Guest blog by: Dawn Lauren Anderson, Master Grief Coach

As I write this, in four days, it will be the second anniversary of my husband’s death. It wasn’t unexpected. But any death brings a flurry of emotion as grief’s trajectory begins its steep climb. Like the sunrise sky below, my grief is gentler now, with quiet stillness surrounding moments of pain.

No matter how much we practice self-care…

Stress creeps into our thoughts as a death anniversary looms.

For me, I relive some of the most difficult moments, visualizing the words, hearing my cry, and feeling my hands cupping my face.

At first, these memories would bring tears, even sobs. I never try to stem the flood. But each of us has a different emotional level, and that’s normal.

Each year, I have found it easier to face the anniversaries. The pain diminishes, allowing pleasant thoughts to predominate.

It’s your choice how to remember a loved one.

This is true in everything you do: writing in a journal, posting a memory on social media, deciding to be alone or with others, and deciding how to spend the day.

Rather than dwell on his death, I remember how his friends honored him along the shores of Lake Kissimmee in Central Florida. Wayne asked to have his ashes spread from an airboat near the hunting camp where he spent every Thanksgiving.

Stuart helped me spread Wayne’s ashes while his friends watched from the shore and raised their beer cans to toast their friend and hunting buddy.

What are my plans this anniversary?

First, I thought about what gives me the most joy. Then it was easy to find how to spend the day.

It’s almost Spring in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and I want to find some colorful flowers. Even if my plans don’t go as expected, I will still be in a peaceful garden or woods where I can drink in the grounding energy.

Do I expect the tears will stay away? No. But I’m going to give myself opportunities for smiles and laughter.

What brings you joy?

Although you might feel joy is unattainable, it’s easier if you start small. Consider watching the sunrise or a sunset, talking with a friend, walking your dog, petting your cat, window shopping, splurging on a lunch or dinner out, feeling the sun on your face, baking bread and sharing it with a neighbor, reading a cozy mystery, watching a funny movie, soaking in the tub, or feeling warm water cascade down your back in the shower.

Reliving a joyous moment can help too. There were many fun facts on the day Wayne and I married each other in Colorado. We wore comfortable clothes and I cut my impromptu bouquet of lilacs from my mother’s garden. I can still feel the comfortable flannel of his arm carressing my shoulder. We had some great times, Wayne.

How can you help someone on their difficult day?

Send them a ‘Thinking About You’ card. E-cards are nice too. Invite them to spend some time with you. Send or take them flowers. Even sending them loving thoughts may help more than you know.

I hope my words have soothed your soul and given you permission to shed a few tears along with a belly laugh.

Dawn Anderson
Master Grief Coach