August 11, 2022
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

How to gently remind Grandpa that people have passed away a long time ago

When a loved one dies, you may experience sorrow over the loss again – perhaps years later. Grief may resurface on the anniversary of a loved one's death or on other significant dates throughout the year.

These emotions, which are sometimes referred to as an anniversary response, are not always indicative of a setback in the mourning process. They demonstrate how much you value your loved one's life.

To continue on the road to recovery, it's critical to understand what to anticipate — and how to deal with reminders of your loss.



Reminders may be placed in any location

Certain reminders of your loved one may be unavoidable, such as visits to the loved one's cemetery, the person's death anniversary, holidays, birthdays, or new events that you know he or she would have liked. Even memorial services for others may reintroduce you to the agony of your own loss.

Additionally, reminders may be associated with sights, sounds, and scents – and they can be surprising. You may find yourself overcome with emotion when you drive by a restaurant your spouse frequents or as you hear your child's favorite music.

What to anticipate when sorrow reappears

Grief has an unpredictable path. Anniversary responses may last several days or, in more severe instances, much longer. You may feel the same strong emotions and responses as you did the first time you lost a loved one during an anniversary reaction, including the following:



Spells of tears


Fatigue, or a lack of energy





Sleeping difficulties


Anniversary responses may also elicit vivid recollections of the emotions and circumstances surrounding the loss of a loved one. For instance, you may recall precisely where you were and what you were doing at the time of your loved one's death.


Suggestions for coping with resurrected sorrow



Even years after a loss, you may experience sorrow when reminded of your loved one's passing. Take measures to deal with reminders of your loss as you continue to recover. For instance:

Prepare yourself.

Reactions to an anniversary are natural. Knowing that you are likely to have anniversary responses may assist you in comprehending them and even repurpose them as chances for recovery.

Prepare a diversion.

Plan a meeting or visit with friends or family at times when you are likely to feel alone or reminded of your loved one's passing.


Recall your connection.

Concentrate on the positive aspects of your connection with your loved one and the time you shared, rather than on the loss. Write a letter to a loved one or a message to yourself about some of your pleasant recollections. You may amend this message at any time.

Establish a new custom.

On their birthdays or holidays, make a contribution to a charity organization in their honor, or plant a tree in their honor.

Make connections with people.

Attract close friends and family members, especially those who were important to your loved one. Locate someone who will encourage you to discuss your loss. Maintain contact with your traditional sources of support, such as spiritual leaders and social organizations. Consider attending a support group for grief.


Allow for a variety of feelings.

While it is OK to be sad and feel a sense of loss, allow yourself to enjoy pleasure and happiness as well. You may find yourself smiling and weeping as you remember memorable occasions.

When a person's sorrow becomes too acute



Grief has no time limit, and anniversary responses may be devastating. Nonetheless, the degree of sorrow tends to diminish with time.






Consult a grief counselor or other mental health professional if your sorrow becomes worse rather than better over time or if it impairs your capacity to function in everyday life. Unresolved or complex sorrow may result in depression, other mental health difficulties, and other physical issues. However, with expert assistance, you may reclaim your feeling of control and direction in life — and so return to the road of recovery.

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