The word "anniversary" is usually applied to moments of celebration and joy. Therefore, it can be extremely painful to connect this word to a loved one's homicide. The arrival of the anniversary of a loved one's loss is an unwelcome reminder of their death and the endless ache of absence. Facing these anniversaries can involve a whirlwind of troubling thoughts and feelings including;
* Disbelief that a(nother) year has passed.
* Pressure to be "further along" in your grieving process.
* Flashbacks to the moments when you found out your loved one had been murdered.
* A sense of dread.
* Fear that you or others may be beginning to "forget".
* Feelings of being overwhelmed.
* Frustration with various aspects of the legal process; anger that the perpetrator has not yet been identified, that the legal process is taking too long, and/or feelings that justice has not been served.
* The reality and pain of the loss surfacing in new and old ways.
This blend of feelings and experiences can be so potent that it can be tempting to avoid planning for anniversaries at all. Yet, it can be helpful to consider in advance how you would like to meet these difficult moments. It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to plan for an anniversary. It is a very personal process and even members of the same family may choose to honor and remember their loved one in different ways. Here is a list of questions for you to consider;
* Would it be helpful to have other people around to support you? If so, whom?
* What kind of space would you like to be in; public or private?
* Do you need to the day off of work/school?
* Is there an activity that you can engage in that reminds you of and/or connects you to your loved one?
* What are some of the qualities/characteristics of your loved one that you would like to think about and or carry with you?
* Are there any objects (pictures, letters, and poems) that would be meaningful?
* What will you need afterward? (Time off work, phone call with good friend, favorite meal, silence).
However you prepare for marking the day, it may be helpful to remember that the build up, in anticipation of the anniversary is sometimes worse than the actual day. You may get a lot of advice or ideas of what would be helpful from people who care about you and want to help. Consider these ideas, but it is important that you do whatever feels right for you.