(Other than that date.)
A few months after Andrew passed away, his eighth birthday rolled around. As a family, we weren't sure what to do. Do we celebrate? Bury ourselves in our beds? Ignore it? Ignoring it didn't feel right but celebrating didn't either. As a 13-year old, I decided we would have a party and I would make a cake. Our family gathered at my aunt and uncle's house. I don't remember if we sang "Happy Birthday" but I do remember my dad declaring afterward that we probably wouldn't do that again.
As the years have progressed, we went from spending his birthday together to giving each other hugs and sending our private birthday messages up to heaven. I imagine there is no wrong way to celebrate important dates. Pretty sure Emily Post didn't write an etiquette book on grief (Side note: I was kinda wrong. There are some blogs. If you don't know who Emily Post is...I have no words for you. Google it.).
I have two aunts who are amazing at remembering dates that matter to us where Andrew is involved. Every year they message us on the anniversary date and his birthday. When we were closer to the "event" they would also call on the holidays.
It's astounding the value a day has after someone has passed away. For those who've not lost a sibling, parent, grandparent, partner/spouse, or another significant person, I thought I'd create a handy list of dates to remember so that you can check up with the grieving person on the dates that matter. If you don't know, ask them. It won't make them sad, it will actually make them feel really good that you want to know because you're thinking about their missing person too.
Note: If the dates are not known, it's okay. Everyone is different. Some people may not want to acknowledge the day. Also, they won't need everything below, if you are unsure, asking is not a bad thing. Don't be afraid, it will mean so much to the grieving person. Most of the time we feel like no one remembers.
Important Days to Remember
Heavenversary (aka the day they passed away.)
Happy anniversaries: wedding, first dates, etc.
The BIG event (accident, diagnosis, etc)
The day they disappeared or went missing
Sad anniversaries: divorce, break-up, estrangement, etc.
Their kids birthdays (you may want to include step-kids)
Personal record day- days that meant a lot to the deceased person
Major and important holidays
What am I missing? What days do you wish people would take note of? Leave it in the comments, send it to me, or leave it over on social. Let's cover it all!