Question: acknowledge anniversary of death of spouse, or not? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 02-24-2008, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a question for people who have experienced a significant loss in their lives. Do you want friends and family members to acknowledge the anniversary date of a significant death, or not say anything?

I am in a situation where I called a widow on the second anniversary of her husband's death to let her know I was thinking about her and to call me if she wanted to talk.

My mother told me that I should not have done this, because it would make the widow sad to be reminded that this was the day. However, I would think that a widow would be more likely to forget Christmas day than to forget the day that her husband died, and I wanted to let her know that I remembered as well and that I care about her.

My question is: was this inappropriate to remind the widow? Should I have said nothing?

Thank you.
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#2 of 22 Old 02-24-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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I think you did an awesome thing. A really awesome thing. We live in a society where everyone pressures us to forget about and not talk about our losses. We become so conditioned to keeping our grief locked away, it is so unhealthy. Sure, it's OK to have huge memorials for 9/11 victims every year, but god forbid we mention our own losses on an anniversary---it simply "isn't done," isn't socially accepted, makes people feel uncomfortable.

Thank you for being the lone, brave, compassionate voice of sanity, for reaching out and letting her know that you realise she still has pain and grief, and that you really care. Thank you for caring about her. I hope if I ever lose my spouse, someone brave and good like you will share a hug and a thought with me on the anniversary. What you did is SO right, on so many levels.
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#3 of 22 Old 02-25-2008, 01:22 AM
 
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It is appropriate- and there really is no way that she wasn't thinking about it.
My current DH is really sensitive about anniversaries.
That was a kind thing that you did.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
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#4 of 22 Old 02-25-2008, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate you for reassuring me. I felt so embarrassed, that maybe I had committed a serious faux pas. But my heart told me that I was doing the right thing. She has not called me, but I still felt it was right. I was surprised that this was seen as inappropriately reminding her of her husband's death and causing pain.
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#5 of 22 Old 02-25-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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This is a tough one. It would actually blind-side me if someone called on the anniversary of my brother's death. I would have to look up the date to be able to say when it is... I mean, I know the time of year, etc, but it's all blurry and I am not good with dates.
That being said, it would make me feel good to hear from someone who is thinking about him and/or my feelings. I think it is totally appropriate to share feelings about the dead, and, like me, she may not have too many people to talk about it with.
You definately did a good thing by reaching out to her.

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#6 of 22 Old 02-25-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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I feel that your call what a very kind thing to do. She will never forget the date of her husband's death, and knowing that someone is thinking of her on the day I'm sure would mean a lot to her.
When the anniversary of my son's death came around last year, I felt like I was all alone in my grief and that everyone had forgotten about my loss.
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#7 of 22 Old 03-07-2008, 01:06 AM
 
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nak
so good and loving for you to do that. i only wish people around me were so thoughtful. my mom's 1 yr death anniversary came and went last year and although i spoke w/ other family members that day, no one f/ the "outside" called. it would have meant the world to me. a friend was induced, and gave birth that day. i am still a little bitter about it... wouldn't be if it was a natural labor that began but it was a day she chose... i just keep thinking couldn't she have waited a day?
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#8 of 22 Old 03-07-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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This is not a spouse, but I have a friend whose baby was born at 35 weeks and died 12 hours later (Trisomy 13). I send her flowers on the anniversary every year. So far I've done the same number of flowers as the baby's would-be age. She says she really appreciates it. She said that this year, her family didn't even call. So obviously she sees that as a problem when people don't call or acknowledge it.
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#9 of 22 Old 03-07-2008, 02:50 AM
 
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You did a wonderful thing. I appreciate those who remember the anniversary of the death of a loved one. We are expected to grieve and move on all too quickly in this country.
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#10 of 22 Old 03-07-2008, 03:32 AM
 
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Two of my friends have mothers who actually died on the same (Hebrew) date in different years. Every year they have a prayer service, which requires 10 Jews to come pray with them (quorum). There is "mom's recipe" chocolate cake afterwards. Another friend does a similar "lunch & learn" in honor of his mother. These things are totally common among religious Jews. Also, most Jews, even those less observant, burn a special 24 hour candle on the yartzeit (anniversery) of a family member's death. The Jeewish funeral homes in America send acknowledgement cards each year even. So I agree, you weren't "reminding" her, you were sharing her loss with her.
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#11 of 22 Old 03-08-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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you won't remind her. she doesn't forget. on the year anniversary of our son's death, i greatly appreciated all the support we got from friends and family.
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#12 of 22 Old 03-08-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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I'm sure it means a lot to her that you were not only thinking of her, but you were thinking about her husband as well. I've never lost someone as close to me as a parent/spouse, but I imagine I would want people to remember my loved and not let the memory fade. You definitely did the right thing.
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#13 of 22 Old 03-09-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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Oh yes, you absolutely should have called. I'm so glad you did.

The day that my friends and family stop acknowledging my daughter's birth day and death day, I will be absolutely heartbroken. To have someone send a card or call or something similar says to me that they remember my child, and they understand how important she was and continues to be to me.
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#14 of 22 Old 03-11-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treasuremapper View Post
I have a question for people who have experienced a significant loss in their lives. Do you want friends and family members to acknowledge the anniversary date of a significant death, or not say anything?

I am in a situation where I called a widow on the second anniversary of her husband's death to let her know I was thinking about her and to call me if she wanted to talk.

My mother told me that I should not have done this, because it would make the widow sad to be reminded that this was the day. However, I would think that a widow would be more likely to forget Christmas day than to forget the day that her husband died, and I wanted to let her know that I remembered as well and that I care about her.

My question is: was this inappropriate to remind the widow? Should I have said nothing?

Thank you.
I think you had a kind heart and your friend will see that. That is more important than any rule.
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#15 of 22 Old 03-11-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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My aunt experiences such grief on the anniversary of her sons death. We go and fly balloons to him every year on that date. While she sometimes does not want to talk to people necessarily, she appreciates every attempt others make to acknowledge him and this anniversary.

My mom has not been dead a year yet, so i have no idea how i will feel when that day comes, but her birthday to me seems like it will be a day to celebrate. I have been thinking about having a party

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#16 of 22 Old 06-01-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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she will never forget any 'anversary' dates. you didnt reminde her of anything. In fact I think she probly apreciated it more than you will ever know...

we had a 'birthday' party for my dd on her birthday after she died. we had a few close friends over for dinner a balloon and cake and talked about our memories of her. after we went to an evening service at a church we sometimes attend. the pasted had the balls to say 'why are we celebrating a non birthday?' that turned me off from that church rather quickly.... yes we need to move on but that dosent mean forgetting.

I would just sent a note/card that say your thinking of her. at least she wil know you care...
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#17 of 22 Old 06-02-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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I think you did a wonderful thing. I was widowed almost three years ago and I'm always touched when someone other than my parents or in-laws remember the date. Thanks for being such a lovely person!!!
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#18 of 22 Old 06-04-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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I agree 100% - you did the right thing, and a very kind and caring thing; she knows the day, and you helped her feel less alone in her grief.

LookMommy - that is very nice, those ways of marking anniversaries and remembering and honoring loved ones who are gone.

deb - I am sorry for your experience; he seems to be in the wrong profession! It is still her birthday, especially for you, her mother.

to all those who have lost a loved one

Sharon FF/Medic DH 3 DD's 2/98, 4/01, 11/05
~*The days are long, but the years are short.*~
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#19 of 22 Old 06-08-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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Before grief therapy, grief support groups, & psychiatrists, the community, the villages, and its churches supported their widows/ers. Part of loving one another is loving one another through our pain.

You did an awesome, kind thing.

As a widow of a young husband, mother of three children, two of them young I personally am very grateful for my friends, family and groups who share and remember my happiness and the struggles from the loss that comes with those days.

HUG

MB, mama to three, soulmate to one, pioneering cloth to many since 2002!
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#20 of 22 Old 06-08-2008, 01:19 AM
 
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You did the right thing! My parents died on Mother's Day in '82 and '84, and I am SO touched when friends send me cards or call or email or somehow acknowledge what a bittersweet day it is for me. My kids make darling cards and help make me breakfast or what have you, but I go to the cemetary with flowers - every year on Mother's Day. That is what I really want to do on that day - my choice. My dp doesn't understand it at all, but I do it anyway; it is important to me.

Our society does a terrible job of supporting people after losses through death. Everyone is nice for a week or two, then you are expected to get over it. Within a month or two, it is like they never existed. People don't talk about them - so not to make you cry. But you cry anyway. Crying over a happy memory is a good thing; you know someone else remembers them and misses them.

I think you were wonderful to remember your friend's difficult anniversary. The loved one's birthday, date of death, wedding anniversary, Mother's/Father's Day, Xmas, etc - all very hard days depending on the person. You did the right thing.
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#21 of 22 Old 06-08-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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Yes, acknowledge it. It is important for those left behind to know that their loved one is never forgotten, that their memory lives on with others.

In the religion I chose for myself, there is an annual acknowledgement of the death: a yahrzeit. I make sure there are ten people there in the morning to gather to say "kaddish" for him, on an annual basis. And there is a plaque with his name on it in the sanctuary with a light next to it that is turned on once a year.
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#22 of 22 Old 06-08-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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I always call on the anniversary of a significant death, but I let the other person take the lead in whether we talk about it or not. I call my widowed grandmother both on the date that was my grandfather's birthday as well as the anniversary of his death. I tell her that I just called because I was thinking of her and wanted to let her know. Often she fills up these conversations with talk about other things, only mentioning my grandfather toward the end of our phone call.

Some people want to talk about their loss on these days, while others prefer not to dwell on their sorrow, or others feel their loss is too private to talk about. However, I don't know anyone who wouldn't appreciate a phone call just to let them know you are thinking of them.
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