Difficult Dates — grateful, yet grieving

Pam Luschei

This week my children and I remembered my husband’s birthday.  Birthdays and anniversaries without our loved ones are difficult dates.  The traditions and memories associated with the calendar can feel like setbacks in our journey through grief.

Last week I walked with a friend, who also suffered the loss of her spouse.  As we were reflecting on birthdays of our husbands, she told me a story of a mother who lost her son.  This mother was remembering her son’s birthday that was coming up.  As my friend listened to this mother, she said, “It’s been over 40 years, and I still find his birthday a difficult day.”

Dates are etched into our brains and molded into our hearts because we lost someone we loved. There’s the core of the issue; we grieve because we loved.  Love creates an attachment that we had with our loved ones.  In my first year of grieving, I found these words so meaningful:  Grief is love weeping. 

I’ve found the anticipation of the date comes with its own agenda.  I found myself feeling some grief this past week, before the actual date.  With that, I began to make a plan of how I would remember my husband on his birthday.  My children and I had a conversation the week before and decided we would visit the cemetery in the afternoon and have dinner together.  It was a good day to be together and to honor my husband.

Recognizing and honoring our loved one with our grief is a way we still love them. In a culture that wants us to “be better fast”, allowing ourselves to feel our “love weeping” is a gift to us and to our loved one. Difficult dates become days of honoring our loved ones with the love we still have for them.

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Used with permission from Pam Luschei.

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