Reminder Grief

Memorial Day began as a day of remembrance for those who gave their life in service to their country. Over the years, it has become a holiday to remember and honor our dead, whether they served in the military or not.

Holidays are days we celebrate, but they can also lead to a wave of grief because they remind us of family who are no longer here. Counselors sometimes call this “anniversary grief” since it can be triggered by the anniversary of our loved one’s death or by other special days throughout the year. A favorite restaurant, vacation place or even a certain smell may also act as a trigger. This wave of emotion can carry with it all the same feelings and reactions as your original grief. It does not mean you have regressed in the healing process.

Simply knowing anniversary grief may occur can help prepare you to positively and effectively handle it. It may last a day or weeks. Grief has no time limit. Denying how you feel will keep you from moving forward with healing and may intensify your loss. Instead, acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself to process them. As you remember your loved one throughout the year, rather than focus on your loss ponder the good times and special memories you created together.

For further reading on coping with grief, visit

Debra L. Butterfield © 2011

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