Coping with anniversaries and reminders

Anniversaries and reminders can lead to powerful memories and cause you to grieve all over again.

There are many events that will remind you of the person who died. Some are more obvious, such as the day they died or their birthday, and others are more unpredictable, like a piece of music, a smell or a particular TV programme.

Coping with anniversaries

Anniversaries and reminders can evoke powerful memories and feelings which are distinctly personal. These days or events, which mean so much to one person, may be ordinary to others who may not understand what is happening. This can make it difficult to explain how you’re feeling to your friends and family.

Just as every experience of grief is unique, so are the things that remind you of the person who died. For some people, anniversaries will remind them of fond or happy memories, while for others they can create feelings of sadness, grief, fear, regret and guilt. 

How to cope 

Plan ahead

If there’s a date you’re dreading, spend some time trying to work out in advance how you’d like to spend it. Maybe you’d like to stay home and watch your favourite films or perhaps you’d like to organise an event in their honour. It doesn’t matter how you spend the day but it’s important to do what’s right for you at the time.

Be flexible with others 

The uncertainty and anxiety surrounding death may lead to fixed ideas and thinking. So it’s important to remember that people remember and forget those who have died in their own ways. It’s okay if people want to spend the day in different ways.

Find ways to remember them

As time passes, anniversaries and reminders can help us to begin to focus on happy memories of good times shared in the past. Learn more about the different ways you can honour their memory.

Put your feelings into words

Journal and letter writing can help you organise your thoughts and memories. If you find yourself overwhelmed with grief after a reminder, writing down why can be really helpful. Learn more about keeping a grief journal. 

Talk to us

We’re here to support you while you’re grieving. Find out the ways we can help.