When it comes around to the anniversary of the death of a loved one, it can be a time that is full of mixed emotions. It can be full of sadness as you reflect on the past year without them, as well as full of joy as you remember all of the happy times and reflect on what made them such an important person in your life. Death can be a painful emotion, but there is a lot of opportunity to reflect and reminisce when it comes to an anniversary. When you can think about the funny times or the most treasured moments that you have had together, then it can be a time to thank them for all of the good times.
When these times come around, it is important to note that there isn’t just one way to mark this kind of anniversary. What you may want to do may be different from what others want to do, and that is fine. By doing something, though, you have the chance to honour your loved one and celebrate their life once again, in whatever way feels like the right one for you. If you’re thinking of ideas of what you can do to mark an anniversary like this, then there are some ideas to help you.
Visit a special place
On an occasion like this, you might want to do more than just visiting their gravesite and taking some flowers, for example. You might get some comfort from going back to a place that either meant a lot to them, or meant a lot to you both, depending on what the relationship was. This could be a special place that you would visit together, or perhaps a favourite place that you would go to for a holiday. By having a physical presence at a place that means a lot, then it can help you to relive some precious feelings, as well as memories. Make a plan to visit, spend the day, or however long is required, and soak it all in, with your loved one in mind.
Support a charity in their honour
If your loved one passed away as a result of a certain disease or condition, then you may want to support a related charity in their honour as a way to mark their anniversary. If they were involved with a charity or a local non-profit organisation, then why not help them too? Helping a charity is often through a financial donation, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. It could be giving up your time to help them with something, such as volunteering for a particular event. This is a way to pass on their legacy and help you to feel that you are doing something worthy that they would approve of.
Create a photo memory book
One simple way to mark the anniversary of the death of a loved one could be to create a memory book with photos. This is something that also works well to make as a gift for someone, if you know that such an event in their life is coming up, such as marking the death of one of their parents or spouse. By getting copies of some much loved photos of your loved one, you can create a really meaningful keepsake with everything all in one place. As you go through the photos, you’re likely to get many memories coming back, so it can be an enjoyable and emotional thing to do.
There are other options out there for this kind of thing too, whether that be a digital scrapbook of photos, or looking to have something like a memory bear made, like the beautiful bespoke bears made by Lily Grace Keepsakes. These are made out of clothing of your loved one, which can be very special, no matter how old you are (although it can work particularly well with children as it is something for them to physically hold and cuddle).
Plant a tree in their memory
If you have a loved one that just loved to be outdoors or they had a special place in their heart for their garden, then something that will keep giving year after year is planting something in their memory. Trees are usually a good option as they will last for decades, although you could consider planting a special plant in their memory, if they had a favourite plant or flower. As the plant or trees grows, you can think of them everytime you look at it. It can also be a place to gather around, on occasions such as their anniversary, to remember them and feel close to them.
Raise a glass to them
If you want to do something that will be enjoyable, then how about gathering friends and family together to have a meal or a picnic together. You could recreate a favourite meal of theirs or dine on a particular cuisine. Really, it is all about being together and being able to connect together to mark the anniversary. A toast to them, with you all raising a glass to them, can be such a nice way to honour them, and could result in you all sharing favourite memories or funny stories of the loved one.
Gather for a memorial
Getting the family together, or their friends together, can be a good way to make sure that the death anniversary is not forgotten about and is marked in a loving way. It could be something that is quite casual, just with a few members of the family, to have a small memorial service. When you have people around you on a day like that, it can make such a difference to how you feel and leave you looking forward to the day, rather than dreading it. The gathering or memorial itself doesn’t need to be anything too formal either. It could be getting together for a family BBQ, a game in the back garden, or a chance to look through photos and slideshows, or going to the beach for a picnic. Just as can happen when a loved one passes, a memorial can be anything that you want it to be, as it is all about creating something that celebrates their life and the way that it was lived.
You might be alone in wanting to mark the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or want to do something by yourself that shows something more personal to you. A simple way of doing just that could be to light candles in their memory. If you have their ashes then it could be done alongside it. Candles are often used in vigils and for remembrance, so it is definitely fitting. Why not listen to a song that they loved at the same time? It can be something that is as relaxing as it is thoughtful.
When a loved one passes away, it can be a long and hard process to grieve. You may find marking the death as something that is upsetting, but it can be a time to be surrounded by loved ones. There is always a chance to reminisce and to reflect on all of the happy memories that you have. Just remember that there is no right or wrong way to mark the occasion, so there is no pressure to feel like you have to do something in a particular way. Just do what feels right for you and what will help you to grieve, no matter how long ago the passing was. (featured candles are by The Candle Brand).