Bereavement due to suicide

Anniversaries and other special occasions

People who have been bereaved may feel overwhelming grief around the anniversary of the death. They may continue to feel this even many years after the death.

The weeks leading up to the day the person died may be as bad as the day itself. Kavita's brother died in September 2000. She often starts to feel “low” at the end of August.
Some people marked the anniversaries and the birthdays of those who had died in special ways.
People who have been bereaved may find it hard to celebrate occasions such as Christmas because the person who died is not there to celebrate. Felicity recalled their first Christmas without Alice. Brenda also remembered a difficult Christmas without their son. Dolores also said that Christmas is a “horrendous” time. She goes to the cemetery with her son at Christmas, and on her husband’s birthday, and they let off balloons.
Susan finds all anniversaries and birthdays difficult. She has decided to do something special on these days instead of sitting at home crying. She has been away to places like Venice. Others also said that they needed to keep busy at times like Christmas. Linda’s family also went away for Christmas the first two years after their daughter died. They did not feel it was right to celebrate at home as usual. However, this year they decided to stay at home.
 
Some people said that anniversaries and special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas become less painful as the years pass.
At first, every Friday was bad for Dave because his son killed himself on a Friday. Now Friday is just another day but Christmas is still difficult because other people expect him to cope better than he does.
 
Nina has always been sad at Christmas, but this year, seven years after Joe’s death, she felt a “Christmas feeling” in her stomach for the first time. Lynne no longer feels especially sad at Christmas time or on the anniversary of her mother’s death in 1981, but she misses her at important events such as weddings and when she graduated and got her PhD.

Last reviewed January 2015.

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