Dealing with the death of a child on the first anniversary
The first anniversary of your child’s death is very difficult, as are many other “firsts.” Above all, parents do not want their child to be forgotten. Many go out of their way to make sure this doesn’t happen, particularly on and after the first birthday or anniversary after death.
An insight from a grieving mother, who felt a great need to do something special on her son Scott’s birthday eight months after his death, shows one way she celebrated his life. She organized a birthday party for him and recorded the entire event so that she would have something to remember and always remember. She invited Scott’s close friends and some of her own who had known Scott all his life. She asked each person to bring a memory story about Scott. It can be a serious or funny story or a combination of both.
In the weeks leading up to the party, he went through the photos he had, selected about 50 of them, and put together a presentation with music and slides to show to the guests. She also put up many of the scrapbooks she had and displayed items from Scott’s life in the main room: his awards, his football jersey, her graduation photo of him, etc. Friends appreciated seeing items that remind them of times spent together.
This mom also chose a special image and used it to make T-shirts for all the guests. When she arrived, she handed them out and asked the guest to wear his shirt for the celebration.
She cooked Scott’s favorite food: hamburgers and onion rings and made a black forest birthday cake, another favorite, with ice cream. When everyone had finished eating, memory stories were told and then they were given a small piece of paper to write a short message to Scott and attached to a helium balloon. In the backyard, a poem Mom wrote was read and a balloon release sent all the messages to heaven.
She ended the party with a short speech about how she appreciated everyone coming and that she hoped this was the start of something good that each of them could do each year on Scott’s birthday to help each other and remember their beloved with love. friend. Everyone was encouraged to visit a children’s hospital with little gifts of stuffed animals, make a donation to an organization in Scott’s name, start a scholarship at the school he attended, donate blood to help others, just light a candle on that special day or any other idea of your choice.
This was his way of celebrating Scott’s life and encouraging his friends to find some good in this horrible tragedy. He could only hope that his words would find a place in each of his hearts.
As for me, I always go to the cemetery that day, bring flowers and talk to my daughter, telling her how much I, her husband and his friends miss her. A mother I know has held an annual golf tournament since her son was a golfer. Another is involved in MADD and speaks to high school students about drinking and driving, and yet another has started an online memorial page where others can go and leave messages and memories. Friends may want to get together and plant a tree in her name and maybe even place a plaque in the area. There are many things one can do.
Save anything you were sent or given after your child’s death, so you can look back with loving thoughts. Best of all, reaching out to others who are grieving will help you in your grievance process as well.