Handling Special Occasions

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and other occasions after a suicide loss can bring up painful memories, but they also can provide an opportunity to celebrate your loved one.

Anticipating the Event Can Be Harder than the Event Itself

Know that worrying about the event in the time leading up to the event is often more difficult than the event itself.

Communication is Important

Friends and family need to know how to be supportive. If you find it comfortable to talk about your loved one, or would rather grieve in a private way, talk openly with them in advance so that everyone knows what to expect.

It’s Okay to Take a Break

If the event proves to be too much, talk a short walk. Make sure you have a way to leave early if you need to. Sometimes having an exit strategy can make you feel more at ease.

Consider Traveling

If you have friends or family living in a different city, consider visiting them – a change in scenery might be helpful.

Keep Traditions, or Start New Ones

If holding to longstanding traditions proves too painful, consider developing new family traditions. For example, if you used to cook holiday meals, instead make dinner into a potluck.

Volunteering is a Great Way to Heal

Look online for volunteering opportunities in your area. Many people find meaning in helping others, and it’s a great way to honor your loved one.

Sometimes Special Occasions are Just Difficult

Even without the loss of a loved one, occasions like holidays can be stressful. Do the best you can, and remember that healing takes time, and the experience is different for everyone.

Take Care of Yourself

Get enough sleep, eat well, don’t drink too much, and practice healthy self-care. See our 10 Things You Can Do for Yourself in the Aftermath of a Suicide Loss.