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With Mothering Sunday on the horizon

We are all used to being emailed by businesses we’ve bought something from online. In early spring last year, an email arrived in the in-box of one of our team from the online florist Bloom and Wild. She’d ordered a few bunches over the year but this communication was a little different from usual, as it simply explained that Mother’s Day was coming up and the company would be sending out a few messages relating to that day. Bloom and Wild offered the chance to opt out of just these particular emails, which was a really sensitive approach.


If your Mum has died or you’ve experienced the death of a child, the run-up to Mothering Sunday can be very hard; we are being bombarded with promotions in nearly every store and adverts online and on the television, with ideas for gifts. The same is true when it comes to other significant dates, such as Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day.


During the year after a loved one has died, there will be a cycle of anniversaries to face – that person’s birthday, the first Christmas, perhaps a wedding anniversary. While there is every chance that your friends and family may remember that special person’s birthday and send a message or a card, it is likely that, 12 months down the road, they might not recall the exact day your loved one passed away. You, of course, will have it etched on your mind…


If you have made a note in your diary of the day somebody died, then whoever they were close to would most likely appreciate a note, a phone call or even, nowadays, a simple WhatsApp message, saying you are thinking about them.


These days, support can also come via social media, with people sometimes posting something online to say it’s an anniversary.


“I had some lovely comments and memories about Mum when I shared on Facebook that it was the anniversary of the day she passed away,” somebody told us. “The things people said were so nice and, in some ways, I think folk were more honest on there and felt more able to say what they felt than if they’d bumped into me in person.”


How you decide to approach these ‘dates’ is a personal choice and, often, you can never be quite sure how you are going to feel until the day itself. You might opt to have a meal with your family, visit their grave or a favourite place. You might though decide to take a ‘quieter’ approach, perhaps looking at some old photos, lighting a candle, listening to some music or enjoying a slice of their favourite cake.


We spoke to one of our families recently and although it’s only a few months since her father passed away, she has already made plans to go out for the day with her immediate family on the anniversary. They’ve booked tickets for a show and it’s in their diaries; knowing there’s something concrete arranged can make the day a little easier to navigate. The same could be said of birthdays too.  


For some of our families, the first anniversary of a loved one’s death could be the day when they decide to scatter their ashes or perhaps visit their grave to leave some flowers. 


In our culture, there isn’t really a set procedure for the anniversary of a death. In other parts of the world, there are often rituals in place. In Japan, these days are called either ‘meinichi’, ‘kijitsu’ or ‘kishin’. On that day, ceremonies usually involve visiting the grave of a loved one, praying and making offerings at altars or leaving items near the grave.


Here at Tester & Jones we’ve found that our Bereavement Group (the BGs) is wonderful at looking after members who are struggling with an anniversary.


As one member said: “People are such a tremendous support to each other and it’s lovely to chat. Sometimes people are down but we’re there for each other.”


With Mothering Sunday coming up, we hope that it’s a chance to think about special memories. However, if you’re struggling, do feel that you can get in touch with us for some advice or where to go for some help.


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