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What to Do on the One-Year Anniversary of a Death

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one_year_anniversary_deathThere’s no single way to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a loved one’s passing.

While the anniversary can represent a time of grieving, it can also serve as an opportunity to honor your loved one, celebrate their life, create new memories and uphold traditions.  

Below are several ways to cope and honor your loved one on the one-year anniversary of their passing.

Visit Your Loved One’s Final Resting Place

One of the most common activities on the one-year anniversary of a death is to visit your loved one’s resting place or scattering location. Oftentimes this as an opportunity to pray, talk to their loved one, reflect on memories or simply enjoy solitude. 

Many families also bring flowers and special gifts to place on gravestones or memorial sites. Contemplate your loved one’s favorite flowers or hobbies. If your loved one’s favorite flower was daisies, or if you and your loved one enjoyed playing a dice game together, you might decorate their memorial with those items.  

If your loved one was cremated and you scattered their cremated remains, use this time to visit their loved one’s scattering location. Because this location likely had special meaning to your loved one, visiting it can make you feel connected to them.

Scatter Your Loved One’s Cremated Remains in a Special Place

If you have your loved one’s cremated remains or saved some of them, you can scatter them in a meaningful place. If your loved one enjoyed visiting a local park or spent a lot of time at the family lake house, consider scattering their ashes at those locations. Visiting these locations of significance can bring back memories you had with your loved one and make you feel closer to them.

>>> Learn more about scattering cremated remains in Ohio.

Offer a Mass or Other Religious Gathering for Your Loved One

If your loved one was religious, you can offer a mass or similar religious ceremony in their honor, typically for a monetary donation. If you’re not sure if your loved one would appreciate this, consider their lifestyles and final days: Did they attend a religious institution on a regular basis, or volunteer at a local church? Did they have a religious leader or authority visit them? In these cases, your loved one would likely appreciate having a religious remembrance ceremony offered in their honor.

Look at Photos and Videos of Memories With Your Loved One

It’s also common to bring out old photos and videos of your loved one on the one-year anniversary of their death. Though this can be an emotional activity, it’ll bring back memories you’ve had with your loved one on birthdays, vacations, weddings and other life milestones.  

Photos and videos can help transport you back to those times and recall your loved one’s infectious laugh, caring demeanor or goofy sense of humor.

Participate in a Service Activity or Hobby Your Loved One Was Fond Of

You can keep the memory of your loved one alive by participating in their favorite service activities or hobbies.

For example, consider the following activities that your loved one may have partaken in:

  • Did they volunteer at a local food bank or animal shelter?
  • Did they make crafts and donate them?
  • Were they in a weekly bowling league?
  • Did they have a green thumb and love to garden? 

In group activities, introduce yourself as a friend or relative, and you’ll likely hear stories about your loved one that you’ve never heard before.

Keep Traditions Alive

Upholding a tradition is another way to honor your loved one on their one-year anniversary. If your loved one was known for cooking world-famous strudel, and you helped them make it during the holidays every year, find the recipe and try to make it on your own.  

As you partake in these traditions, you’ll be able to reminisce on the times you’ve enjoyed doing them with your loved one.

Hold a Gathering With Family and Friends

The one-year anniversary of a loved one’s death can be a difficult day, so incorporate your family members and close friends to help celebrate your loved one’s life. You can host a dinner at your loved one’s favorite restaurant or organize a group walk at their favorite park. Keep it simple and special—this is an opportunity to share memories of your loved one and form closer bonds with those who also loved them.

Healing Tips During the Grieving Process

It’s important to remember that grief has no timeline. Whether you've recently lost a loved one or you are deep within your grief journey, subscribe to our newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing, for tips, facts and words of encouragement as you heal.

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Meghan Burmeister
Meghan Burmeister
Skillfully and compassionately manages our Avon and Avon Lake locations. Meghan and her husband, Bill, enjoy vacations with their son Otto, while also supporting community, church and school events. Graciously serving Busch families since 1998.

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