Chapter 4: Living with grief
Special occasions or events
She died a few days before our new year celebrations. It was so hard not to have her there. Every year now, we use this celebration to remember and honour her life, but her death and the holidays will always be linked.
I bake a cake when my friend’s birthday comes around – just like I’ve always done. I think about all of the fun birthdays we shared together over the years. It’s different now but it feels right to celebrate her. She loved a great party!
You may find that there are certain days or events that are difficult – birthdays, family celebrations, holidays, milestones as well as the anniversary of their death. After someone’s death by suicide, these special occasions can become daunting or even overwhelming. Many people find that the days and weeks leading up to the date or event can also be difficult.
Start by acknowledging to yourself and others that this occasion will be hard. Enlist the help of family and friends in creating options to make things easier. Click the arrows below for some suggestions.
Decide which traditions and rituals to keep and which to let go. Give yourself space to make changes.
Know that it’s okay to say “No” to an event and that you can change your mind later if that’s what you need to do.
Let others know what you need and that this might change, even at the last minute.
Talk about the person who died. Tell stories. Share memories.
Take a moment to honour the person who died. Consider giving a toast, having a moment of silence, or lighting a candle in their memory.
Create a new tradition in their memory.
It is okay to feel both sad and joyful at a milestones like weddings, graduations, or a birth – these emotions can exist side by side.