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Jeruba's avatar

How, if at all, do you mark or observe the birthday of a deceased friend or loved one?

Asked by Jeruba (53414points) 1 month ago

The first birthday of my late husband after he died, his surviving family planned a special observance.

By the second, that did not seem appropriate or necessary, but neither did ignoring it. It’s not an ordinary day. I won’t be forgetting the date. A cake does not seem suitable; I’m not celebrating.

My deceased parents’ birthdays were the occasion of reminiscences among my siblings. For various reasons, that won’t work for my husband.

What do you do on those special dates?

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15 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Personally I see it as insignificant.
As I do birthdays in general already.
The day of death I have a little more with.

jca2's avatar

The anniversary of my mother’s death was just about a week ago, and the family has a text where we all discuss various things that are of interest to everyone. On the anniversary of my mother’s death, we were all talking about how much we miss her, how great she was, and sharing photos and reminiscing.

Other than that, we didn’t do anything on her birthday except similar texting. For other friends and relatives, we don’t do anything in particular. We just think about them.

Friends will post on Facebook when it’s a deceased friend or relative’s birthday, and people will say “happy birthday in heaven” and things like that. I may or may not participate, or I may just put a “heart” emoji.

chyna's avatar

I don’t do anything other than think about the loved one on their birthday.
I did mention to one of my brothers this year that dad would have been 100.
I was at the cemetery once to put flowers on my parents grave and there was a family beside them that were having a picnic on their moms grave complete with KFC, a pie and desert because it was her birthday. Everyone has their own ways to commemorate special days.

hat's avatar

This may sound strange, but I used to always buy my nana a mother’s day card. I personally find the cards to be ridiculous, but they meant a lot to her. She’s been dead for 21 years, and every mother’s day I can’t help but pick her out a card. I don’t buy it, but I go through the cards and pick the one that I would have given her.

This May was my father’s first birthday since his death. I reached out to his wife, and my sister, and reminisced a bit with my kids. But didn’t quite know what to do. Sucks. I had a beer and wished he could’ve been there to share one with me. Raised my glass to him anyway.

I don’t handle death very well. Will be following this thread. Sorry for your loss.

JLeslie's avatar

So sorry again about your husband’s passing.

It depends who it is.

One of my close friends who passed away I write on her Facebook page. This past birthday a mutual friend posted some photos of them in high school, and I tagged her children. They wrote to me saying thank you and one elaborated saying that she was glad to see other people think of her mom and miss her like she does.

I haven’t lost my spouse, but I think the first year I would be miserable on his birthday. I think it would probably trigger me. Maybe not. So hard to predict.

On my aunt’s birthday I think about her. I tell my sister it’s our aunt’s birthday. She knows already, but it’s more like a statement that I realize it’s her birthday. It’s still a very sad day for me. I sometimes think to wear her jewelry that day. I wear our birthstone; we were born in the same month. My sister lived with her as a teenager, so for her it’s like having lost a mother figure. I call my mom too, my aunt was her sister.

Other relatives I don’t always realize when it’s their birthday. The day passes like any other day.

@hat In my family we would call our grandmother and aunt on Mother’s Day.

cookieman's avatar

For their birthday, I will think of them fondly or talk about them with someone who cared for them too.

I am not a fan of remember the day someone died. Too negative for me.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t do anything about birthdays of family and friends that have died. I see people doing that on fb. It’s seems weird and creepy to me.

janbb's avatar

I usually just note it in my mind and think if them for a few minutes. If it’s one of my parents, I might mention it to my brother.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t mark the birthdays of friends or family when they die. I feel there is not much point as time means nothing to them. I remember them when I remember them and sometimes grief comes unexpectedly.

While I don’t remember their birthdays, I do remember the year they died and how old they were and I like to work out their ages at significant times in their lives. I like to compare myself with them in that way so I can imagine their lives.

longgone's avatar

I make sure I’m not alone. I try to see people who know why the day is hard for me.

For the deaths that have affected me the most, I try to do something the deceased would have appreciated. For my great-uncle’s death and birthday, I send bright flowers to my grandma (his beloved sister). For my high school friend, I get together with the group and we go visit his grave, just hanging out. For my childhood dog, I buy a toy for all the family dogs, plus a senior shelter dog. I also visit a place she loved.

Hugs, @Jeruba.

janbb's avatar

^^ Oh those Germans – so sentimental! Love you!

SnipSnip's avatar

I burn a new candle until it extinguishes itself.

raum's avatar

For my brother, we try to make time to go as a family to visit his grave. There’s a tree next to his plot. We sit underneath and share stories about him. Sometimes we make something to hang in the tree.

If I’m not able to make it home for his birthday or death anniversary, I’ll call my parents and siblings.

On my own, I like to do something that is associated with the good memories we had. Like going to the comic book store or the beach.

There were plenty of bad memories as well. And I sit quietly and make space for those too.

Sending hugs, @Jeruba.
There’s no wrong way.
Whatever feels right to you.

Forever_Free's avatar

I recall it is their Birthday and celebrate what they meant in my life through my thoughts and feelings.

longgone's avatar

@janbb Love you back, penguin!

@raum That’s very touching. Hugs.

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