Everyone who has lost a spouse knows about the dreaded anniversaries and special days. Anticipating birthdays, your wedding day, Christmas, etc. can be upsetting. These days put an exclamation point on the everyday ways you miss his or her presence. While they were on earth we prepared for these days by looking for ways to show our love for them with gifts and plans for the day. It may seem that we can no longer do this and this is part of the heartbreak. The truth is that we can still prepare for these days with the same intent – to honor and demonstrate our love for them with plans and even gifts. We have the choice of suffering the day or using the day. Making plans can not only take away some of the pain, but provide some positives for ourselves and others around us.
When we honor Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, jr. and other famous figures on their birthdays, we are showing gratitude for who they were and what they did. We are remembering their contributions to our country and our lives. Maybe we should all look for ways to do this in appreciation of our spouses on their birthdays. It may help to consider what would please them and how they’d feel about our using the day as a day to concentrate on the pain or on the love. Especially in the first year, this won’t be easy, but we do have the power to plan for it rather than simply accept and expect it to be a depressing day. It can be as simple as a lunch date with a close friend or relative to talk about him or her. Maybe even better would be getting together with another who has suffered loss – who understands. You might shop for something for your home that would have pleased him or her as a gift for both of you. Whatever you choose to do, remember that the gift of the life you had together cannot be taken away.