I’m writing this on my identical twin’s 11th death anniversary. I can’t believe it. I truly can’t believe it’s been 11 years. At times it feels like it was just yesterday and other times, it feels like it was a lifetime ago.
Death anniversaries are weird. They’re uncomfortable. They’re sad. They’re draining. They’re dark. And they can sometimes make us feel more alone than any other day of the year. But, wait… This is interesting. Death anniversaries are almost always the day where we hear from the most people, yet we feel the most alone on this day. How is this possible?
Simple. Sort of. I mean nothing is simple, especially in grief, but hear me out… Most people acknowledge the death anniversary as being our worst day of the year. It’s the day everyone remembers. It’s the day that signifies trauma, loss, horror. It brings us back to the horrific pain of becoming a griever. It’s the day that must be acknowledged. It’s the worst day… to outsiders…
Don’t get me wrong. The death anniversary is a dark cloud that hangs over me. I hate the days leading up to it. I hate them. I hate the day. I typically don’t even talk to anyone and just focus on getting through the day while waiting for tomorrow to come. I hate it. Is it clear to you yet that I hate this day?
Ok good. Now, why so much hate for this day? Most people might think, well, duh, because it’s the death anniversary. Absolutely, but selfishly, it’s also the day that I lost myself. I lost so much of myself. It’s a day that signifies the end of you and the end of me, as I once was. It signifies trauma, challenge, defeat, terror, and so much more.
Now back to when I said, “it’s the worst day… to outsiders…”
It’s a terrible day for us too. The ones left behind. But, for me, I can’t say it’s “the worst” day out of the year. I can’t say that. And that might shock people. But when I really think about it. I miss the simple days the most. I miss when my twin was here on March 21st.
What’s March 21st to us? It’s March 21st. There’s nothing specific to it at all (for me). It was just another day to us, but that’s just it. I miss those days where there was “nothing” significant. Those were the best days. The smallest moments were always the biggest moments.
Let’s do some quick math. There are 365 days out of the year and 1 out of 365 is acknowledged by outsiders (speaking for the majority) in regards to our grief. That’s .27% of the year that we hear from you, which makes 99.73% of the year that we don’t. Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and say we hear from you 5 times this “typical” amount (in regards to our grief). That makes it 1.35% of the year that we hear from you, which makes 98.65% of the year we don’t.
Let me be clear. This is not a dig. This is not saying you are in the wrong or that you are a terrible person. It’s to try to get you to understand our point of view. That’s my goal with all of this. To help the grievers express themselves when we are always so silenced by our grief.
Grief sucks. Loss sucks. Trauma sucks. And in our reality, we are dealing with it 24/7.
As much as I want to hear from anyone and everyone on the death anniversary, I want to hear from you on other days too. I want to hear from you on February 17, June 4, October 14, and December 2. I want to hear from you when you think of my twin or of me.
So, back to the main point of this post: “Death Anniversary – A Griever’s Point of View”
I’m not suggesting to not acknowledge the death anniversary. I think it should absolutely, always, be acknowledged.
My point is to remember that the death anniversary is one day. It’s one day out of 365 where the death of our loved one is acknowledged. And while I want it to be acknowledged, of course, I also want people to know that our grief exists those 364 other days out of the year too.
I received a text today that I really loved. It said, “Thinking about you sending you extra love.” That was it. Simple and sweet and perfect. It showed me that this person thinks of me and my twin often and loves us and that they acknowledge that today isn’t the only day where I am in pain. They are also thinking of my twin, which is most important, and the life she lost.
In sum, I always think you should acknowledge a death anniversary. And quick side note, for grievers, just a heads up, as the years go on, less and less people will acknowledge this day. But back to acknowledgment, it’s important and must be done. It’s also important to remember that this isn’t the “only” day where grief exists. We are constantly reminded and hurting from the loss of our loved one. Our love for them is forever and so is our grief.
We know you are trying and doing your best.
So are we,