It can be hard to make a parent feel special during their wedding anniversary if the other parent or their spouse, life partner, and the person they’re supposed to be celebrating with, has passed away. But, it is not impossible!
If you feel like making your only remaining parent feel cheerful during their wedding anniversary, rather than let such a beautiful day turn into a mourning event, then here’s how:
4 steps to celebrate parents’ anniversary when one is deceased:
1. Ask your parent what they feel okay with doing first:
Yes, one thing is the relationship there was between your parents and another is your relationship with them, so you may not know much about all the private and intimate details of their bond. It’s normal though to want to celebrate their love since you are the result of it.
However, as close as you feel to your remaining parent, you need to understand that pushing the celebration too far or exposing them to something they’re not ready for may make things more emotional and complicated.
Having said this, you should first consult with your parent if they are okay with doing something to celebrate their anniversary even though one is deceased. If the other parent has passed away recently, maybe you should refrain from doing something in the first year after their passing, as it can be quite painful to open fresh wounds.
In this case, one thing you should do before anything is being there for your parent and helping them find strength in moving forward without their partner. Only after your parent finds balance again and adapt to this new life chapter without their partner can you feel free to suggest ways to celebrate the love your parents had.
2. If you had family traditions, keep them alive:
One way you can celebrate your parent’s anniversary when one of them has passed away is by keeping the memory of their love alive. The most direct way to do this is by going back to the good moments you shared when you were all together.
Maybe, after starting a family, your parents started celebrating their anniversary differently to include you. If that’s the case, there’s no reason why you have to stop following these family traditions. So take your remaining parent on a trip or even just for a restaurant meal like the good old days and have a blast together.
Or, if you used to plan a special weekend, by doing a picnic and walking in your town, or if you had a special destination where you and your parents went every year, try to convince your living mom or dad to go for it with you alone. Tell them how much those moments meant to you and that you would like to keep your deceased parent alive in your memory as much as possible.
If, for some reason, your usual plans are not feasible anymore, try adapting them to your new circumstances. Remember that what counts is spending your parents’ anniversary together, full of optimism and love and making sure your other parent still feels loved.
3. Do something in memory of your deceased parent:
Maybe your parents didn’t have any specific traditions to celebrate their anniversary and did something different every year. While that’s perfectly fine, it’s understandable that you may feel confused about how to celebrate such a day with only one parent since they didn’t have any set traditions.
One thing that might help you decide what you should do is adopting a goal to add meaning to it. Simply going to a nice restaurant or visiting a museum might not be enough to honor the memory of your parents’ relationship. Instead, you could think of the things your deceased parent loved doing and have a go at them.
For example, if your parent loved sports you could go watch a game of their favorite sports team. Or, if your parent had a hobby like painting or photography, you could go with your other parent to a workshop. The nice outcome of doing something your deceased parent loved is that you will feel closer to them which is the entire point behind it all.
Inevitably you will bring back good old memories of when they were doing this particular thing, and probably even understand why they loved it so much. Even if your deceased parent liked doing things you and your present parent don’t enjoy as much, you should still give them a go to try and see things from the perspective of their perspective. Maybe you will even laugh about how you still do something for them even when they are not around.
4. Create a new tradition:
Sometimes, it can be painful for you and your living parent to keep doing the same things you did when your other parent was alive. In this case, don’t worry and just give it a break. Everyone reacts to pain and grief differently, and what’s important is that you support and find support in your family to overcome the sorrow you feel.
However, it can still feel remorseful not to do anything at all to celebrate your parents’ anniversary as it could imply that you are forgetting about them. So, to avoid this you could ask your parent to do something new. Something that you think you could easily do every year on this special date and something that will bring you happiness while still preserving the memory of your deceased parent.
Even if you feel like changing things up every year, the point is that you found your way through grief and can be happy again while honoring the memory of the deceased one.