Grief and Anniversaries

In the previous blog, I wrote about three deaths that I grieve. I did not mention that they all happened in January. January has always been a hard time for me because it was the month my husband passed away. Then, my sister-in-law, then my father. I hated January. I hated the month prior and following it, and the whole month January. I hated thinking about winter and the memories. When I talk to people about their loved ones that have passed, they say that anniversaries are the worst. This is something I feel we all have in common.

We start having “symptoms” of grief way before the anniversary. The symptoms change each year and the severity as well. Sometimes I would get blindsided because I forget about the anniversary, then BANG I realize my brain has been telling me something. I just read that our traumas encode into our DNA. Our subconscious remembers even though our brain doesn’t – because we move on. The thing is, when we try to fight the grief, it gets worse. This is where surrendering is the best tool to have.

Acknowledgment is the best action during these times. Acknowledging that we are sad, that we loved, and that we are still in “Recovery”. Compassion for yourself is necessary to be able to get out of bed and start your day if you can. Compassion for yourself if you decide not to go to the family gathering this year because it hurts right now. One thing I have learned is that setting goals to get out of bed more often is not a bad thing either.

I have learned that when I put a goal for myself for the day, then I can find space to be in grief while living my life. For example, I will at least brush my teeth today, or, I will allow myself alone time for an hour before going into work so that I can grieve in silence. The goals can be small or big. The goal helps to move forward in the day – gives you “something to look forward to” so you don’t feel like you’re running in circles.

Anniversaries are tough. We want to remember our loved ones but then it hurts. Leaning into the discomfort and making space for yourself to grieve are some goals to work on.

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