Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Grief and loss / Do you remember a sad anniversary and if so why or why not?

Topic: Do you remember a sad anniversary and if so why or why not?

29 posts, 0 answered
  1. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    14 December 2020

    When people remember anniversaries they often think of happy times like biirthdays or wedding anniversaries, but when there is grief and loss do you remember the birthday rather the day a loved one died. Or if there was a tragedy do you remember it on a special date ?

    I do not want to trigger anyone or upset anyone but I am facing an anniversary in a couple of weeks and it will be covered in the media so not sure how I can avoid it.

    I am interested in how others handle the sad dates.

    Quirky

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Not_Batman
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Not_Batman avatar
    445 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirky.

    I have a knack for remembering things like dates, visualising the time of year it happened, where it happened, kind of like seeing it in my head as a calendar, and a map of sorts, so there are a lot of these memories that are personal to me, and some that are just like remembering what time of year wimbledon is, or something really insignificant.

    my father died 3 weeks before my 9th birthday, so that month is a tough time for me

    every year around the same time (august to september) i experience quite a bit of depression. Its the time of year i have had my past episodes and ideations.

    Christmas is a tough time too. I remember as a kid having christmas lunch at my grandparents with all the family there. I really loved those days. My GP’s are all gone now, And the family rarely meets. The house Had been demolished, so all i have are the memories.

    I have a home video of one of the last Christmas mornings we had with dad. Every year at Christmas i disappear for an hour and watch it. My wife knows whats going on. Sometimes ive shared the video with my kids, but i get a bit too sad to most of the time.

    as far as handling the anniversaries, i think the only thing to say is that i handle them the best i can. Some will make me quiet and sad, and avoiding people for a while, other will be a celebration of memories. I cant change them, but I dont substitue them with drugs or alcohol, anger or hatred.

    Not_Batman

    2 people found this helpful
  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9212 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to Not_Batman
    Remembering anniversaries is counter productive and this is why-

    Let's say a bad event, say a marriage separation occurred at 7:52pm on 4th January 2020. As you boarded you car and drove from your home you took a note of the time and date.

    Early next month when you wake on 4th January you know it's been one year separated, that qualifies you for applying for a divorce.

    That night when 7:52pm arrives you sink into sadness. But- it isn't actually 12 exact months! Because there is approximately 365.25 days in one year that's why every 4 years we have a leap year, 1 extra day the 29th February.

    Besides, the fact is, it is only that the earth is in the same place in it's orbit as the day you separated. Dates are a man made thing. Any day could have been the beginning of a year.

    I avoid any non logic reason to grieve. I've done so much crying in my early years I don't see reason to take anniversaries seriously.

    Oddly enough my sister is the opposite and rings me often on anniversaries. "Our father passed away 28 years ago today" she said last April. I comfort her with it and don't give it a moment longer in my thoughts for the rest of the day. On his birthday, if I remember, I'll calculate how old he'd have been if he was alive, likely be amazed then move on.

    TonyWK
    2 people found this helpful
  4. Ggrand
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Ggrand avatar
    9067 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Dear Quirky...

    Im sorry that an uncomfortable and possibly a triggering anniversary is approaching your life..

    I have many sad anniversaries and I try very hard to forget those days...I think remembering them is to give ourselves a giant step backwards in our mh...especially if they are a cause for triggering those negative thoughts....and put ourselves back into the past trauma....we are trying to forget..

    I think Quirky, because you know it will be covered by the media...maybe keep the tvs off..the radio turned off..no newspapers...no social media..until you’re certain that the media coverage is long gone...so as to not upset or trigger you...

    Find something on Netflix or Tubi to watch that is soothing for your soul...Go out for the day with family or/or friends and talk about happy things over a cup of bevaerage or lunch...

    Quirky...Be very gentle and caring to you...and try hard to not watch or listen to the media coverage of this event...

    My kindest and most caring thoughts Quirky..

    Grandy...

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Elizabeth CP
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Elizabeth CP avatar
    2427 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to Ggrand
    I wish i could give you a good answer. I found it really hard on the 10th anniversary of Black Saturday last year. I tried to accept that everyone has different ways of dealing with loss so I couls accept that it was important for some people to commemorate the anniversary but that doesn't mean I need to do the same. Purposely avoiding all media around the date won't work as it is too restrictive. It also means you are on high alert to avoid triggers which is counterproductive. If something is too difficult to listen to switch it off but otherwise try to cope with the small triggers. Perhaps plan some positive experiences around this timewhich don't require much effort but help keep your mind focused. Ask friends or family you trust to help you through this time. It is important to ensure that noone is trying to force or pressure you. Gentle encouragement doing what you feel works for you is important. I have found total avoidance has been very bad for me in the past
    2 people found this helpful
  6. Tay100
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tay100 avatar
    647 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords

    I'm sorry to hear that you're in a tough headspace and you have some challenges coming up. Upcoming dates of significance can certainly loom and we feel like they threaten the 'progress' we have made in our mental health journey. We feel like have to 'brace' and 'toughen up' ahead of these dates so they don't 'distract' or even break us down. Hopefully, that doesn't happen, as you can have some strategies in place- extra self-care and talking here are good places to start. But what happens if the date/anniversary rolls around and it's in the media, and it gets to you? Then, I'd say use it as a time for self-compassion, leaning on your support network and taking it as a learning opportunity. What do you need to do next time differently? Brainstorm and see what happens. Let us know how are travelling.

    Tay100

    1 person found this helpful
  7. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to Not_Batman

    Thanks everyone for replying.

    Not batman Thanks for sharing about your dad, so sad and you were so young. We all cope in different ways.

    Tony, I think for a private annversary it is easy to adopt your approach. For an anniversary that affected a lot of Australia it is hard to avoid as all tv and social media will be remembering it.

    Grandy Thanks for your kind post. I am a creature of habit dont watch much tv but I could catch up on dvds and avoid FB, that was my plan. People will ring me and ask how I am? Unlike many anniversaries everyone knows mine!! Everyone wants to tell me how they feel how they coped, how they were upset their rose garden but nothing else burnt!!

    1 person found this helpful
  8. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    14 December 2020 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Elizabeth, thanks for your practical help. As I said to Grandy people will ring and ask and tlel me about their memories.

    Tay, people are already putting up photos, I saw it firt hand I was there, we have photos.

    There seems to be a competition for people to say how bad their experience was and show the worst scariest photo of the fires.

    Please don't make this about me, if you find a way to cope with a sad anniversary share with me.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. Katyonthehamsterwheel
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Katyonthehamsterwheel avatar
    1565 posts
    14 December 2020

    Hey quirky

    The experience is different for everyone, as can be seen already here on your thread. For me, I was aware the first anniversary of the loss of my bub was approaching in October, and that I would (probably) need to take care of my mh on the day. I took time off from uni and did some nice things that I enjoyed. I thought it went well, but the next day my mh crashed and I lost my sh*t. I asked a friend for help managing, and she said "perhaps you gotta feel what you gotta feel". And I cried and cried, got mad and smashed stuff, and cried some more. I think she was right. I tried so hard the previous day, to be ok, that I didn't just allow myself the space to just feel. So, I don't know if that helps, but I think do what you feel is right for you, and ask for help if you need it.

    Best, Katy

    3 people found this helpful
  10. pl515p1
    pl515p1 avatar
    107 posts
    15 December 2020
    I have not had any personal occasions to remember yet, as I only lost my father several weeks ago, but they are on the horizon, and they are travelling my way with haste.

    This Christmas will be the first in my life that I have not been with dad in person, I cannot, and do not, feel anything for this season anymore, I have given to others, and they have appreciated it, but I have not accepted anything from them, I don't know what I will do on Christmas day, and New Years eve, we would celebrate in the warm summer breeze, we would...

    The moment the seconds tick over, and 2020 fades away, with neighbours celebrating and fireworks flashing around me, will feel like a supernova of stabs to my soul.

    My birthday is in a few months, dad's is the following week, another closeness we share...shared.

    Funny, I was just thinking, that dad was the same age I am now, when he first moved into where we once called home, the place I now call alone.

    Then, of course, comes father's day, dad left the night after father's day, a day I was too busy to...
    Father's day will, from now on, forever be, never more.

    3 people found this helpful
  11. Matchy69
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Matchy69 avatar
    5853 posts
    15 December 2020
    Hi quirky I find the first anniversary one of the hardest but you get through that day and you remember what happened and have a few years and a few thoughts but it will come and go and it will be tomorrow again.My anniversary is hard to forget the day when it is Christmas day when I am alone and everyone in the street will be laughing and enjoying themselves which they should be but my Christmas day is a sad one.I will try and do something I enjoy in the morning,a motorbike ride for me(that will depend on whether I will go into surgery or not before Christmas or if it's raining)and then I will have a toast at 2 pm at the exact moment and then maby watch a DVD and then have a sleep and then it will be tomorrow.
    Take care,
    Mark.
    2 people found this helpful
  12. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    15 December 2020 in reply to Katyonthehamsterwheel

    Thanks to all those reading and posting and sharing your sometimes private thoughts.

    katy, I like the way you planned for the day and had it managed but didn’t realise how you feel the next day. What a great friend, you have to feel what you have to feel. That is so true.
    I am so sorry for your less and appreciate your help . I think so many people tell us what to do and how to feel.

    p1515p1

    Thanks for telling us about your dad and how his lossbwill affect how you live your life without him. I think Christmas and birthdays and all this tines you spent together but now will spend alone are hard.
    Father’s Day will be hard .

    my mum passed away the day before Mother’s Day I find it hard.

    Thanks for sharing your story, it has helped me.

    matchy. Thanks for helping me. Christmas is such a public event like my anniversary so hard to ignore. As I said we think about what happened every day but all the focus on an event makes it hard. Tomorrow is another day.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences I appreciate it .

    2 people found this helpful
  13. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3078 posts
    15 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirky and all,

    For me, it's different altogether. I write down the dates - whether it's birthdays/anniversaries but I won't plan for them. I know two are in August but I don't know when and all of a sudden I'll wake up feeling like I've been hit by a bus - and that's my cue. Every year, every anniversary.

    I've learned that 'the body remembers' so there's no point trying to skim over it even though technically it's another day. If I can I try, I plan for it a little bit - so that when the day rolls around I can try and be a little kinder to myself.

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Tay100
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tay100 avatar
    647 posts
    15 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords

    Of course, I'll share this, something that is mostly effective after lots of trial and error- One thing I find helpful on triggering anniversaries or dates is to clear my schedule, because brain fog and low mood are big things for me when these days roll around. I let myself feel what I feel. Wallow a bit, actually. Then, I try and do highly intellectual activities that engage my mind. Either that, or I distract myself by putting myself where I have to focus on my environment and what my senses are picking up to a reasonable degree, and I can't let me mind float away and spiral. Driving, hiking and doing a timed work out help here.

  15. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    15 December 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Try and Tay thanks for sharing how you both cope.

    RT I feel like I have ben steamrolled at anytime not just on a date.

    Tay I like the idea of wallowing then doing intellectual activities.

  16. Elizabeth CP
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Elizabeth CP avatar
    2427 posts
    16 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    For me it isn't a specific date but the season which is triggering. This is made much worse when weather conditions mimic the time. While you can deliberately avoid TV programs which are likely to be triggering but you can't avoid community adverts designed to remind people to prepare for bushfire season. These are not only on TV radio but also on signs in the community.

    I am really interested in peoples ideas which I can try. My therapy started a year ago to help me cope better has been interrupted by the pandemic & my therapist being sick so I haven't made the progress I hoped.

    One thing I have found helpful is being open & honest with people who can support me. Chose only those you can trust to support you in a way that suits you. People who are great supports in other ways may not be helpful.

    By open & honest I don't mean sharing every detail because this is likely to be too difficult. Share what is needed so the person knows what you need from them. It has taken me a long time to be able to tell my husband what I need. I'm glad I finally had the courage to share. Examples of what I mean. Recently I inadvertently drove somewhere which was triggering. I couldn't turn around. When my husband noted my extremely anxious state I told him I couldn't talk. Once we got to a place I felt safe I thanked him for being quiet so he knows that his silence is what I need in that situation. He asked if there was anything else I wanted him to do to which I briefly explained that in a crisis I need to just be quiet so I can focus on coping.

    Letting loved ones know what works for you is important. Also accepting that it is a learning time to find what helps. After being badly triggered I follow up with distraction doing something which takes my mind off what has happened. This can be reading a book or walking around focusing on what is around you.

    1 person found this helpful
  17. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    16 December 2020 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Elizabeth

    Letting loyved ones know what works for you is important. Also accepting that it is a learning time to find what helps. After being badly triggered I follow up with distraction doing something which takes my mind off what has happened. This can be reading a book or walking around focusing on what is around you.

    Your words are so helpful. Thanks. Trying what works for you is important. I will remember that. Distractions are important.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Sweesoft
    Sweesoft avatar
    60 posts
    17 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    I remember them all but I choose to forget the sad ones where my partner did not remember it or if he did, he didn't make the day special.

    1 person found this helpful
  19. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    17 December 2020 in reply to Sweesoft
    Sweesoft thanks for your post. Sometimes the sad ones remember themselves.
  20. Tay100
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tay100 avatar
    647 posts
    19 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords

    Thankyou- it's a good one because I find you can tailor it to your needs at any given time. Sometimes you might wallow all nightand not even begin to distract yourself until the next day with errands etc depending on when the emotions grab you. It's a very flexible approach in that way.

    Tay100

  21. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    19 December 2020 in reply to Tay100
    Thanks Tay I like the flexible approach
    1 person found this helpful
  22. Tay100
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tay100 avatar
    647 posts
    24 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    No worries quirkywords-please feel free to keep us updated on how things go- we are here to provide a listening ear if you need.
  23. Matchy69
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Matchy69 avatar
    5853 posts
    30 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    Hi Quirky I am just seeing how you are going.How you getting through this period.Totally different here from this time 12 months ago with the rain we are having.
    Take care,
    Mark.
    1 person found this helpful
  24. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    30 December 2020 in reply to Matchy69

    Thanks Mark.

    yes so different with the rain.

    It all seems a bit unreal.

    I am being kind with myself .

    Thanks for asking.

  25. Tay100
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tay100 avatar
    647 posts
    8 January 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords

    Just thought I'd just check-in and see how you were doing? It's great to hear you are practising kindness to yourself too, we are here to listen and support you more if you need it.

    Tay100

  26. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9212 posts
    8 January 2021 in reply to Tay100

    Hi everyone

    I've expressed my views at the beginning of this thread about anniversaries. Let me give you a good example of this as the topic came up at xmas lunch between my sister and I.

    Our beautiful father passed on at 64 years of age in 1992. He was 110 days from his 65th birthday (more on that later) and I always remembered his passing was in April as I had resigned from Telstra immediately after his death. The exactdate I had no desire to recall.

    Last year I turned 64yo and wanted to know how dad felt (age wise) around the age he passed on so asked my sister what was the date. She was astounded I didnt ever recall it and told me it was April 14th 1992. She said "its the one day every year that I feel sad and down effectively in grief".

    So December 10th came along and I was 110 days before my 65th birthday, the same age to the day my dad passed away. I took some moments to reflect upon how physically I felt on that day. That was it, over, no more reflection on the day.

    Christmas lunch and the topic came up. My sister asked how I felt that day and told her. eg he was very young at 64 to pass on etc. She asked if I felt grief and my answer was, "sad but not grief". She was again astounded. I then began to explain how my thinking process works, albeit so different to hers.

    Regular readers will know that I have several poems I've written about my father. Those were the times my grief was at its peak. Being 28 years ago it happens far less often. I chose a long time ago to grief when I felt like it not based on days, years, hours etc that coincide only on time. Time is irrelevant to me as (previously explained) that is only when the earth is at a certain point to the sun, it isnt like anything magical happens on the minute, hour day and month of time of an anniversary.

    The question of this thread is - "Do you remember a sad anniversary and if so why or why not?"

    Now I concede that if a major trauma occured in my life, I'd recall the month the year after. EG, when my first marriage folded I recall it being February, handy when you need 12 month separation to file for a divorce !. It is also a a feeling of getting over a mental "hump" so it helps to move on better. That' all well and good for those that want to do that.

    However, in comparison to my sister that has grieved for 28 years on the same day - 14th April, I have not. I've grieved when my mind fills with those loving memories in a natural way not base on time, a man made thing.

    TonyWK

  27. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    8 January 2021 in reply to white knight
    Tony it makes a lot of sense . I know my mother remembered the date her parents died and cousins not for grieving but for remembering.
    I will always remember NYE 2019 just like a historical date.
  28. Gabs_
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Gabs_ avatar
    94 posts
    5 June 2021

    Hello all,

    It was interesting reading about everyone's different way of thinking and grieving for a loved one (we all have our own ways). For me, I come from a cultural background where death and grief is more open and accepted, rather than a stiff upper lip. Death is seen as a celebration of life, and whilst it doesn't make the profound sadness go away, I find that it works for me. Both my grandmother and mother-in-law passed away on the same date (different years) - rather than see it as a looming date or something to block out of my mind, we go to the cemetery with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine, and talk to them. My husband and I update them on what is happening with us, who is doing well in the football, laugh about the silly things. For me, it makes me feel like they are still with me and it helps with my grieving process.

    They always talk about "acceptance" being the last stage of grief, but it's not accepting they are gone, it's just accepting that you will be changed from their death (it never stops hurting) and that your relationship with them is different. They may no longer be here with you - but you can still choose to remember, laugh, rejoice. For me, I don't see death as a finality - but that is just my take on it.

  29. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12345 posts
    5 June 2021 in reply to Gabs_

    Gabs thanks for your comments .

    It is interesting how different cultures respond to death.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up