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When you lose a loved one, special occasions can suddenly be painful and strange. When an anniversary or birthday rolls around, you may feel the loss even more keenly than you do on other days. The truth is, you don’t have to forget about your loved ones who have died, and you don’t have to stop remembering those special days. Instead, you can use the opportunity to honor those memories by doing something special.

  • Do what you traditionally would. If you usually made your spouse a special cake, or you and your sister had dinner at a certain restaurant, or you and your dad always spent his birthday fishing, it’s ok to still do those things. Celebrating all those special memories you made together over the years can help you feel connected to your loved one.
  • Do something meaningful. Light a candle, plant a tree, visit the gravesite, write a letter to your loved one, or just simply sit and look at old photographs. Taking time to be quiet and remember can help you to heal.
  • Spend time with others who knew your loved one. Friends and family can comfort each other by sharing memories of the person who has died. You might even want to make a day of it and spend time doing something your loved one would have enjoyed.
  • Give back in honor of the person you’ve lost. Did your loved one have a favorite charity or volunteer organization? Donate money or your time to further a cause meaningful to the person you’re honoring.
  • Give of yourself to who might need you. Did you lose your father? It might honor his memory if you spent time with a senior who is lonely. You might also consider spending time mentoring a young person without a father. Did your sister love to bake? Make her famous cookies and distribute them to your neighbors. Was your spouse an animal lover? Spend a day walking dogs or playing with cats at a local rescue. Finding some way to share your time and energy with others can make difficult days easier to face.

The way you choose to honor your loved one’s birthday is personal, and you can spend the day doing whatever feels appropriate to you, even if that means sitting quietly and remembering. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is committed to providing a sacred place, where you and your family can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. For more information, contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.


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