Every year as March approaches, a little bird chirps in my thoughts: send D. an anniversary note.I go to my stationery box and select a simple card-- I favor small note cards, and set it out. In a few days, I'll sit down with it. I know it has been a long time-- over 10 years now, since her daughter was the victim of a drunk driver. I don't really keep count of the years, though I commented with surprise when I checked, and it was the 10-year anniversary. I remember writing:
My how the world has changed in the 10 years since A's death! What do you think she would say about it?"
Isn't an anniversary note a painful reminder?
It is easy to assume that you are "pouring salt in a wound," but you are not. The feedback I get from my own notes, and from discussing anniversary notes with others who receive them is appreciative:
"Thank you so much for remembering my A."
"That person [the note writer] is gold."
"My husband will always be in my heart, why wouldn't I want someone else to remember him, too?"
I already said 'I'm sorry', so what do I write a year later?
If you want to say you are sorry, again, go ahead. An anniversary note should not be a philosophical overview of what happened, a one-year wrap up, a dismissal, or a newsy season's greetings letter!
- Have you wondered how the person you are writing to is weathering life-- perhaps you know of specific goals or challenges. Ask the question.
- Have you been reminded of the deceased while doing a task, reading a book, cooking a meal? Share that moment.
- Have you felt sad or mad, inspired or delighted during the year, while thinking of the deceased? Declare your emotion.