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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

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi quirky.

I have a knack for remembering things like dates, visualising the time of year it happened, where it happened, kind of like seeing it in my head as a calendar, and a map of sorts, so there are a lot of these memories that are personal to me, and some that are just like remembering what time of year wimbledon is, or something really insignificant.

my father died 3 weeks before my 9th birthday, so that month is a tough time for me

every year around the same time (august to september) i experience quite a bit of depression. Its the time of year i have had my past episodes and ideations.

Christmas is a tough time too. I remember as a kid having christmas lunch at my grandparents with all the family there. I really loved those days. My GP’s are all gone now, And the family rarely meets. The house Had been demolished, so all i have are the memories.

I have a home video of one of the last Christmas mornings we had with dad. Every year at Christmas i disappear for an hour and watch it. My wife knows whats going on. Sometimes ive shared the video with my kids, but i get a bit too sad to most of the time.

as far as handling the anniversaries, i think the only thing to say is that i handle them the best i can. Some will make me quiet and sad, and avoiding people for a while, other will be a celebration of memories. I cant change them, but I dont substitue them with drugs or alcohol, anger or hatred.


Remembering anniversaries is counter productive and this is why-

Let's say a bad event, say a marriage separation occurred at 7:52pm on 4th January 2020. As you boarded you car and drove from your home you took a note of the time and date.

Early next month when you wake on 4th January you know it's been one year separated, that qualifies you for applying for a divorce.

That night when 7:52pm arrives you sink into sadness. But- it isn't actually 12 exact months! Because there is approximately 365.25 days in one year that's why every 4 years we have a leap year, 1 extra day the 29th February.

Besides, the fact is, it is only that the earth is in the same place in it's orbit as the day you separated. Dates are a man made thing. Any day could have been the beginning of a year.

I avoid any non logic reason to grieve. I've done so much crying in my early years I don't see reason to take anniversaries seriously.

Oddly enough my sister is the opposite and rings me often on anniversaries. "Our father passed away 28 years ago today" she said last April. I comfort her with it and don't give it a moment longer in my thoughts for the rest of the day. On his birthday, if I remember, I'll calculate how old he'd have been if he was alive, likely be amazed then move on.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dear Quirky...

Im sorry that an uncomfortable and possibly a triggering anniversary is approaching your life..

I have many sad anniversaries and I try very hard to forget those days...I think remembering them is to give ourselves a giant step backwards in our mh...especially if they are a cause for triggering those negative thoughts....and put ourselves back into the past trauma....we are trying to forget..

I think Quirky, because you know it will be covered by the media...maybe keep the tvs off..the radio turned off..no newspapers...no social media..until you’re certain that the media coverage is long gone...so as to not upset or trigger you...

Find something on Netflix or Tubi to watch that is soothing for your soul...Go out for the day with family or/or friends and talk about happy things over a cup of bevaerage or lunch...

Quirky...Be very gentle and caring to you...and try hard to not watch or listen to the media coverage of this event...

My kindest and most caring thoughts Quirky..


Elizabeth CP
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
I wish i could give you a good answer. I found it really hard on the 10th anniversary of Black Saturday last year. I tried to accept that everyone has different ways of dealing with loss so I couls accept that it was important for some people to commemorate the anniversary but that doesn't mean I need to do the same. Purposely avoiding all media around the date won't work as it is too restrictive. It also means you are on high alert to avoid triggers which is counterproductive. If something is too difficult to listen to switch it off but otherwise try to cope with the small triggers. Perhaps plan some positive experiences around this timewhich don't require much effort but help keep your mind focused. Ask friends or family you trust to help you through this time. It is important to ensure that noone is trying to force or pressure you. Gentle encouragement doing what you feel works for you is important. I have found total avoidance has been very bad for me in the past

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi quirkywords

I'm sorry to hear that you're in a tough headspace and you have some challenges coming up. Upcoming dates of significance can certainly loom and we feel like they threaten the 'progress' we have made in our mental health journey. We feel like have to 'brace' and 'toughen up' ahead of these dates so they don't 'distract' or even break us down. Hopefully, that doesn't happen, as you can have some strategies in place- extra self-care and talking here are good places to start. But what happens if the date/anniversary rolls around and it's in the media, and it gets to you? Then, I'd say use it as a time for self-compassion, leaning on your support network and taking it as a learning opportunity. What do you need to do next time differently? Brainstorm and see what happens. Let us know how are travelling.


Thanks everyone for replying.

Not batman Thanks for sharing about your dad, so sad and you were so young. We all cope in different ways.

Tony, I think for a private annversary it is easy to adopt your approach. For an anniversary that affected a lot of Australia it is hard to avoid as all tv and social media will be remembering it.

Grandy Thanks for your kind post. I am a creature of habit dont watch much tv but I could catch up on dvds and avoid FB, that was my plan. People will ring me and ask how I am? Unlike many anniversaries everyone knows mine!! Everyone wants to tell me how they feel how they coped, how they were upset their rose garden but nothing else burnt!!

Elizabeth, thanks for your practical help. As I said to Grandy people will ring and ask and tlel me about their memories.

Tay, people are already putting up photos, I saw it firt hand I was there, we have photos.

There seems to be a competition for people to say how bad their experience was and show the worst scariest photo of the fires.

Please don't make this about me, if you find a way to cope with a sad anniversary share with me.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hey quirky

The experience is different for everyone, as can be seen already here on your thread. For me, I was aware the first anniversary of the loss of my bub was approaching in October, and that I would (probably) need to take care of my mh on the day. I took time off from uni and did some nice things that I enjoyed. I thought it went well, but the next day my mh crashed and I lost my sh*t. I asked a friend for help managing, and she said "perhaps you gotta feel what you gotta feel". And I cried and cried, got mad and smashed stuff, and cried some more. I think she was right. I tried so hard the previous day, to be ok, that I didn't just allow myself the space to just feel. So, I don't know if that helps, but I think do what you feel is right for you, and ask for help if you need it.

Best, Katy

Community Member
I have not had any personal occasions to remember yet, as I only lost my father several weeks ago, but they are on the horizon, and they are travelling my way with haste.

This Christmas will be the first in my life that I have not been with dad in person, I cannot, and do not, feel anything for this season anymore, I have given to others, and they have appreciated it, but I have not accepted anything from them, I don't know what I will do on Christmas day, and New Years eve, we would celebrate in the warm summer breeze, we would...

The moment the seconds tick over, and 2020 fades away, with neighbours celebrating and fireworks flashing around me, will feel like a supernova of stabs to my soul.

My birthday is in a few months, dad's is the following week, another closeness we share...shared.

Funny, I was just thinking, that dad was the same age I am now, when he first moved into where we once called home, the place I now call alone.

Then, of course, comes father's day, dad left the night after father's day, a day I was too busy to...
Father's day will, from now on, forever be, never more.