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What to Do on the First Anniversary of a Loved One’s Death


The first year following a Loved One’s death can be incredibly difficult.


During this time, your grief will ebb and flow as you learn to navigate the world without them. You’ll have to face new challenges and learn how to handle new emotions. While your grief will differ each day, one of the times it will be the most prevalent will be on the first anniversary of your Loved One’s death.


Thankfully, the day can be made a little easier by taking part in activities that honor the life of your Loved One.


11 Ideas for Marking a One Year Death Anniversary


Visit Their Grave

Spending some time at your Loved One’s resting place can help you to feel closer to them on their death anniversary. Bring flowers to brighten up the site, recite a favorite prayer, or simply sit quietly with their memory for a while.


Do Something They Always Wanted to Do

From hiking the Grand Canyon to reading a classic novel to running a marathon, everyone has goals they hope to accomplish in their lifetime. If you were lucky enough to know your Loved One’s bucket list, choose an item to check off for them. When you do, you’ll feel their spirit live on through you.


Find a Way to Hold Them Close

Finding a way to hold your Loved One again can bring immense comfort, especially after they’ve been gone for a year. Consider personalizing Jewelry engraved with their fingerprint so that you can always have them nearby. As you feel the lines and grooves of their fingerprint pattern, you’ll know that they’re still with you.


Get Together with Family & Friends

You don’t have to be alone with your grief. Reach out to other family members and friends who miss your Loved One and make a plan to get together on the death anniversary. This way, you can all be there for one another as you face this difficult day.


Plant a Tree in Their Memory

A popular way to mark the anniversary of your Loved One’s passing is to plant a tree in special place. Watch it grow as the years pass and remember the constant presence of your Loved One in your life.

Travel to a Place They Loved

Travelling can be the perfect way to help you feel connected to your Loved One again. Your trip can be as simple as spending an afternoon in a park they used to walk in or as grand as visiting a country overseas where they had a lifechanging trip of their own growing up. Being in the places that meant so much to your Loved One will help you get to know them in an entirely new way.


Volunteer for Their Favorite Charity

Everyone has a charity that speaks to their heart. If you knew of a cause your Loved One supported, consider donating your time to them on your Loved One’s death anniversary. The volunteer work will help channel your grief into a productive activity that serves others while continuing your Loved One’s legacy.


Light a Candle in Their Memory

A candle’s flame is often thought to represent a late Loved One’s spirit. To feel close to them on such a significant day, light a candle in their memory. Many people will choose to do this at a church and spend a few minutes in quiet prayer as they watch it flicker. Others will light a candle at home and let it burn all day long as a reminder of their Loved One continuing to be with them.


Reflect on the Last Year

The first year after a Loved One dies is an important one. Spend a little time reflecting on what you’ve gone through, what you’ve learned, and how you hope to grow in the next twelve months. This can be done through meditation, journaling, or even writing a letter to your late Loved One.


Memorialize Them

Memorials can be a significant part of the healing process after you lose a Loved One. Consider personalizing a memorial on your Loved One’s death anniversary that will help you remember and honor them that day and for all of the days after. Keepsakes like custom Bookmarks, Teddy Bears, and Ornaments are all beautiful, meaningful options.

Give Yourself Grace

Your Loved One would want you to find some happiness on this day, instead of having to feel only the grief of them being gone. Try to give yourself that same grace. Listen to your favorite upbeat song, watch a movie that brings you comfort, or go to a friend’s birthday party. Even these small things can help brighten up your day in a big way.


The One Year Death Anniversary is the Hardest

Your Loved One’s first death anniversary is the hardest for a reason.


After a year of grieving, you don’t know what to expect and how grief will affect you on the actual anniversary. By planning ahead of time and participating in activities that honor their life, you’ll help ease any anxiety you feel about the day.


We hope that you can continue to feel close to your late Loved One this year, and for every year after. If you need help navigating this time, please reach out to a trusted grief counselor.


More Resources Like This

What is Grief? + What to Expect When You Lose a Loved One

Quotes About Grief that Can Help You Feel Better after a Loved One Dies

10 Ideas for How to Feel Better After Losing a Loved One