Whether you are celebrating family members birthdays or approaching the birthday of your lost loved one, birthdays can be reminders of loss. How do you continue family traditions despite pain?

  From Our Experience

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I learned this lesson from my son’s birthday party… Although it’s ok to feel the sadness when it hits, I’m so glad I didn’t just sit there and wallow in the sadness. It’s better to go and do something, whether it’s exercise, serving others or flying on trapeze bars! This is my life, not just to endure and get through, but to choose to enjoy!

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I’m new to widowhood but as a therapist I have to agree that starting new traditions and ways to honor him will help make it a celebration. If you keep everything the same, you will only feel his absence.

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We kept some of our holiday traditions, changed some, and others I stopped. We go out for birthday dinner for him at his favorite restaurant after letting off balloons to heaven. My birthday, I just try to ignore but the kids won’t let me. I do get melancholic over that one.

I kept most of our traditions the same. The children need that, in my opinion. They’re birthdays should still be celebrated even though their dad lives in heaven. I make just as big of a deal of them as if he were here. They already suffered a great loss, I felt stability was the answer. My birthday is hard, but I just do what the kids want. I’m blessed to have another birthday here with them, so I stay positive and focus on that. For his birthday we do his favorite things, and also do acts of kindness in his honor. You’ll find what works for you. No matter what void is felt, we need try to stay positive and make them proud.

 Tips to Cope with Reawakened Grief

According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, “Even years after a loss, you might continue to feel sadness when you’re confronted with reminders of your loved one’s death. As you continue healing, take steps to cope with reminders of your loss. For example:”

  • Be prepared.  Reactions on special days are normal. Knowing that you’re can experience reactions can help you understand them and even turn them into opportunities for healing.
  • Plan a distraction. Schedule a gathering or a visit with friends or loved ones during times when you’re likely to feel alone or be reminded of your loved one’s death.
  • Reminisce about your relationship. Focus on the good things about your relationship with your loved one and the time you had together, rather than the loss.
  • Start new traditions. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the people who are still with you. If it is your loved ones birthday, then do something special to honor them.
  • Connect with others. Draw friends and loved ones close to you, including people who were special to your loved one. Find someone who’ll encourage you to talk about your loss. Stay connected to your usual support systems, such as spiritual leaders and social groups. Also be mindful of other family members who also may be grieving the loss.
  • Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions. It’s OK to be sad and feel a sense of loss, but also allow yourself to experience joy and happiness. As you celebrate special times, you might find yourself both laughing and crying.

Strength for the Day

God did not promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, nor sun without ran, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way.


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