Ways to Honor a Sibling’s Death on Their Birthday

This Friday is the first time I will not be celebrating my sister’s birthday with her. She passed away in September and I still miss her so much.

If you subscribed to her Anything Goes newsletter you know all about her.

I still find myself picking up the phone to want to call her. I was struggling with what should I do for her birthday and found this interesting article.

My first instinct was to try and ignore it but in reading many grief experts say it can be an opportunity to help with grieving process.

Psychologist Camille Wortman wrote Getting Through the Holidays: Advice from the Bereaved and she says coming up with ways to honor a deceased loved one can bring a positive focus to a person’s grief.

Below are some suggestions I culled from various articles.

Be Well,

Visit the Grave Site…

Pay a visit to your deceased sibling’s burial site to honor them on their birthday. The Sutter Health article, “Nurturing Memories/Healing Grief,” suggests bringing along items with special meaning to place at the grave site.

Prepare a handwritten birthday card to lay at the grave. Fill the card with birthday messages that you would express to they were still in your presence. You could also bring a birthday balloon bouquet with you. Balloon releases are a ritual that can be continued for year after year.

Write a birthday note to stick in each one before the balloons are inflated. Release the balloons to the sky as a tribute to your brother or sister.

Memorial Birthday Dinner…

If your brother or sister were still alive, they would probably be enjoying their favorite foods for a birthday meal.

Ask other family members and close friends of your deceased sibling to join you on the birthday for a special meal.

Donation in Sibling’s Name…

To help others as you honor your sibling, use the funds you would have spent on a birthday present to make a monetary donation in their honor.

If they died from a terminal illness, such as cancer, you could make a donation to an organization that aids in research or finding a cure for the disease. Alternatively, Dr. Wortman recommends working toward a value or goal that was important to the deceased person.

Perhaps you can donate to an organization that your sibling often donated to.

Newspaper Birthday Memorial…

Honor your deceased sibling by having a memorial printed in a newspaper. Check or call your local newspaper to see the submission requirements, such as the number of words or lines allotted.

Plan a well-thought out birthday message to express to your deceased sibling and let the newspaper readers know that not even death can separate the close bond you had with your brother/sister.

Consider having a picture included of the both of you. Tell family members and friends to look for the memorial in the paper on their birthday or to view the online version.

In Closing…

I don’t think all of these are for me, but I had planned on visiting the grave site with my nephew (her son). I do like the donation idea and did this when she passed away. But the idea of continuing it on her birthday makes sense.

Maybe you’re like me and only one or two of these seem right. Or maybe none. Losing her so soon after losing our mother I find myself really struggling with missing her so much.

Here is the last picture of my sister, Jamie, my mother and myself taken together.

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