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jonsblond's avatar

When is grieving the hardest for you (please read the details)?

Asked by jonsblond (40680points) December 30th, 2016

When grieving the loss of a loved one which occasion is hardest for you to get through: the birthday of your loved one, the anniversary of their death or the holidays?

Tonight is the anniversary of my mother’s death, which coincides with the holidays. I guess I get to kill two birds with one stone. No pun intended.

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27 Answers

jca's avatar

My mom just died three months ago so the only thing we’ve had to experience so far were the holidays. It was a real adjustment because Thanksgiving and Christmas were always her cooking or helping with the cooking and at her house. For Thanksgiving we went to a fancy restaurant. I was not really looking forward to it but it was very pleasant and I can see why some people do that. For Christmas, we went to my father’s house and other family members cooked. My mom was missed very much. I feel like it’s very possible that next Thanksgiving we’ll take a trip somewhere else – the bunch of us. Why not? It’s a four day weekend. The tradition of my mom being the cook and the hostess is gone now.

I know that grieving is not a linear process. It’s an up and down thing. I know I’ll be thinking of my mom and dealing with her loss for a long time to come. She fought cancer for six years. Many people I know never knew my mom was sick because I’m not one to advertise it. Now when people tell me they have a family member who has cancer I understand what it means for the whole family.

Rarebear's avatar

6 months after the event.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Anniversary of their death. Losing someone around holiday time does seem to magnify awareness, and makes the whole chunk of time a big trigger.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

All of those days. I find myself feeling sad and missing them on their birthdays, on the anniversary of their death, when I listen to particular music, when I’m sick. I know you don’t believe time is the great healer, but it is. My father has been gone now since 1984. I still miss him terribly, but the pain has dulled. I still shed a few tears when I wish I could see him, but I really don’t feel so bereft. It eases. It won’t ever go away completely. You will always miss your mum, but there will come a time when you can shed a few tears for her when you think of her at Christmas and then pick yourself up and carry on.

zenvelo's avatar

For me it isn’t the holidays, or the day they died (I can’t remember the exact date of my father’s death.) Birthdays I remember them, usually as a celebration of their life.

When I grieve the most is when something strikes me I wish to share with them, and then it hits me that I can’t.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve lost a few family members and friends over the years, but about a year or so after they’re gone, I don’t grieve anymore. Birthdays and the anniversaries of their deaths pass and I sometimes remember them, and sometimes even wonder how nice it would be to still have them around, wonder how they would have turned out. Is that grieving? If so, I grieve. But I don’t consider it really grieving. A deep sadness doesn’t really come over me. Maybe I’m just strange.

I’m really lousy at remembering anniversaries and birthdays, anyway. Never put any effort into it. Somebody was always around to remind me of those things. Maybe that’s part of it. I can remember maybe two people’s birthdays and none of the dates when they died. Not even my mother’s, the death of whom hit me hardest.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Every single day.

Berserker's avatar

My dad died years ago and what got to me, and sometimes still does is when people offer their condolences and such. I turn the sadness into anger and back on people, accusing them of not giving a shit and just being polite, especially to people who never knew my dad. I know it’s bs on my part, and I don’t really do that anymore but I didn’t know how to deal with it. Only progress now is being aware of it I guess.
When there isn’t anyone to blame and I think about my dad I turn the anger towards him, thinking about the worst things about him and go, good, you’re dead, fuck you. I know it’s wrong vis à vis what I feel about him but some other me deep inside allows it cuz it makes me feel better. Guess I’m pretty immature and stupid but fucking sue me lol. My dad knows I love him, if he’s anywhere, probably isn’t but we deal how we can. If I could take the time to think about shit like I am now when confronted with emotion things might come out better.

Pandora's avatar

For my dad, it’s always Christmas first, because it was his favorite Holiday, and of course the anniversary of his death. and fathers day. I always feel like an orphan on fathers day.
Now it’s double hard on my fathers death anniversary, because that was the same week I had to put my dog down.
For my dog, I also miss him a great deal on Christmas. We got him for my daughter for xmas as well but he became our dog.

Pachy's avatar

It doesn’t take a special occasion to make me miss my departed loved ones. My mom has been gone for just three years and my dad for over 40, and I think of them with both sadness and joy all the time.

Any little thing can bring them to mind. Just a few nights ago I dreamed my mother phoned to ask how I am. I’m in the middle of a big move so I’m not surprised by her “visit.” Her voice was as clear and familiar as if she were still alive.

jca's avatar

I keep thinking I should call my mother and then my next thought is “no, I can’t call her, she’s dead.”

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t lost my parents, which I think I probably can’t imagine fully without going through it, but for me grieving is the most horrible the first 4 months, but can easily last longer. If I regularly used to see and call them, then on a regular basis I’m noticing that hole in my life that they are gone. Every time I think I want to tell them something, or wonder what they would say, or think how much they would enjoy what I’m doing, or I want to include them in an event.

My family didn’t make big deals about the holidays, which I’m fairly glad about, so I doubt I would be especially upset over the holidays, but maybe I’m wrong.

I think if it was my husband or sister I would be inconsolable for many months and literally wake up in a state of horrible loss every morning from the day they died. Especially, my husband being gone. His presence is with me practically every minute of the day. If he isn’t within 30 feet of me, he is still in my thoughts, and we touch base usually at least once during the day when we are apart. When I go to the supermarket I shop for “us” when I plan my schedule I consider him, when I look forward to things it usually includes him. I’m pretty sure the loss would feel like the loss of a limb; a part of my body and being.

cookieman's avatar

Same answer as @zenvello. It’s never the holidays, occasions, or birthdays that get me. It’s the little things that remind me of them or that I think they’d like. I’ll often say, “My dad would have liked that.” or, “That reminds me of my grandfather.” Could be a song, or a tv show, a certain smel, or dish of food, or…anything really.

With so many people having died in my life whom I was close to, it’s almost a daily thing where something will remind me of them.

Mimishu1995's avatar

It has been nearly a year since I lost a good friend. There is no fixed day when I feel the most depressed. The grief comes randomly, I can never predict. He can appear in my mind through a thought of something related to our memory, a song, a talk or even out of nowhere. But as time pass I find the grief to reduce. It is there, but it has become less hurtful. I don’t know if it is time at work or because I l’m just so used to it that it doesn’t affect me much anymore.

janbb's avatar

I miss my parents and other departeds at various times but at the holidays it is my immediate family which was broken by my divorce that I miss the most. Christmas, in particular, was a very special time for us (oddly because I’m a Jew) and the happiest we were as a family. Some years I go to one of my son’s but this year I was at home. Celebrated with friends but it’s been a rough week.

snowberry's avatar

I wasn’t allowed to grieve my mother’s death. That hurt the most. Holiday time or anniversaries made no difference. It’s been 20 years now, and I’m over it.

tinyfaery's avatar

My mother died a few days before Thanksgiving and honestly, since then, the holiday season in general has never been the same. My mother and I also shared a birthday so I find it hard to be happy about that day, and the fact that I’m getting so old doesn’t help either.

Cruiser's avatar

I lost my mom this past spring and I really got the holiday blues approaching Christmas especially when I went to order gift baskets for my good customers and there in the address list was my mom’s address who I also sent an arrangement to. At that moment I lost it.

Sorry to hear about your mom. @tinyfaery

filmfann's avatar

My parents were married on Christmas day, so I’ll go with that, since it’s a double whammy.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I dunno. My mom died two years ago, but I’ve never really grieved or felt the need to. Never grieved any of my grandparents ether. Maybe I’m a cold bastard, but death is something I had to face and come to terms with at a very young age.

Seek's avatar

I think of my lost loved ones most while doing things I would have done with them. Memories of Nan live in big family dinners and treating myself to good cheese. Grandma’s in the teakettle and tins of butter cookies, and that lingering urge to cross myself I’ve never really managed to shake. Pop is in the daily battle to brush my son’s hair – he’s as tenderheaded as I was at his age.

Dad is in damn near everything.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I can’t even handle something simple as losing a life in a video game. I’m afraid what will happen if I lose anymore friends or family. I just shut off a piece of myself forever.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Cruiser It’s been 7 years, but thanks.

janbb's avatar

^^ I remember.

Strauss's avatar

When my parents each passed, I experienced the deep sadness one would expect. I was living away from the home town, and returned for the funerals. After a few months the deep sadness passed, but I was still sad every time I realized that they were no longer just a phone call away. I still miss them every day, especially around their birthdays, or when I gather with my siblings.

Cruiser's avatar

@tinyfaery When you said a few days before Thanksgiving I thought was this past Thanksgiving and made me connect with it in a unique way as both my parents passed on very special days I believe in an effort so I/we do not forget them. My dad first passed on Valentines day and my mom passed on my wife’s birthday.

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