Birthdays and Angelversaries

Author: Rachael Hill

Rachel and her boysBirthdays and anniversaries are days that can be both happy and difficult…especially when you have lost someone you love. For my two boys and I, our personal holidays are all in just three month’s time - May, June, and July. It all starts with my birthday on May 6th, then Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, my husband Jeff’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, my oldest son’s birthday, Father’s Day, my younger son’s birthday, and rounding out our holiday season is the anniversary of Jeff’s death on July 28th.  Each holiday can be difficult in its own right but packing them all together can sometimes get a little overwhelming. Jeff’s birthday and death anniversary especially. 

This is only our second year celebrating these special days and we are now halfway through our season. Just about a week ago I was asked if these days, and the “Jeff” days in particular, are hard for me. Well, yes of course they are! Now that being said, I also make a conscious choice to celebrate them! Birthdays have always been my favorite holidays because that is the one day that is just for you! That is your special day and I don’t ever want anything to take away from that for me, my boys, or for Jeff! On the first anniversary of Jeff’s death, or as we like to call it his angelversary, I knew beforehand how I wanted the day to go. I knew what traditions I wanted to start. I remember laying in bed that morning feeling so full of love from reading all of the ’Jeff memories’ that people had already sent me, when my two boys walked into my bedroom. I gave them a big smile and said, “happy angelversary!”  It only took a second for my 6 year old smile back with his trademark ‘Jeff’ grin and reply, “Yeah, today is the day Daddy became an angel in Heaven!”  

Tristan’s response wasn’t a sad “this is the day Daddy died”, but rather a very upbeat “it’s the day Daddy became an angel!” This is how I want to handle these holidays. This is how I want my kids to remember these special Jeff holidays. I make plans for the day and we do things Jeff enjoyed doing, we eat at his favorite restaurants, we tell funny stories about him, look at pictures, watch videos, and so on. I want them to remember and focus on what we had rather than what we lost. We can be sad every other day of the year so why not take these special days and make a conscious effort to be happy! We have three months jam packed with these crazy days and more than anything I want my kids to know that these are days not to be sad, but to celebrate! To celebrate Jeff, to celebrate the time we got to have with him, and to celebrate LIFE!