Monday, October 25, 2021

On The Anniversary of A Parent’s Death: What Words Help?

[Reviewed and updated July 23, 2024]

The word 'anniversary' takes on a whole new meaning for widow/ers, or for any griever. An anniversary date is any meaningful date to you and your loved one. The hardest anniversary date usually is the one that commemorates the day of the death.
  ~ Ellen Gerst

A reader writes: I have read several of your posts. I am familiar with your wisdom and advice. I just wanted to ask, Marty .... what would you have wanted to hear from friends close to you --on the first anniversary of the day a parent has passed? What words are there to formulate at such a sad day -- which also offers an ear of support? Would it be a heartbreaking reminder of his loss, or rather an appreciated thought -- if I chose to send a sympathy card?

My response: Dear one, I doubt if you'd be "reminding" your friend of this loss ~ as if he would have forgotten that his parent has died. 

You asked what I would want to hear, and I think I'd just want to hear that my friend was aware of what day it was, knew that it held special meaning for me, and wanted me to know that he or she was thinking of me. 

You know this person far better than I do, and I cannot speak for someone else. I can only tell you how I would feel and what I'd want to hear. 

I think the safest thing to do is to keep such a message very simple ~ along the lines of "I'm thinking of you today." 

You may find these articles to be helpful:

Grief Rituals Can Help on Valentine’s Day (or Any Special Day)

Helping Another In Grief: Suggested Resources

In Grief: Dreading The Anniversary Date Of a Loved One’s Death

Tips for Coping with Anniversary Reactions in Grief

What to Say (Or Not) to A Person In Grief

 Hoping this answers 

Afterword: Your advice is kindly appreciated. Thank you so much -- God Bless.

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