Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anniversary Dates

I know some of you are very early in your journey, and I'm so sorry you have had to start down this path at all. I wish I could help make it easier. Some others of us are a little further along and have experienced anniversary dates. They are tough. I just had Gabriel's 7th anniversary on Sunday. And yes, it sucked.

I kept giving myself advice. Do you ever do that? Hear little voices in your head telling you what to do? I think: "If someone had posted this question on a message board, what advice would I give them?" Because I am so chock full of advice when it comes to message boards. Ask me anything about parenting, health, school situations or life and I'm glad to tell you what to do. But when it comes to actually doing it myself or giving myself that same advice that it gets tougher.


I kept giving myself advice I might tell someone else about surviving an anniversary date. Here are some of my little gems:

The days or weeks leading up to the date are harder than the day itself. This is usually true for me. Sunday was pretty ok until I hit about 1:00 and then I just crashed. I ended up in my backyard hammock for 3 solid hours just sleeping and watching the birds fly around down in the swampy area behind my house

Don't make a lot of plans until you see how you feel that day. Give yourself permission to stay in bed or in the house if you don't feel like going out. Yes, yes, I did this. But also I knew that I wanted to go to the cemetary and have cookies with my family and let a balloon go, so I had to force myself out of the house at some point. I usually make my husband take the day off of work, but he didn't need to do that this year because it was Sunday.

Do a random act of kindness for someone else in memory of your child. I had done this throughout the month of May. Whenever I started feeling kind of sad or freaked out I did something for someone else

Make some kind of tangible memento to put in Gabriel's scrapbook In the past this has included taking a photo of the sky on Gabriel's day and also writing a letter to him. I try to do a scrapbook page each year to continue to add to his scrapbook

I'd love to hear what you have done on anniversary dates. Thanks so much for sharing with us what helps.



Bluebird said...

We haven't had the babies' anniversary yet, but I love the idea of making a page for their scrapbook. I'll have to remember that.

Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

Emily, I like the adding a scrapbook page idea.. but that doesn't work so well with digital scrapbooking.. I could (and probably will) add a page every year to our family book though.. We haven't hit Seth's Heaven Day yet but celebrated his birthday with balloon release at the cemetery...

Kritta22 said...

We don't do much around here for our days. It shocks me, especially when the date comes. I loose track of all dates most days but when I'm writing a check on something, I have been known to start crying! Poor cashiers.

i really like the scrapbook idea. You are so creative.

Thanks for sharing. I'm so sorry that you anniversary was Sunday. Hugs!!

HanamiMama said...

We lost our first child, Nicolas, during labor after 41 weeks of pregnancy on March 1, 2006. Since then, we have had three years of anniversaries -- birthdays and holidays. For me, Nicolas' birthday is always the most difficult, although our first Christmas was very, very hard, too. We always do something simple but special for his birthday, and buy a Christmas ornament every year with his name on it. This year for Nicolas' birthday (he should be three now) we went to the beach and threw some beautiful flowers into the ocean. We have some sweet photos of our living son, Christopher, tossing the flowers into the waves for his big brother. I just love those photos of Christopher's chubby little hand letting the flowers go into the waves -- very sweet. I believe it is important to do something small every year in honor of our children who died. It helps me feel connected and at peace. My only advice to parents newer in their grief than me is to plan something simple and easy -- don't plan anything too extravegant or complicated in case you don't feel up to doing anything more than sleeping in bed all day! Otherwise, you may feel more pressure and stress than you need at an already painful time.

Holly said...

We haven't experienced an anniversary date yet as this Sat will only be 7 weeks but I like the ideas you gave.

Emily said...

We are coming up on what would have been my son's 2nd birthday if he was born breathing at 37 weeks. Last year for his 1st birthday we released butterflies...just me and my husband. This year we will do the same, but not quite as many because we are tighter on finances this year. Last year one of them landed on my head when I went up to the deck and we got it on video. Releasing butterflies gives me something to look forward to to celebrate him on that day.

Emily said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I love your ideas. Balloons and butterfly releases sound so special. We will participate in a butterfly release in July when we go to the Bereaved Parents of the USA conference.

Anonymous said...

Yes, these days are hard. I'll be doing fine and then *bam* they slap me in the face.

I LOVED your 'game' idea in your comment you left me.

Courtney said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I really love the idea of your blog and the support that is offered here. I will be sure to place your link on my blog so my other angel mommies can stop by.

many *hugs*

Lynda said...

My path just started. Baby Johnny was due on May 13th. On his due date I had a celebration with all my family and friends, just as I would have had he been here. It was nice and a contribution to his scrapbook as well :)

Bree said...

Hi Emily,
Thank you for reading my story. Ive actually visited your blog before. You are doing great work in helping others who have experienced a loss. I hope so much to find a way to honor my sweet Ella.

Anonymous said...

'The days or weeks leading up to the date are harder than the day itself.'

This really struck a chord for me. We've just had Iris' first birthday and while the day itself was pretty grim, I was prepared for it. The week beforehand, however, was a different story. I kept being overcome with grief unexpectedly in the most random and ulikely of places.

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your message of support, it is so appreciated.