annual yahrzeit holidays after death of loved one

Holidays After the Death of a Loved One

For many who have lost a loved one, getting through the grieving process is tremendous task. Coming to terms with loss isn’t something that happens right away for anyone. Even long after your loved one has passed, it can still be difficult dealing with holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries. These annual reminders may be painful at first, but with a little time and some proven techniques, these special days can be a positive time to remember your loved one.

Don’t Hide Your Grief

Many people will feel ashamed of “grieving for too long” or that these emotions are “not natural.” Both of these thoughts are simply not true. The grieving process is different for everyone. One of the best ways to handle grief is by not hiding it. Sharing that you are having a difficult time during a holiday can bring you closer to others who may feeling the same emotions.

Take Holidays Off

If you have recently suffered a personal loss, giving yourself permission to skip a holiday and not celebrate is perfectly fine. You can let your family and friends know that you aren’t going to be able to celebrate this year because you are still grieving. Take the day for yourself and don’t worry about what others think. Knowing yourself and what you need is not weakness, it is maturity.

Create a Ritual

On certain occasions, such as the anniversary of your loved one’s passing, it can help to undergo an annual ritual. Some common rituals include visiting their grave and leaving a stone, lighting a yahrzeit candle, volunteering for their favorite charity, or preparing a dinner of their favorite foods. This will help you remember them and memories of happy celebrations and can assist in getting through a difficult time.

Dealing with Grief Each Year

Remember that each milestone you make it through has the potential to be quite emotional. However, in time, these occasions will get easier and easier handle.

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Deanna Clingerman


Deanna Clingerman, MSSA, LSW is an aspiring funeral director/embalmer with a lifelong interest in funeral service. She holds degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Youngstown State University and Masters of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. After a rewarding career in Social Work, she attended Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science to realize her dream of becoming an embalmer and funeral director. She has worked in the Akron-Canton area for most of her funeral service career. She is the location manager and a funeral director for Cleveland Jewish Funerals.