On Grief -- Death Anniversaries Aren't Ordinary Days

Last week, I mentioned that it was the two year mark of my mother's passing. 

Losing a loved one is hard. Like... really hard.

I miss my mom.

On the actual anniversary date of her death, I was kind of a wreck. I made it through the day with the kids, but after 5:00, I was done. Thank God I have an amazing, supportive husband who asked me what I needed. He was able to give me the rest of the evening and night to just be.

I dropped the kids off to him at the park and ran into a dear friend who is grieving the very recent loss of her husband. What a God send at that moment in my life... for she knew. I felt totally comfortable telling her I was not okay and that I just needed to go home and mourn. 

I was feeling a bit guilty leaving my kids and leaving an activity that usually brings me great joy every week, but my friend said these words to me: 

"What strength." 

I'm paraphrasing now, but she was telling me that knowing my limits and taking time for self care shows great strength of character.

When I got home, I cried.

I thought.

I realized something rather profound. 

Death anniversaries aren't ordinary days. 

I was desperately trying to go on as normal. After all, the day before I was fine. Why should this day be any different? I was having a hard time justifying my sadness, because why should the number on the calendar dictate my mood?

But then, I thought about my wedding anniversary date. I thought about birth dates. I thought about adoption dates. I thought about sobriety anniversary dates. I thought about all kinds of happy anniversary dates that we celebrate with joy. 

Those aren't ordinary days either. We remember and we celebrate. We go back to the emotion of the date.

For some reason, because this date is related to a sad event, I didn't think it was okay to remember, recognize, and feel. 


I will never forget the day my mother died (nor any of the days leading up to it). It will remain with me for the rest of my life. It was impactful. It was hard.

I'm not going to ignore those hard things.

I'm not going to ignore the loss of a strong, graceful, classy, loving, person. I'm going to remember her and make sure that she is known. 

And that does take strength.


  1. I'm so, so sorry that you lost your mom. I can't even imagine that kind of pain--and don't want to. You're absolutely right, though--just as we remember and take time for the joyous anniversaries, the heart-breaking ones deserve to be remembered as well.

  2. We cannot never forget the ones we love, the ones that had a major impact in our life. I lost my mom tragically a year and half ago. It was and still is devastating. The one person on this planet who loved me unconditionally was taken from me, without notice, without warning. Gone. I have been told that it doesn't get better, it just gets easier. I still grieve.

    1. I totally relate . My loved one death annivesary is tomorrow i do miss so much but on the brighter side i feel proud that atleast love never dies . Missing someone is a sign that u truly loved them

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. I too lost my mom 2 years ago very suddenly and every day is hard but especially those anniversaries. I've found that celebrating her memory with my family helped and we made a new tradition for her on those days. The first year we wrote on balloons and let them go fly high in the sky. The second year, we wrote on paper lanterns and lit them up with my dad and siblings and their families. A friend suggested a "blue" Christmas my first year without her which was perfect because that's exactly how I felt and also my moms favorite color. I'm glad you are finding ways to honor and remember your mom. ��

  4. When I read this blog post the first time it left me without words to express the beauty. Today I want to encourage you to keep writing, keep smashing cultural ideals. Your words "for she knew" speak volumes, for we cannot truly know the depth of grief by looking at someone, anyone. We cannot simply by looking at you know the courage and the struggle. Thank you for loving well, for inspiring others, for choosing not to ignore the hard things. In following your Smashing Cultural Ideals label I discovered many gifts, one of which is permission to capture by photography in "Life is Beautiful..." My husband's shoes remain in the basement where I gently removed them from his feet in the stillness of time between the departure of the EMTs and the arrival of the funeral director. Yesterday was the darkest day so far. Today (Day 55) will be better in no small part because of you.

  5. Beautiful truths. Days like this are not meant to be forgotten. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I needed this. The anniversary of Nick's death was the 19th. First time in 9 years I didn't take it off of work. Never again. I'm a wreck that day and this year I felt guilty about it. Your words are beautiful and truthful - thanks for sharing. xo