepare for what would come. So how do you deal with loss and anniversaries as they come? Check out these tips to find out:

Do something for them every year

On the day or as close to it as you can, make sure you do something for the person you have lost. It could be taking some flowers to their grave. Instead you might decide to have a family meal or a day out to their favourite place. Its important to do something where you can feel your emotions because the worse thing you can do is bottle it up inside.

Write them a letter

You might think what is the point, they won’t read it. However I’ve found it a really great way of getting those thoughts down on paper. Sometimes I write about the what ifs and how live might be if my loved ones were still around. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised at how the words start flowing and how much better you feel.

Don’t be afraid to cry

It is ok to cry, no matter how many years down the line. Anniversaries, birthdays and other events that your loved one is missing out on will always be difficult. Let those feelings out, whether with family or privately. It is absolutely normal and nothing to be ashamed about.

Keep their memory alive

Talk about them with family and friends. Laugh about silly things they did. When talking about current events, chat about what your loved one would have thought. For example during this pandemic, I know that no matter his age, my grandad would want to help people in any way that he could. That was just his nature.

Plan ahead

If you know that a certain date is going to be difficult for you, book it off from work. Don’t make plans with people just to hide your feelings. If you want to spend time on your own, that is absolutely fine. Likewise, if you want to spend it with family, talk to them, because they probably feel the same way.

Please remember if you feel the grief is getting on top of you, talk to someone. Whether that’s a family member, friend or counsellor. Face your grief head on as best as you can but don’t shut the world out or worse. Your loved one would never want your story to end because of them.

I hope you have found these tips useful on how to deal with loss and anniversaries. Grief is a difficult path to tread for all of us. You never know how you will react until you are in that situation yourself. If this post helps just a handful of people, I’ll feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.

22 thoughts on “How to deal with loss and anniversaries

  1. Doing something for them is a nice thought.

    I lost one of my Friends to a bike accident a few years ago. We friends have a WhatsApp group to keep his memory alive. Talking about him with friend really helps.

  2. All your thoughts and ideas are really wonderful Kelly. The loss of a loved one is always hard to handle and the anniversaries usually remind us the pain of this loss. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I totally understand loss anniversaries suck. I’ve personally lost four people over the past four years and even though it gets easier with time, it never really fully does away.

  4. The anniversary of the death of a loved one can be very difficult. Your ideas are wonderful – writing of a letter sounds beautiful. I like to light a candle on the day and just spend some time with my memories. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I love this, this is such an important topic and anniversaries can be so difficult. Keeping their memory alive is really important, and I always find that writing my thoughts out in a letter helps! Thanks for sharing x

  6. I’m sending you love as you’ve obviously dealt with a lot of grief (and are still dealing with it). It’s lovely that you’re sharing these tips to help others who may be working through it too. I get waves of grief about my Dad and also find crying a great release. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post.

  7. This is such a helpful post for those going through grief, or experiencing an anniversary or memory of a loved one. I loved how you said it’s okay to cry, this took me quite a while to come to terms with years ago. It really is such a powerful release and is so important to not hold in. Thanks for sharing and sending positive thoughts your way.

  8. My oldest sister is the one that gets me. She hid her illness. We didn’t know she was sick until the very end. She was a 2nd mother to me after ours passed away. Time makes it somewhat easier but that ache is part of me. Though I choose to honor her by sharing all that was amazing about her and that she inspired in me.

  9. Thank you for sharing these, I think that we never speak enough on how to deal with grief. Keeping their memory alive and letting yourself feel everything are the most important and surely some that helped me the most x

  10. It is so, so hard losing someone and, with the initial loss being hard enough, anniversaries and birthdays often bring back a rush of nostalgia that make me emotional and lead to tears. Crying always helps, as does keeping photographs about the house and talking with family members about fun times and funny stories.

    Thank you for sharing some heartfelt tips!

  11. When I remember my grandfather I always think of all the wonderful memories I had with him. I miss him so much. Its good to remember that its okay to cry and dwell on all the good memories.

  12. Great tips here, Kelly. I’m sorry about your Granddad and how hard his anniversary is for you. I hope you were okay this year and did what you had to do to manage. I find things like Christmas and birthdays hard where you could apply a lot of these things too. The Christmas after my Granddad died, I got a few personalised baubles made with his name on to put on our trees as a nice way to remember x

  13. Great post Kelly, this is such an important topic that unfortunately everyone will have to deal with at one time or another. I think just allowing people to feel/grieve how they want is so important x

  14. Quite a different post you did. And you wrote it thoughtfully. Experiencing it and even thinking of it to happen to your close ones in future is very difficult to think and deal with. But also are mind awakening life moments. Kindly reflected in the post. Xx
    Isa A. Blogger

Leave a Comment