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Do you remember a sad anniversary and if so why or why not?

Community Champion
Community Champion

When people remember anniversaries they often think of happy times like biirthdays or wedding anniversaries, but when there is grief and loss do you remember the birthday rather the day a loved one died. Or if there was a tragedy do you remember it on a special date ?

I do not want to trigger anyone or upset anyone but I am facing an anniversary in a couple of weeks and it will be covered in the media so not sure how I can avoid it.

I am interested in how others handle the sad dates.


39 Replies 39

Hi everyone,

2nd anniversary of the fires on Friday.

Some feel it is not helpful to remember this anniversary each year.

What do you think.?

I think each person is different. Some find it better to keep their minds off anniversaries of bad events. If that is the case then do whatever helps. For others trying to forget a traumatic event is not possible. Trying to ignore the event or pretending you are over it is VERY unhelpful. For me I tried to hide the fact I was still affected many years later but that lead to feelings of guilt and shame and stopped me from moving forward.

It is easy for people not directly affected to tell you to move on as they can forget what happened. Not so easy for you.

Do whatever feels right to you You are the only person who is inside your own skin and truly understands.

Thanks Elizabeth ,

Your last sentence really helps me.

Do whatever feels right to you You are the only person who is inside your own skin and truly understands.

Hello Quirkywords, ❤️❤️❤️❤️ & virtual hugs.

I still remember 1974 floods, when we lost pretty much every material thing, It comes up in my mind, every late January, most especially when the weather is wet & rainy for days around that time. I live in a location where the risk is very minimal, yet still feel my anxiety rise, & memories rise, indeed, like debris floating up from the depths.

Not just what I personally lost, but the loss so evidently felt by my parents. The house & contents, & my father's business were not literally building materials, furnishings, clothing, oh, everything, not just material things. These things represented a new life they had recently established, a home a new start, & their grief was obvious.

& I lost hold of a cat, & so she was lost. When I think about the floods, I inevitably think of her. I know I still feel guilty. I know I still have not come to terms with losing her.

& how I feel about my personal anniversaries seems related to how raw or healed my feelings are. If my feelings are painful & more than a little sad & I am distraught, I think there are still feelings I have not looked at, have not examined, & perhaps I still have some work to do. This does not mean I'm trying to feel nothing. I don't want to be overwhelmed & feel I cannot function when anniversaries come around. I'm happy to feel what I feel, & not fight with my feelings anymore.

I don't know actual dates for some, so these become days, weeks or months, even seasons when I notice my ongoing grief or sadness.

I used to always remember people's Birthdays, but I'm losing track some. Yesterday, I was waiting to phone my sis around sunset, thinking she'd be home, to wish her a Happy Birthday, but I became too tired, went to sleep, woke & didn't remember my plan, until too late. I'm not happy about that.

If we know Birthdays I think we could more easily focus on honouring the lives of those we loved & cared for.

I think commemorating the day of a death focuses the mind & heart on the loss far more.

This is a much wider topic, because there are many losses & sometimes there are, sometimes not, anniversaries for these as well.

Quirkywords, perhaps today, celebrate where you are now.



Thanks your detailed answer.

You must have been young at the time of th floods and it would have caused you a life time of remembrance.

I will reflect on what you have written.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
I believe it can be a mark of respect for loss or suffering to acknowledge events - not to relive them, but primarily to relate to how one has progressed from there. Of course, everything is different, yet what have we gained from what we no longer possess? The void left will be filled with something else - new people, fresh ideas, places, and experiences which may never have given rise otherwise.
Many people (including myself) can claim to look back on the most horrific experiences almost with a fondness - not for the tragic events, but in contemplating the experience and how it has shaped our future, enhanced understanding and tolerance, and shown us our own vulnerabilities which many never get the opportunity (not that I would wish such on anyone). In this sense, I can feel privileged to have gone through and still come out the other side - a reincarnation of sorts, never a setback but simply a change of trajectory.


Thanks for your thoughtful post.

It has given me a lot to reflect on.

These words below you wrote may in time have more meaning for me as I still feel the set back.

“I can feel privileged to have gone through and still come out the other side - a reincarnation of sorts, never a setback but simply a change of trajectory..”

Hi Quirkywords,

I was 13 years old I think for the first time, I really saw something which had effected other people more clearly than I ever had before. I wasn't adult enough to take in everything, but not a little kid anymore either.

This was a family event, unlike other things which were already happening to me & to others around me.

My parents always presented as people in control, people who said what was what. So now I see them clearly divided, my father being casual, while my (ex-)step-mother scrambled to get us organised. My father was no hel, sitting out the night drinking with his friends, who also had families, they could have been caring more for, too. After I saw my father determined to return & begin asap, then have a crisis himself.

& in other ways nothing changed.

I have thought momentous events might have a more profound upon the minds & attitudes of people than they seemed to have done. Like with COVID-19 people want to get back to 'normal', rather than think this could be a chance for reflection & change, maybe, indeed to create a new, & improved, 'normal'.

Hi Tranzcrybe. I like what you say - & if it is so for a few, than that is better than none. I'd hate to think we could learn nothing from our experiences. That would be the greatest tragedy.


Just lost my post mmMekitty

I think we all learn differently from our traumatic experiences some positive some negative.
I feel is for we expect everyone to reaction in same way that would put extra pressure on people already suffering.

I sure did see different reactions from my parents then. It was all too much for me to comprehent at the time, but now I do view these memories differently. I certainly have more compassion for my (ex-)step-mother now than I had then. I think I also view my father's responses with more understanding, too.

It sure has taken a long time to get here. 😸