And Many More: Celebrating a Deceased Loved One’s Birthday

My family goes a bit overboard with the Happy Birthday song.  For starters, there are a lot of us so that means anywhere from 4 to about 20 voices depending on who’s present.  Also, everyone can sing to some degree so no one is shy about loudly belting out the lyrics or taking license with the harmonies. At the end of the song, without fail, everyone sings… “and many more”…which is a family tradition that has been around for as long as I can remember (I think some other people might sing it this way but I’ve never met them)

Growing up, I thought this was how everyone sang the song until I started going to friend’s birthday parties. Everyone would hit their big finish with “happy birthday to yoooou” and out of habit I’d find myself trailing off into a solo “…and many moooore…..errrr nevermind”

As an adult, I’ve come to find the verse reassuring and I always sing “and many more” under my breath in hopes that my quiet wish might help to safeguard the birthday boy or girl’s longevity.  I know this is superstitious because life has taught me that “many more” is something we can never be sure of.  Each and every birthday we have with our loved ones is a gift; I realized this when my mother received the diagnosis that changed her “many mores” to “one more.”

“No more” is the saddest thought of all, and I suspect if you’re reading this you understand what I mean. Logically death means our loved ones never grow a year older, although logic does little to clear up our confusion when their birthday continues to happen year after year. Someone we love is gone, but we find that even in death their birthday still belongs to them; there’s no such thing as “no more,” as long as we’re here on earth to remember them.

There is a misconception among some that holding on to our loved ones keeps us stuck, but the truth is, continuing our relationships with people after they’ve died and learning to love them despite their physical absence is good.  Your loved one’s birthday, for however many years they spent on earth, was set aside as a day for you to honor and celebrate them, and even though they aren’t here now, the day can still belong to them. True you may feel pain because on this day their absence feels magnified, but don’t let this be the reason why their birthdays are met with dread instead of celebration.

We encourage you to find your own ways, big or small, to honor and remember your loved one on their birthday. To get you started, we’ve changed up some of the standard birthday elements to give you some ideas for celebrating the day.

FB

Friends and Family

Your loved one’s impending birthday may be looming heavy for their friends and family, but without a celebration to gather for it seems like the only alternative is to suffer alone.  The idea of celebrating a deceased loved ones birthday might seem odd to some, which is one reason why those who want to recognize the day might be hesitant to speak up. But if you feel like spending the day with people, do something about it!

Big, small, intimate, elaborate, soirée or small gathering – it doesn’t matter because there are no rules. Think about you, your loved one, and others who may want to recognize the day and go from there. Give people an idea of the plan, let them know you’d love for them to be there, and then let them decide what they’d like to do.

If you want to find a way to honor your loved one but don’t feel up to doing anything big, you could choose an activity to do alone or with one or a few other people. Maybe you’d like to sit alone at their grave or a favorite place for a little while or maybe you’d like to invite a few people along to share memories.

Food

One option is to gather at your loved one’s favorite restaurant. If you think there might be emotional moments or if you want privacy so guests can talk and share memories, you might want to go the extra mile and chip in to rent a special room. At the very least, ask for as quiet a table as possible.

Getting together at someone’s home allows for a more intimate party or gathering. Perhaps someone(s) might volunteer to make a menu reflective of your loved one’s tastes. If you don’t want the menu to fall on one person’s shoulders, you could also plan a potluck where everyone brings one of your loved one’s favorite dishes. If you’re going potluck and the weather permits, you could meet at one of your loved one’s favorite public places like a park or a beach.

Cake

Some people choose to simply gather for cake on their deceased loved one’s birthday for their favorite kind of cake. Bonus – the baking of the cake can even be cathartic, check out Litsa’s post on baking her father’s favorite coconut cake if you’re not sure what I mean.

Presents

Obviously, you can’t give your loved one a present, but you can still buy them. If you want some good to come out of your loved one’s birthday choose a charity they would have supported that takes donations other than money. Ask the organization what types of items they need and then tell the party guests who’d like to bring birthday gifts to bring one of the items for donation.

Instead of presents, you could also tell guests to bring an object that reminds them of your loved one. During the gathering, you can take a few moments for each person to tell the story of their item (yes, like show and tell!)

Balloons

People often choose to release balloons on a loved one’s birthday, sometimes with messages written inside. Balloons aren’t exactly the best for the environment so here’s a ton of balloon release alternatives from a website that really would prefer you not release balloons.

Celebration

Perhaps words like celebration, fun, and happiness are absent from your vocabulary these days but don’t rule out the possibility of having moments of laughter in celebrating and remembering your loved one. Set aside time for reflection and sad emotions, but also leave a little space for joy.

Have you ever celebrated a deceased loved one’s birthday?  Tell us how in the comments below.  

Here’s another good idea, subscribe to receive posts straight to your email inbox. 

September 20, 2017

113 responses on "And Many More: Celebrating a Deceased Loved One's Birthday"

  1. We lost our dearly loved mammy,granny ,great granny and great great granny 8 year ago on the 26th October 2012…..She was 92…..this year my older sisters ,my daughters and our nieces will celebrate her100th birthday on the 29th of August…….my grandson was born the night before my mammy’s funeral…..he thinks he knows her and misses her because we all talk about her so often…….we will eat drink and talk all day and night about our mammy and celebrate the life that she had ……the very fact we all knew and loved her is a gift in its self…………we will have photos balloons in place as well….its a life worth celebrating for us.

  2. Hi all,
    I find this page very helpful. My husband passed away last Nov. 03, 2018 at the age of 41 (due to extraskeletal sarcoma) a day before my birthday Nov. 04. I was left totally blank and cannot imagine how to continue living in a foreign land. With regards to this topic, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and some significant dates are somehow a very painful event. My husband’s birthday was June 16, he will be 42 now (in heaven) it marks our 2nd year wedding anniversary too, which is also a lot to contain (it breaks my heart). We only had short moments together as everything was so fast, getting to know each other, having the bad news of cancer relapse, treatments, wedding and treatments on and on until he stopped breathing. I only had 3 birthday years with him and I try to make it as special and memorable as it can be regardless if we are in the hospital, it was indeed. This year marks his 1st birthday in heaven, I find it a bit odd to do something on his day as I don’t have any idea how to celebrate it, but somehow still manage to survive the day, I asked family and friends to release a balloon (though not so an environmentally friendly thing). I was happy that I did it, it was a mixture of emotions. I am always been reminded of what he told me from the very beginning of our relationship up to now-you must learn the hard way!-yes indeed, the hard way, but I have faith, life will be rough at times and no one knows and nobody told us that it is easy!
    ritchel 🙂

  3. I am coming up to my mum’s birthday next month in September and am already feeling mix of grief and pangs of dread.
    I think of this time last year and how we celebrated it, even though she was ill. Our birthdays were special, her’s on the 15th and mine on the 26th. So I will have double reasons next month to be acutely aware of her absence, and the terrible sadness it brings me.
    So I am on here to search for the right thing to do to honour her- visit her grave and spend a quiet few moments, go for a walk, buy her favourite cake and light candles, go out for dinner with small family gathering to celebrate it, raise a glass to her-there are so many options.
    But I am very sad you see because we were so very close. I was the baby you see, and she announced that to everyone we’d meet even though I am in my 30s (I secretly loved it).
    The fact is I loved her and she loved me, she showed me nothing only love all my life. I don’t think there is any greater reassurance than that in life.
    Now that she’s gone, I miss the four phone calls I made every day to check in on her, I miss visiting at weekends, opening a bottle of wine, watching a movie and a good old chat. I miss everything, and everything is made harder by her absence.
    I only hope she is in a better place, free from the worries and pain of the world, with her family and friends, gone before her.
    It will be a sad day I know, with little moments of joy sprinkled in. Hopefully she will be with us in spirit whatever we choose to do. A special mammy-stays with you forever, and I hope she’s always by my side ❤️ xx

  4. My husband passed last year (2018) in January. On his first birthday after that (end of July), some close friends invited me over for dinner. That helped. This year on his birthday, I took 2 of his shirts & made a pillow for an uncle of his that he was very close to who will be visiting me soon. That felt like a good way to both honor my husband and feel closer to him. I have also done fund raising the past 2 years in his name for an animal welfare cause that we both supported. Birthdays, anniversaries, death anniversaries, holidays… there are so many days that are difficult. I’m going to read through the ideas here to see which ones might be helpful.

  5. my brother’s birthday is on July 20th and I still cant believe he is gone. He was killed in a car crash at the age of 19. I shouldn’t be older than him right now. He was my big brother. We make a cake every year for his bday.

  6. My Grandfather died on December 31, 2018. His death has been so hard on my family but me especially, because when I knew him he was always sick. His birthday is this month and I dread the upcoming day. I miss him so much and I can’t even go into the city that he lived in without crying. He always told me that he would dance with me on my wedding day. I can’t imagine Christmas with him gone.

  7. Good comments. I like the acts of kindness idea but it doesnt have to be random like taking flowers and donuts to nursing homes. a cake at the graveyard but not sure who can come to that…. In honor of my sweet son bd on June 6th.

  8. My husband of 23 years died in an accident 3-1/2 years ago at age 52. Greg’s birthday is June 6, so this is a timely topic for me. I have established a memorial fund in his name, which focuses on the animal rights and vegan causes he and I supported together during his life. Every year a couple weeks before his birthday I do a special fundraising push via email and social media — this, his October death anniversary, and end of year are generally my three major solicitations and the main times when people in our networks do give. The first birthday after his death was a Monday, so in that solicitation I also asked people to do a Meatless Monday in Greg’s honor and to share veg recipes on FB. The second year I hosted a “happy hour” in remembrance of Greg at a vegan restaurant in NYC, where he had worked for many years — and that event was overall successful, though as always with these things there were some people who had been close in life who were disappointing no-shows. The third year I didn’t do any special celebration on the precise day, and this year I don’t have any such event planned either. However, PETA presents an annual animal rescue award named for Greg around the time of his birthday each year, and thus far it has always been part of a fun event with food and drinks.

  9. Today is mom and dad’s anniversary. They never spent an anniversary apart, as mom passed on 6-12-16, and dad on 1-23-17. I hope they are polka dancing in heaven today.

  10. I miss and love you both,Mom and dad. You left me far too soon. I’m 50 now. I’ve been Missing you for 30 years. Happy birthday dad. May 24th. And happy belated birthday mom. Yours was April 23rd. Till we meet again xoxoxo

  11. Happy birthday dad. I lost you when I was 20 years old. Then I lost my mom, 10 years later. Her birthday was on April 23rd. So happy birthday to you both. I miss you every day.

  12. My sister, S’s birthday is tomorrow. She was 57 when she died June 13, 2018. She was hit by a distracted driver. My brother in law has asked that we go to her grave for a “snack” (we used this word 🙂 and then will go to her favorite sushi restaurant for dinner. My sister had 2 kids. My niece/her daughter has a 3 year old and was pregnant with her 2nd child when “S” died. I’ve decided that I will buy a birthday gift from my sister/GramGram for each of her grandchildren/my great niece & nephew. Nothing extravagant but a birthday gift on her day to her grandkids. I’ll also bring flowers and a bottle of pink champagne to her grave to celebrate the wonderful person she was…we will never forget her. I miss her so very much…

  13. Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday, she was 57. This will be the first birthday without her. She died June 13, 2018 when she was hit by a distracted driver. My brother in law has asked that we go visit her grave- have a “snack” (we used that word) and then are going to her favorite sushi restaurant for dinner. I was unsure how I wanted to approach this first birthday without her. She had two children. Her daughter/My niece has a 3 year old, and was 6 months pregnant with her 2nd child when my sister died. I’ve decided to buy a birthday gift from my sister for my great niece and great nephew in honor of their “GramGram”/my sister’s birthday. I’ll also bring flowers and a bottle of pink champagne to her grave so we can toast her. I miss her so much! I’m glad I found this website -it has helped and given me a new perspective on how to approach this special day.

  14. My son (J) died from suicide on Aug. 30, 2018, he was 23. His birthday is tomorrow, May 14, and he would have been 24. Holidays have been awful, Mother’s Day was hard even though I do have another son, but he and I are not as close as J and I were. My son’s birthday is causing me terrible anxiety, I miss him more than I can put into words, and I honestly don’t know how to handle it. Although he was cremated and I have his ashes home with, me his name is on a Christmas Angel Box monument and I spread some of his ashes there. I am planning on going there with a card and maybe a balloon or something, and even thinking of going to a movie alone that he would have liked-I’ve never done this before, but feel like it would be good for me and that Ivan handle it. I just know I need to stay busy. I miss him more and more everyday…people say it gets easier, it really doesn’t, there is just a longer period of time that goes by between periods of deep grief, depression and horrible guilt. So J if you can hear me,
    “I LOVE YOU BABY AND HOPE YOU AND T AND CAPTIAN AND JAKESTER ARE HAVING A GREAT DAY. THINKING OF YOU NONSTOP…LOVE AND MISS YOU MORE EVERYDAY! YOU WERE MY ANGEL.”

    • My 23 year old son died in a similar way just four days after your son. His name also starts with a J, and I have one other son. I was on here looking for ways to celebrate his birthday in June.

    • Im so sorry 💔 my husband of 10 years unfortunately took his own life, and I feel it doesn’t get any easier at all! He left behind a 16 year old a 4 year old a step daughter and we shared a grandaughter together. My husband and I have the same birthday as your son may 14th that’s why I just knew he was my soul mate. I feel your pain and I pray 🙏 for our strength. Please take care

    • Your note brought tears to my eyes–as I also lost my son in August, 2018. He had several health problems and just could not overcome all of them. Almost all you words resonated in my mind and heart! Especially that it doesn’t get easier–it gets harder as it is longer since I saw him, or heard his voice. My heart breaks daily– like it just happened. Your note was a beautiful expression of your love for him–Thank you for sharing! His birthday is July 25th and I was looking for a way to honor it without falling apart! I like the idea of trees–he loved outdoors–and also loved animals.
      A while back, due to the deaths of my Mother, Father, and two brothers I was trying to find a way to honor their memory. There is a website called FindAGrave where you can enter their obituary and then come back each year for every holiday and anniversary and leave a note and a graphic of some kind. Even create your own “virtual cemetery” of all family members to reference them in one place. Maybe you or someone will like to check on this.
      Thank you for sharing!

  15. The month of May..
    Is one of the hardest month’s in my life,
    7 years ago I lost my mother on the 19th of May, a month before my own birthday.
    Mum’s birthday is the 6th of May followed by Mother’s day.
    October 23rd 2017 I lost my soulmate of 30 years he passed away in front of me as I was performing CPR on him, his birthday is the 3rd of May, he was 54, as you probably can see why the month of May is so hard.
    I read that you learn to deal with it, at this point of time each day that goes by it’s getting harder.
    There are night’s that I ask to let me not wake in the morning so I can be by his side, my last memories of my soulmate is of him laying on the floor in our bedroom waiting for 2 an half hours for the coroner to come and take him from me. Every time I close my eyes , my nightmare starts all over again. I didn’t have a chance to tell him, I love you, see you in the morning, or give him his good night kiss.
    One day soon God will put out his hand for me and I will grab it and not let go until my hand is in the hand or my soulmate

    • Today is my bestfriend’s 22nd birthday, the first I am celebrating without her. I think it is such a crazy coincidence I happened to stumble upon your comment on a date that is so significant to the both of us. Sending my thoughts and love to you.

  16. I’VEJUST CELEBRATED MY DAUGHTER’S FATHER 1ST HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY ON FRIDAY MARCH. 22ND, 2019. E WOULD HAVE BEEN A SIMPLE 35 YEARS OLD. HE WAS TAKEN FROM US IN GUN VIOLENCE. TO MYSURPRISE IT WAS RATHER A VERY EXCITING EVENT FOR MYSELF AND FAMILY MEMEBERS. WE THREW A BIG SHABANG FOR HIM. HIS NAME IS/WAS DEDRIC UPSHUR. ITS BEEN QUITE CRAZY WITHOUT HIM AROUND. I’VE KNOWN HIM SINCE 2010. AND 2014 IS WHEN WE MADE THE OFFICIAL WE ARE TOGETHER MOVEMENT. I JUST REALLY MISS HIM VERY MUCH, AND ALTHOUGH MY DAUGHTER IS A SIMPLE YEAR OLD, SHE POINTS AT THE DIFFERENT ITEMS WITH HIS PICTURE ON IT AND SOMETIMES EVEN PLANTS KISSES ON HIS T SHIRT. DEATH LIKE THIS HAPPENS EVERYWHERE, I JUST NEVER THOUGHT ID BE IN THE SHOES THAT I CURRENTLY AM IN. SO FOR THE PARTY WE ALL DRESSED IN DIFFERENT CLOTHING THAT REPRESENTED HIM. PLAYED ALL HIS FAVORITE MUSIC AND HAD ALL THE MISC ITEMS THAT HE’D HAD IF HE WERE HERE. I DONT KNOW WHOM ALL BELIEVE IN SPIRITS BUT I DO AND I HOPE TO GET A CLEARER VISUAL OF HIM WHEN HE VISITS ME AGAIN.

  17. My maternal grandfather died unexpectedly of cancer at the age of 79. Obviously death is a difficult time for anyone, but to lose someone in the year right before a milestone birthday should have been celebrated makes it feel even worse.

    The odds of someone dying with their age ending in ‘9’ is literally 10%, meaning that overall statistically is it not that likely at all.

    If he had been, say, 71 when he died, that would have been easier because it is not right before a milestone birthday and there is literally nine years between 71 and the next 0-ended birthday.

  18. We celebrated my nieces father’s birthday last night. He died tragically in a motorcycle accident 9 months ago, on his daughters birthday, while on the way to meet us at my moms to sing her happy birthday. Out of a movie right? She turned 7. They were best buddies. We are all still having a hard time with it. My sister and him were no longer together and my sister is married now but they grew to have a wonderful co-parenting relationship. We met at his parents home. He lived with them. You can imagine their emptiness. Since his death his parents, sister, and brother have become important members of our family. We invite them to everything and vice versa. Our grieving has brought us closer. It had made our family even stronger and tighter than we thought was possible. How we all banded together to cope and be there for my niece has been something I can describe as magical and inspiring. His friends and family all gathered last night to celebrate his life, eat some food, sing him happy birthday and eat some cake. He would’ve been 33. My sister gifted their daughter a blanket made of some of his favorite tee-shirts and my cousin and his best friend gifted her a necklace with a photo of her Papí and her together. It was an emotional day for all of us. Writing about it helps so whoever reads this, thank you!

    -gigi

  19. In 1990, with my gone for 10 years, my father invited my brother and my family to Northern California to celebrate his 75th Birthday. We all went, but unknown to him I had the restaurant make him a Birthday Cake with 1/4 or the cake missing, but the cut edges iced and beautiful. Daddy was surprised and I told him, if he want a whole cake that we would need to get together for his 100th Birthday and that I would bake him his favorite yellow cake, with white butter cream frosting sprinkled all over with coconut. Unfortunately Daddy died 2 years later. But, in October 2015 I did bake that cake, added candles and made sure all the family plus grandsons who had not been born on his 75th Birthday were in attendance to celebrate the memory of this wonderful father and grandfather. How he (and my mother) would have loved being involved in the lives of their great grandchildren. I posted a picture of the cake on FaceBook and the number of responses that acknowledged him filled my world for many weeks with a feeling that Daddy was near and I could almost hear him saying “Scoot (his nickname for me), you are something else.”
    So now, when July comes around this year, 2019, I will be wanting to acknowledge the 74 birthday of my husband; the first birthday since I was 19 that he will not be here. He died in September 2018. It will be hard, but I can’t let a day go by without a verbal remembrance to him; it seems saying things out loud keeps the memories closer and clearer in my mind and heart.

  20. This article and reading some comments help.
    My husband died this past June and we’re coming up on what would be his 30th birthday– and he’s been making elaborate plans for his 30th birthday for a couple years!!! I can’t believe how much he was looking forward to celebrating! That was just his style 😉
    I’ve been wondering how I can still keep some of his plans- do them with friends and family…. Or if I even should, if it would be too “morbid.” After reading this, I think we should keep it and all celebrate together the life he loved and lived well.❤️

  21. I happened upon this page while looking for meaningful ways to mark my father’s centenary (he died six years ago, just before his 94th birthday). I’m pleased to know that I’m not the only one who chooses to remember their lost loved ones on their special day! Peace and comfort to all of you going through a loss.

  22. I tried to make my daughter a holiday in honor of her birthday, but everything turned out to be crooked and in general the organizer was so-so of me. The next time I already knew that it was better than to have the Internet, I definitely wouldn’t think of it. And instead of “reinventing the bicycle” , I need to take what is ready and in decent shape)
    I liked the ideas of these guys https://bstars.eu/
    because the choice is big. I would like to invite, on her 18th birthday, which famous singer she likes. But again, absolutely not understand this…
    I hope I have a chance to get to know her in 2 years. I really hope to be a good father for her and a reliable support.

  23. I lost my Husband and a baby in a year in 2017 He’s birthday is in February. I’m going to celebrate his birthday ever year. We were together for 15 Years. Going to get a cupcake with Miami Dolphins colored frosting. I lost my 2 best friends of cancer also. I miss him so much.

    • He would be 53 this year. I still have trouble driving to places like the river. Are watching movies are TV shows we watched together. Like the Games and Thrones his Favorite episode I haven’t seen it since we watched it together I haven’t seen it since 2017. Also I’m planning to go to Whataburger his favorite place for his birthday. on February 13th his birthday. I’ll wear his Dan Marino number 13 Miami Dolphins Jersey that day. And bring his Miami Dolphins cap and place it on the table where I’ll sit.

      • Thinking of you today. It’s my dads birthday as well. Hit me harder this year than usual (it’s been 10). Still don’t know what to do with these days.

  24. My mom died on May 27, 2018. Her birthday is January 17th. The holidays were brutal, but we survived. Now I’m almost hyperventilating at the mere thought of her birthday coming without her. I don’t know what I’m going to do. This hurts so much.

    • It’s the worst pain imaginable. I’m sorry you are at this point where you are facing a lot of firsts. Birthday, Christmas, etc, are all terrible.
      I lost my wife in January 2017, and it hurts every day, she was only 55, far too young, and I’m lost without her.
      The first year is the worst, but you will adjust and handle the grief, better.
      It never goes away, you just learn to cope.
      I hope you learn to handle your grief, your mum wouldn’t want you to suffer.
      My very best sincere wishes to you and your family.
      P.

    • Hi K!
      I can relate I lost my mom in Feb.2018 and today 1/15 is her birthday. The holidays were not horrible but I felt a big empty hole with out her here. However birthdays were very important and special for us both and this one is a hard one.

      • On the eve of Mom’s birthday (Jan. 24) I remember that today marks 2 years since I last saw her alive after celebrating her 80th birthday…she lived in Ohio and I in Texas. This is part of an extended season of challenges- Thanksgiving, Christmas, her birthday, then her “death-day” on February 21st. This whole week has been challenging, and once again I will find myself remembering the events of Mom’s last 30 days on Earth…to the ER on the 7th, dealing with infection/sepsis the next 10 days or so, then turning the corner, getting discharged to rehab and apparently cheating death again, only to succumb to it two days after being discharged (cardiac arrest). Coming up on two years next month, she would have been 82 tomorrow. The cold reality of her absence has been especially hard this week. I actually first came across WYG looking for resources for coping with the one-year mark after a close loved-one’s death. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but I am thankful for the time I have had with Mom…not sure what I will do tomorrow but I am planning to go to work. Thank you for the ideas and for this resource where I can encounter people who truly understand what we are going through with this deep grief…

    • I am the same my mom passed away within 1 week of having pneumonia diagnosed on Friday 26 the Jan 2018 died Friday 2nd Feb 2018 so fast this year will be her second birthday without her 30th July I had just gone 50 years old when she died I thought we would have lots more years left yet I lived with mom nearly all my life apart from about a year and half when I was married but then I divorced and came back home .on moms birthday I will be at the cream on my own with all the memories of all the years but I wish I was giving her cards and presents at home and saying happy birthday mom it is totally heartbreaking also knowing you have to live the rest of your life without her

    • I am the same my mom passed away within 1 week of having pneumonia diagnosed on Friday 26 the Jan 2018 died Friday 2nd Feb 2018 so fast this year will be her second birthday without her 30th July I had just gone 50 years old when she died I thought we would have lots more years left yet I lived with mom nearly all my life apart from about a year and half when I was married but then I divorced and came back home .on moms birthday I will be at the cream on my own with all the memories of all the years but I wish I was giving her cards and presents at home and saying happy birthday mom it is totally heartbreaking also knowing you have to live the rest of your life without her

    • I am the same my mom passed away within 1 week of having pneumonia diagnosed on Friday 26 the Jan 2018 died Friday 2nd Feb 2018 so fast this year will be her second birthday without her 30th July I had just gone 50 years old when she died I thought we would have lots more years left yet I lived with mom nearly all my life apart from about a year and half when I was married but then I divorced and came back home .on moms birthday I will be at the crem on my own with all the memories of all the years but I wish I was giving her cards and presents at home and saying happy birthday mom it is totally heartbreaking also knowing you have to live the rest of your life without her

  25. My brother died when I was 12, my sister was 8, my brother was 5, and my other brother was 2. He was the youngest, and just 33 days old when he died. No one knew why. We think it was SIDS. I miss his sweet face like crazy, his birthday is coming up and this really helps.

  26. Today is my husband’s birthday–his second since he left this earth. This evening mt two daughters, grandsons and son-in-law are remembering him with a birthday celebration. My son-in-law is making paella (a dish my husband always cooked for my birthday) and I made a lemon meringue pie, using Meyer lemons from our tree he planted. I miss him everyday. When he left, he took part of me and I am still finding myself. I praise God through my tears knowing he’s with Jesus and completely healed. It’s a Neil Diamond kinda day (His favorite artist)

  27. On my daughter’s birthday, November 3rd, I take a receiving blanket to the hospital where she was born and leave it anonymously for the baby girl born closest to 9:13 am – the time Mary-Kate came into the world. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I just missed buy her a gift, and this helps.

  28. My mother passed away 35 years ago–and this year she would have turned 100 had she lived. My older sister & younger sister decided that we 3 daughters should meet at her graveside & have our own little birthday party, complete with Margaritas since that was supposedly her favorite. We are limiting our party strictly to daughters & daughter-in-laws–keeping it to just this one generation since a lot of the nieces probably were even born before she passed or would vaguely remember her. Apparently she & her fellow angels heard of our plans because the weather is supposed to be rather cold on the days before & after her birthday but its going to be warm on her birthday! She will be smiling down on us & laughing along with us!

  29. I lost my son almost 6 years ago. The first year I spent crying, curled up in a ball wanting to die. The second and every year after, we party! I came to realize that 10/19 was a special day for 19 years and why should it be any different now. After all, that was the day I gave birth to the most beautiful boy on earth! We usually start by meeting at the grave sight releasing balloons. Some bring flowers to lay out. We go to lunch at his favorite restaurant and then back to my house for drinks. We listen to music, sing, dance and enjoy each other. Keeping this day a happy one as well as keeping his memory alive.

  30. Hi all
    I lost my sister late last year in Feb, the hardest thing ever seeing that she was still quite young and she left me with two beautiful nieces, twin girls.
    I have learned quite a few things during that grieving process, firstly that as a sibling you have to take it upon yourself to accomplish all their goals and aims especially in cases where you all spoke about it. Their manifestation should continue regardless of them not being there physically. People have this tendency of telling you that should move on and that there is nothing you can do, oh boy they are very much wrong. There is much you can you do especially on their birthdays. At first, my family were very much skeptical about celebrating her birthday but I sat them down and made them see things from my perspective which they then understood as to why I was doing what I was doing. I started with a WHATSAPP message on my status on her birthday which was in Dec that I would be accepting lunch, dinner invites and gifts on my sisters’ behalf if there was anyone who wanted to do that and to my surprise people really came through and showed their support, even my own friends. At home, we eat bread and drank water as those were her favorites and had some cupcakes made of her favorite colors. We said a smaller prayer for her and we even wore the t-shirts that were made at her funeral. Later that day my cousins and I dressed up and went out as those were some of her favorites to-do- things. We just dedicated that day to her. NEVER EVER FORGET YOUR LOVED ONES WHILE YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!!!!!!

  31. OK – You got me. I thought I was getting over my sister’s passing and her I sit with tears streaming down my cheeks (again). I’m 57 and my sister was 9 years younger than me, to the day. Here’s an example of God’s sense of humor. She was conceived on my father’s birthday (TMI, I know, but it’s relevant to the story), she was born on my 9th birthday. She grew up, went college, got married and they had a son of their own. My sister died of brain cancer, the same kind that recently ended Senator John McCain’s life. The doctors told us up front that it was terminal so enjoy your days. She lasted over 4-1/2 years. She passed away on my mom’s birthday, just before Christmas 2017. My mother, father and I are now in the first year of loss – first Christmas, first New Year’s, first Easter, first birthdays… The first year is very hard. My sister’s and my birthday is coming up in under a month. I read this page looking for ideas on how to ‘celebrate’ without her. She loved flowers so I think I’ll borrow from one person’s comments below and toss some petals into a calm lake and try to enjoy the beauty for her. My parents are still alive and coming to visit my wife and I for what would be our shared birthday, but now this is a ‘first’ without her. Long, warm hugs to all that have gone through these terrible losses. We wait for the day we can all be together again.

    • I too lost my sister to a glioblastoma, we had her for 9 years after her diagnosis. She would have been 32 March 4th. My mom wants to plan something. I’m very glad to have found this post.

  32. Yvonne Van Der HorstAugust 9, 2018 at 11:01 amReply

    How wonderful to honor your loved ones on their birthday each year. My husband and I lost our first child at 39 weeks still born in 2006. They couldn’t tell me Why he had passed away. Every year on the day that my baby who we named Riva was “born” we go pick boganvillia red flowers from a farm near the beach and we go early in the morning and put the flowers in the sea and say a few words about how we imagined he would’ve been like or anything actually. We have been blessed with 2 gorgeous boys after and they have done the same tradition with us since they were born and they know about their brother and they too say a little
    Something or they just throw the flowers in the water – it is really so beautiful to see all the flowers floating in the sea. I guess u could do this in a lake dam or river – very soothing for the soul.
    My heart goes out to you all.

  33. My dad died on Nov. 30, 2017. Wednesday Aug. 1 will be his 85th birthday. My kids and I are celebrating Papa with Frosty’s from Wendy’s because those were his favorite!

  34. What a wonderful way to help recognize a very special person even in passing. We pretty much honor the president with their birthdays even after they passed. The same should be applied to honoring a very special person, not as a memorial remembrance, but with their birthdays as a very positive way for us to cope with our grief. What could be more than remembering a very special woman, man, or even a child or a pooch in their lives by honoring them on their birthdays? How about visiting their burial site on the date of their passing or better yet, visit them on their birthday and to reminisces of all the past lives spent together so they may never be forgotten.

  35. I loss my best friend of 24 years, the last 11 years like brothers to cancer in Sept 2017. He was a very good man who suffer over 17 months with the dreadful cancer, the awful pain that comes with it. I know he is in heaven but his loss to me has been so real, painful. His birthday is coming up fast August 14 , haven’t yet decided to do anything . I remember last year we celebrated his birthday in the hospital the day before he was transfer to hospice. He was in great spirits on his last birthday on this earth. May he rest in peace.

  36. I lost my mother when i was 18 years old , tummorrow is her birthday , i miss her terribly , she was a wonderful soul who always took care of us and others around her . Marred her happiness just to see others happy ! I wish could give her a hug and be around her and feel as i you used to !

  37. Thank you for all the ideas and comments . My sister lost her life in an accident last summer and the first birthday without her physical presence is around the corner. She was the type of person to celebrate her entire birthday month. Though our birthdays were less than a week apart, I never minded letting her take the spotlight. Last year, sadly, she wasn’t in the mood to celebrate her birthday. I was confused, it was so not her. A month later she would lose her life in an accident where she got hit by a car while taking her daily walk. The coming of our birthday month brings melancholy, mixed feelings of fun memories, and the grief still fresh. My sister loved listening to live music, and I’m thinking of taking her Las Manitas to the cemetary.

  38. My son would have been 32 this June. He was murdered accidently by his best friend, who then took is own life. I am torn about celebrating his birthday because emotions are still very raw. I am at peace. But his friends are not. I know i can do what i want and they don’t have to come if they are uncomfortable ornot ready. But i also care about how it will be perseved. He was a strong, loving fun young man with the soul of an angel and heart of gold. The donation ideas were really appealing to me because he would like that. I guess all i can do is make a decision and go with it. Who will come will come and it will be what it is. Mothers Day and his birthday is the hardest. Those were special just between him and I. it will be 9 months on his birthday from when he was killed. Ironic. Thank you for all the great ideas and may God be with all of us while we wait to see our loved ones again.

  39. I lost my mother when I was 9. I am now only 12 today is her birthday and I miss her sooo much. it was the last day of my summer camp when I was coming back. My mom’s house is right near it and I was going bye it and we (me and my dad) saw cops outside of her house and I was thinking that she was dead but I was hoping not. But I was wrong. I was living with my dad, my uncle, and my grandfather. When we were home my dad went downstairs to talk to my uncle and then he told me. I then collapsed to my knees and started balling my eyes out mostly because I knew it was going to happen real soon but not THAT soon if you know what I mean. She looked sick like as soon as you saw her you could just tell she was that sick. Well that’s my story and for her birthday I did something small but special and I know she would have been proud. Since she was Catholic I did a few prayers for a dead loved one. Elizabeth (my mother) loves me and I know it, I have always known that. Mamma, I love you so much and have an AMAZING birthday. Love you muah bye.

  40. I lost my dad July 31, 2017. I was not even 14 yet. He was only 37. Today, March 19 is his birthday and i want to celebrate his life. I love you, dad.

  41. My Solemate/ husband past a year & one day ago. This post year has been a super tough one with all the firsts. I don’t even remember some of them. Yesterday, I watched the slide show, that we played at his memorial, several times & looked through photos with my twin girls and my son called to check on me. They love him as their biological dad. We cried & laughed.
    On Valentine’s day, I reread all the cards we gave each other. It was a really warm feeling.
    For Christmas, I gifted all the close family with mugs that I personalized with 3 photos each – one of my husband, one of him & me together, and one of him with each of them. It was great therapy for me, and everyone loved them.
    We all met at his favorite restaurant,30 + family members for his birthday. My plan was to go around the table and each tell a special memory, that didn’t quite work out. With so many people, they were out of control. That was okay because we all enjoyed chit chating about him.
    At his memorial I had a life size corregated stand up of him and had his Harley brought in for for him tho stand by (he was cremated). I have him standing in our bedroom now.

  42. I’ve never written in a forum before but today’s my son’s 2 year old birthday. He would have been 3. He past away on May 13 2017. Today I’m very sad, very mad and still trying to figure out how and why my son got a virus. The messed up part about it is that I had my second born right when my first born went to the hospital… Why me?! Why did this have to happen to my son??????? I miss him so much, he loved Elmo, and he loved our zombie game we used to play together. He was a very good boy, fun to be around always smiled and laughed and always wanted to have fun. He was basically my twin. I kiss him so much. I wish he were still here. I really do. But I know hes looking down at us smiling. Now I have to give all my love and extra love to my second born. I tell him everyday about his brother and what he liked so when he gets older he’ll understand that he once had a brother. I’m trying to figure out what to do today. I’m just stuck like I really don’t kno what to do except cry 😢

    • For a minute i thought i was reading my own comment the same happend to me! No matter how many times people say so sorry for your loss and that now you have a new baby , that still isnt the same 😔 i know girl i get that all the time im like no its not the same baby yes i love my second born but i also miss my first born😔. My sons birthday is may 19,2014 , he just passed away june 9,2017 he had just turned 3 😔 he was the happiest and everyone would fall in love with him he got pemonia and the doctors said it was time for him to go so i held him one last time and he passed away in my arms 😭 i was 4 months pregnant when he passed away😔 i hope you stay strong and think that one day you will see your baby again! ❤ god bless you ! I wish i can give you a hug!! I know how hard that is 😭

  43. I’m 18 now. But I was 16 when my father passed in 2016.

    For his birthday last year, I went and got an Angel Food Cake and put vanilla icing on it cause that was something he liked.

    This year, I’m planning on having either lemon meringue pie or going to a BBQ restaurant cause he liked those too.

  44. I’m 18 now. But I was 16 when my father passed in 2016.

    For his birthday last year, I went and got an Angel Food Cake and put vanilla icing on it cause that was something he liked.

    This year, I’m planning on having either lemon meringue pie or going to a BBQ restaurant cause he likes those too.

  45. My husband and I lost our beautiful 28 year young son almost 5 years ago He was a healthy 28year old and developed some stomach issues. After many hospital and different doctors visits he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and we lost him 3 months and a week later. Our hearts are crushed but we choose to try to celebrate as he would. He loved animals and volunteeered to animal shelters, boys and girls clubs and Ronald McDonald programs so we pick a charity or organization every year and donate in his honor. This year his 33rd Birthday on February 3rd we Gave envelopes of cash to all our family members at Xmas and asked them to spend the next 33days from Xmas to feb 3rd paying it forward. We are having a celebration for our Ryan Saturday Feb 3rd to celebrate him and share all the ideas everyone had to pay it forward. Some days it is so hard to go on as we miss him desperately. but we know he is safe in the arms of our Lord never to suffer again.

  46. My friend’s son died in his sleep at age 13. Today we are getting together with friends to celebrate his 18th birthday. This group does it every year just to honor him and to show her she is not alone in her grief and that we are with her and thinking of her son. I think it’s healthy to celebrate a loved one even in death. I might start doing it for the deceased older relatives who were special to me who have died. There will be tears at these celebrations but they are important!

  47. This is a really great post. I lost my mother on August 24, 2017. She loved life, laughter, chocolate, and the color pink. Her birthday is in January. I am going to get a tiny, but delicious, chocolate cake, some pink balloons, and order a pizza. I am going to write a message, wish, or memory on paper and ibsert them ibto each balloon before inflating, and invite her friends to do the same. They will get released at night. I think I might bring a dmall piece of cake, “just a sliver,” to her grave with some flowers. Not sure what elsento do.

  48. Thank you for the beautiful expressions of how to deal with the birthday of a deceased loved one. They were very helpful. My sister passed September 9, 2017. Her birthday is today, October 14, 2017. I was at a loss as to what to do and how to get through this day. Her daughters do not live here but her husband and grandson do. I have decided to ask her husband if I can make his favorite meal and take to his house. I will respect his wishes if he chooses to deal with today in his own way.

  49. My brother passed away suddenly in April this year. He was 29 and will be 30 on the 11th of November, 3 days after my 35th birthday. I am totally dreading this first milestone since is untimely passing, but I am organising for friends and family to gather at his grave. We will release 30 balloons in his honour, but I am not sure what else one can do at a grave. Do we sing songs? Each person says a memory about my brother? We will then gather at the pub down the road for food and a few drinks and listen to songs my brother loved. Christmas will then be the next milestone without my darling brother and that was the last time we all gathered together properly as a family. Any ideas and suggestions for his birthday will be gratefully received.

  50. My best friend passed away on the forth of July after a 14 month battle of breast cancer….. she was loved dearly and had the most infectious charachter.. outgoing loyal friendly… and the best crack… she wasn’t planning a 40th I know that but there was certainly talk of a few jars with her nearest and dearest…. she was going to take a weekend away with her partner instead of a bash…. it is coming close now and 22 of us are due to meet up next Friday the 29th for a few drinks and something to eat incl her partner children and siblings… I want to celebrate her life but I don’t want it to be a circus… should I put a balloon or 2 up? Write a poem… I did this when she was sick about how much of a strong woman she was… it went down a treat… cake? Just really unsure I know her favourite music so that is certainly arranged… I wonder if it will be expected that I am going to pull something out of the bag like…we were nuts together yang angry yang if you understand me….. advice would be welcomed…..xxxxxx

  51. My beloved daughter, Lyn passed on at age 25+ on 2 February 2016. Last year on her birthday in September, I ordered a lovely pink cake with flowers and ribbon that she liked. I went to stay at the hotel she celebrated her last 25th birthday and having the same evening cocktail with her daddy and younger sister at the same club lounge she enjoyed, the last birthday. This year, I ordered another pretty pink cake with flowers and beads. And we organized an exhibition displaying her artworks she treasured and loved, 2 days after her birthday on last Saturday. Friends and relatives who had personal contact with her were invited to view her works she did with passion and enthusiasm, though not of professionalism. We also put up a video of her timeline photos; with us the parents, the siblings, her art class teacher and classmate, sharing about her. It was really good, one of my friend told me it was so touching. I am glad I did it. Would very much like to share some of the photos, but not sure how to do it here.
    I have also planned to have birthday cake every year on her birthday because she loves birthday cakes! Would invite her uncles and aunts over for coffee and tea on her birthday weekend just like before.

  52. My son Connor died, 7 years ago, at age 24 as the result of an unmaintained balcony railing on his apt balcony My life is forever changed .He Loved his birthday & was born the same day as my Dad & sister. I started the Connor’s Birthday Kids program last year at a nonprofit I volunteer at . 100 kids receive Bday bags & presents at 6 parties during the school year. I imagine my son celebrating with these kids who have very little,,,,

  53. The “random act of kindness ” sounds like a good idea. My wife was the type to do stuff like that.
    Its the first birthday without her, July 31 , so I think I’ll be giving someone a surprise .
    Thanks for the ideas.
    Happy birthday love, xxxxxx P

  54. Today I am remembering my wife on her birthday. It has only been six weeks since she went to Heaven. It is difficult not to have her here, but from what our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior has taught us, she is in a much better environment….and not suffering at all. It is with that hope that I remember her today.

    • Hi. My wife passed on 17 weeks ago and I still remember the 6th week. My wife had some physical and mental health problems for a long time. My faith in GOD has helped me to believe that she passed on to a much better place where there is no more pain. If you would like to communicate with I will check this site from time to time GOD be your strength.

  55. Mrs. Kimberly Ann MaysFebruary 4, 2017 at 9:10 amReply

    My son was killed when he was only four months from turning 23. Birthdays were always such a huge thing in my children’s lives and even when they grew into young men. I celebrate my son’s birthday every year by having family meet at his favorite restaurant to eat and we also have a birthday cake. I bring his photo along and display it on the table. I do give birthday presents, but they are memorial gifts that I give to his brothers, his daughter, grandparents, and his father and step father. After dinner, everyone joins together at the cemetery and we say a prayer, have a few words to share about Nick, and then we release balloons and In Memory Lanterns. Each year, I usually begin preparing 6 months ahead and incorporate a theme to his “Birthday Memorial Celebration”. Ex: one year we released butterflies and every gift had to do with the butterfly theme and it’s symbolic meaning. One year we did memory jars and everyone received mason jars with blue sand, sea shells, a candle, and his pic was on the jar personalized. Most of my gifts are handmade and from recycled things around the house. One year we had Tears in a Bottle and I gave everyone a beautiful Message in A Bottle with my son’s pic on front and a beautiful poem written on the opposite side. The bottles were also filled with beautiful sand, sea shells, beads, tiny crosses, doves, etc… And a written poem was placed inside. Each year, the family can’t wait to see what memory gifts they’re going to receive. One year each of them received treasure trunks with personalized metal labels ordered from Amazon that I hot glued on front. The wooden trunks were purchased at Michaels on clearance and I stained them, I laminate tags for the balloons and each gift bag with the year, it’s been 7 years since my son’s death and no, I do not plan to continue the gifts any longer, because I only chose to do this until his daughter became of age to understand that her daddy was no longer here. Now she is and there is no need for me to continue with the gift giving. I did this to have something for my granddaughter for each year that my son’s birthday was celebrated, but she was too young to understand that he couldn’t be here, so a gift was in his memory. Now, this concept could be confusing to her at her age, so I’ve chosen to celebrate my son’s life in a more private manner now. I love my baby boy, and God knows how much I miss him everyday. But now, we have to also think about his 7 year old daughter and do our very best not to confuse her or frighten her anytime her daddy’s name is mentioned. My son’s death was brutal and she often asks how her daddy died. I am not her mother and it’s not my place to share this with my granddaughter and I feel that her mother and I both agree, this will need someone better trained in such a delicate area to talk to her about this. I share the wonderful memories of my child with her and tell her all about her daddy and how much he loved her. It breaks my heart, because my grief is still so real and so fresh and my little granddaughter comes to me sometimes and opens up to me that she hurts because her daddy is not here. I hurt for her too, because I know that she has to feel pain, not being able to have her daddy around like she wants him. Grief is so personal. It’s so unpredictable and so unfair at times. For me, grief has been a mountain of lessons that continue to teach me things I don’t always want to know about myself and some I do, but it’s still a conquest. They say grief takes time, but really, what I’ve learned through this entire thing is that is so true. Grief really does take time. It takes it away. Time has flown by and my son has been gone seven years, but to me it’s only been months. It’s like, God speeds up time for those who have lost a child, especially, because the pain is so intense and it will destroy you if given enough time. So, to me, it feels like God has moved the hands on the clock ahead just so I don’t stay in one bad place for too long. Even just for a moment in a day. As far as celebrating goes………there’s absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating the life that God gave you on that day. I never look at it as just my son’s day either. I always praise Jesus on that day first, because without Him, my son wouldn’t be sitting in Heaven with His Father. And he’s there, waiting to see his mother again someday.

    • Hello Mrs. Mays, I love your gift ideas. Do you have pictures of the items that you created? I would love to see them for ideas to share on my son’s birthday. He passed away 5 months before his 21st birthday. Thank you!

  56. My mother passed away suddenly in July 2016 – nine days after my birthday. We were very close even though I live 4 hours away by car. I’ve taken tomorrow, her 57th birthday, off of work and plan to try and do things that we always planned on doing ‘one day.’ We always said we would have high tea together so tomorrow I’m going to a heritage listed cafe to have scones and tea in her honour. She always said that she was never very good at baking scones compared to other baked goods and was very excited when coming across new methods for making fluffy scones so I think she would have enjoyed the experience.

  57. i just lost my mom in september 2016. today is her birthday and she wouldve turned 55. im still bitter and i feel like i wont ever be able to overcome the grief. i couldnt focus on work ever since she got sick. my friends dont even understand how im going through but i cant blame them. i feel as though people think im always sad but i dont care anymore. i just feel like being sad and spending days on my own.

  58. I love all the comments and ideas for celebrating a life worth lived. We are only her for a short time. It is the love we have given which will be remembered. My prayers to all who have posted and have lost a loved one. T.S. Eliot wrote “Not farewell, but fare forward voyagers.” I like to think of our loved ones not saying farewell, however, pushing on toward their new life.

  59. Today is my great grandmother 94th birthday Dec. 8, was known to be her name Concepcion for Dec. 8 here in the Philippines is Immaculada Concepcion., Also a celebration of what so called Fiesta’s of some many towns, I asking myself on how to celebrate her birthday without her presence, as i read some of post and comments here it helped me for an ideas to celebrate, as we always do with birthday we invited some of our relatives and friends for thanking and celebrating another year in her life, maybe I will just do the same, i been with her since i’m 3mos. old, she our kindness of all she even refuse marriage proposals during her time just to take of my mom, uncles and aunt’s, she build us home and sheltered us, i always thank our Lord God of having her for 31 years. She passed away last september. I always remember her everyday in my life.

  60. Our daughter passed away last year from cancer just before her 35th birthday and her 36 th birthday has come and gone also, we will always celebrate it as hard as it is,to not would be harder, I can never express enough how much I loved her do love her,her name is Amanda . I have a will as I long as I can buy Manda things for her birthdays and other times as well,we shopped a lot together and she would always say I will get this for for someone and that for someone else,she was funny and so kind and smart and I miss her everyday.I go to the shops and like buying things with her in mind, I said to Manda the day of her funeral that I would honour her for the rest of my life ,I will stay true to that .The random acts of kindness written of earlier is a wonderful idea.I read up on different sites and some things you read support how you feel, which helps,the deeper the love ,the deeper the grief,there is no rush in grieving,give yourself time and in most cases your lifetime,I love hearing her name,I have legally had my middle name changed to Amanda,her brother has had Amanda tattooed on his leg and her sister has had Mandas favourite saying across the side of her chest,just 3 words but they refer to her sister.,no one wants the person they have a deep love for to be forgotten.I have appreciated reading what everyone has written about who they have lost ,thankyou. Love from Mandas Mum

  61. My sister Star would be 45 on Oct 28th this year. She died two weeks before Christmas last year. She’s a year and a week older than I am. Always was the life of the party and the first to say I’m sorry even if she wasn’t wrong. I stumbled across this page wondering how to celebrate her life on her birthday this year. I thank you everyone for sharing how you remember your loved ones. From doing random acts of kindness to cake to family time remembering. I think I’ll take a bit of all of it and remember her in some way this year. I was ready to go in the opposite direction prior to reading all of your posts so THANK YOU! Her love of music will command my day to remember her by….I may tear up in between, but I know she’d be pleased.

  62. Not looking forward to my friend’s first birthday without him. We both were turning 50 this year and I missed out on his teasing about how old I am since mine is first. Now, I got to turn 50 and he doesn’t. I am so glad to see all the wonderful ideas here and I hope to do some of them, and carry his amazing, silly, and sweet sense of humor through my tears on that day.

  63. I have a step grand daughter who struggles with her Mother’s death. She died in 2009 of skin cancer. She celebrates her mother’s birthday with her Nana and Papa with a birthday party. Going to her cemetery and laying flowers. Then watching her mother’s funeral that her Nana recorded. She tells me she goes to bed for days afterwards crying. Over and over again it plays out in her head. Is this healthy?

  64. My name is Darlene n I lost my son 1 year ago he was 19 and 3 months later he turned 20 its been the hardest thing for me no one should have to go thru this he was sitting in in his car early in the morning and was shot everyday is very hard especially 7:30 am every morning I find my self reading a lot of peoples testimonials it helps me next month is my sons 21 birthday I wanted to do something special beautiful sentimental on his birthday I just don’t know Wat exactly we already let go 20 white doves that was very beautiful n we make something for the family like bracelets with his birth date nothing will bring him back but I just want to do something beautiful if anyone has ideas please content God bless u all

  65. My husband’s mother is in her nineties and becomes more frail with each passing year. I take flowers to her on my husbands birthday because he is still her son,he always brought flowers and it makes more content to spread cheer as he would want.

  66. For the first few years of my brothers birthday we all sat in our own homes with our own thoughts and drowning in heartache and grief. This past 3 years we now go to his grave and out on some balloons and flowers and talk about all the happy times we had with him and also all the laughs. We then go for a meal and raise a glass on his honour, thankful that we had this wonderful person for 30 years and will always love and cherish him. Our celebration of his life makes the day so much easier to get through, we laugh and talk and hug each other and it’s a lovely tribute to him, its his day and always will be and even though he is not here with us anymore he will never be forgotten….love and miss you millions Danny ???? xx

  67. Looking for a better way of saying “Would have been” their (fill in the blank) birthday. Because it still IS that number’s birthday, even if they are no longer with us.

  68. I was going to celebrate my son’s 39th birthday at my sisters home. My son was killed in a car accident when he was 20. I decided to pick up a cake on the way over to my sisters. When I told her I got a cake she thought it was inapproptiate because her 3 year old grandson would not understand where the birthday person was so this upset me very much and I gathered up my stuff and the cake and left. I cried all the way home. My sisters husband passed and her grandson knows he went to Heaven and she didn’t want me to bring up that my son is in Heaven too. I do not understand this way of thinking. I need some advice on how to deal with my controlling sister who is a retired teacher and know it all. Please help!

    • Hey Michele,

      Oh I’m so sorry for this experience. In my opinion we sometimes really over-shelter kids when it comes to issues of death and grief, but I know each person has their own parenting style. Interesting that the conversation has been had with regards to the child’s grandfather – did your sister say why this was different in her eyes? All I can really say is that different support people are good for different things in our lives. We’ve talked a lot about assessing our support system and being thoughtful about who fills what role, most specifically here and here. It sounds to me like you conceptualize your relationship with your son and your grief in a way that is difficult for your sister to relate to. If this is the case, then it may just be that she is not the best person for you to turn to in grief. Although she may be a wonderful support person in many other ways, she may not be able to meet the grief support need.

      Check the post out that we linked and see what you think.

      Eleanor

  69. Your random post I found after searching the internet on how to celebrate my late husbands birthday less than one year after his death helped me SO much on changing my outlook on this day! I just wanted to run and hide and hope that the day would go by while I was unconscious. It doesn’t help his birthday is on St. Patrick’s day, where EVERYBODY is celebrating!! But after reading your post, I have viewed his birthday as a time of celebration! It’s perfect! The only day of the year that seems right to celebrate his life. I certainly wouldn’t want to celebrate the day he died. So I just wanted to say “Thank you” from a random person via a random internet post. xxoo

    • Wow! I lost my husband in 2017 after one month battle with stomach cancer, he was 49. Today is my 52nd birthday and we always shared together. Sitting here wandering what to do I will make today useful. This so much helped me. Thankyou!

  70. I lost my sister 5 years this year to Mealonma and last year would of been her 40th. We had the biggest party ever in the karaoke bar she used to go in for many years. We put banners and balloons up blew up photos of her and put them all round the bar we live in Cyprus so friends and family flew out for the occasion it was an amazing night sad but great it was what she would of done is she was still with us.

  71. My soulmate’s first birthday in heaven…2/22/16 it wasn’t fun celebrating his birthday long distance. I missed him so much. I came to his niche the day before and offered a red rose, wrote him a note also printed 11 blue butterflies cut and tape them around his niche…I have a blue butterfly tattoo and 11 is my favorite number. I prayed, cried, talked to him and cried some more. The next day was his real birthday, I went to church where he attended mass on a weekly basis and lit a candle. I felt and I know that he was there with me. I cried the whole week of his birthday…called his sister and brother on the phone and talked about him and shared with them how we would usually celebrate his birthdays in the past 10 years we were together here on earth. P.S. Monday 2/22/16 while I was driving I ask him to give me a sign that he was with me. Before I reached the stop light I turned my head to the left and noticed the house number, it was 2211? his bday and my fav. Number. Later I checked the time on my cell phone it read 11:22am. Thank you my love for being with me all the time.

    • Very nice! I have a similar thing with numbers on digital clock displays and my mom who passed two years ago.

  72. Last April, on the first birthday after my husband’s death, we gathered friends and family at our favorite beach spot. There, we released a message in a bottle written by our 8-year-old son. I expected a small gathering but everyone who knew about it made it a point to be there, though it was a work day evening. It was not a somber occasion but a celebration of his life, with many kids in attendance. There was a lot of love too. This year, I’d like to have a day of community service, like a beach clean-up or something, to commemorate his special day.

  73. We lost our precious son Lachlan; two years, eight months, and four days old, to brain cancer. On his third birthday we started a tradition of doing random acts of kindness, and we spread the word through friends, family, and social media. Though we were immensely sad not having him here, we had reports all day from people telling us what they had done ‘for Lachlan’ and how it created smiles…. smiles on such a sad day…. It brought much needed joy to our aching hearts. We continue this, now four years later, on his birthday and on the anniversary of his passing. I don’t know if we could make it through the day without these wonderfully happy stories. We also, on his birthday, play his favorite songs, eat his favorite foods, and light candles and speak of our favorite memories of him. One year we had a birthday party for him at his favorite park. One year we released balloons with notes to him on the anniversary of his passing, at night, with little blinking lights attached. As they got high in the air they looked like stars… it was amazing. You could do this on a birthday and send birthday wishes! Another year, on his 4th birthday we went to the mall and handed out flowers with a little note attached, mentioning Lachlan and his birthday, and encouraging people to do something nice for someone that day. We were graced with such kind words and some great big hugs. For us, doing something, anything, helps ease the pain and creates a ‘silver lining’ for our dark cloud.

  74. My son lost his fahther in 2015. Even though we were divorced he was a HUGE part of our lives. We started a tradition last year of celebrating his birthday with cake. We invite my son’s Aunts and Uncles to come celebrate. Instead of presents I ask that they each write down a memory to put in a box that my son can read when every he wants. My son was 10yrs old when he lost his father and the memories will help him hold on to his father through the years.

    • Michelle that is a wonderful idea. I have been looking for something to do for a brother and sister 11 and 7.. They lost their father tragically 5 years ago. this would be a wonderful way to keep all ohis memories alive and have something you always cherish when the older relatives are no longer. I will be looking for the perfect keepsake boxes for each of them. Thank you so much for sharing

  75. My husband’s birthday would have been February 4 and will be my first without him. I like the “random acts of kindness”, which is exactly what he would do if he was still here.

  76. November 3rd would have been my grandmother’s 92nd birthday. My grandmother or Nana was a huge contributor to raising me and had been my best friend growing up. This is the 2nd anniversary of her death. Last year I took off work in order to morn. This year, while faced with the struggle to sit through work all day, I am thinking of creative ideas to celebrate her life. I have a video of her and I from a few years ago where her laughter was contagious! I think I will watch that again. I also really like Jayci’s idea of “random act of kindness”. My nana was the kindest and most patient woman I’ve ever met, so this is perfect. I’ll be drinking her favorite COFFEE all day and maybe I’ll even get a little cake pop from Starbucks. I will wear her favorite color, red. I think just doing small things that remind you of them throughout that day is special in itself. And, you can make these things into an annual tradition.

  77. I celebrate his birthday by doing the things we used to like to do together. One of the things I lost when he died was doing certain things that I did with him but don’t really do with anyone else. I go to the city (he lived there, I live in the ‘burbs), eat lunch a place we would go before a movie, go see a movie, eat at our favorite Indian restaurant, and then see another movie. I pick movies I want to see, but the rule is I don’t see something I know for a fact he would have hated. The only thing a little weird is the Indian restaurant, a place we went a lot, because I can really feel him not being there across the table from me. His death day is more of a problem because they don’t really know what day he died because he was alone. There’s this limbo land between when I last saw him, when I last talked to him, and when he was found to be dead.
    .

  78. I celebrate my late husband’s birthday by performing “Random Acts of Kindness”. I anonymously pay for someone’s lunch. I buy bouquets of flowers and leave them on car windshields in a parking lot. And, since my husband loved books, I go to the bookstore and leave $10 bills tucked in books he loved.

  79. It’s almost 14 years later and I’ve never been able to celebrate his birthday. And his birthday has always been more painful than his death day, which makes no sense to me but it’s that way anyway. I expect to feel upset on the day he died but not his birthday.
    If we want them to, the people who run the September 11 Memorial will write a happy birthday to the person on their social media, like Google and Facebook, but they have to have a direct request from a next of kin and I’m not the person who has to ask it. It’s almost like an emergency contact. A specific person has to request they do it.
    They do that with the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial too. My daughter’s godfather is a Veteran of that war. Someone’s sister asked that they remember her brother’s birthday on their Facebook page.

  80. Like you, birthdays have always been a big deal in my family. In 2014, my dad died 3 days short of his 65th birthday. We had his funeral on his birthday which itself was bittersweet. For the anniversary of his death, we decided to celebrate his birthday by taking his ashes to all of his favorite places: his garden, the local baseball fields where he spent countless hours coaching, and finally to the beach. As painful as it was, it was also quite beautiful to celebrate my dad and his life. I hope that my mom and brothers will want to do the same thing (or something similar) in 2016.

  81. Celebrating the birthday of a loved one who has died is certainly better than celebrating (?) them on the anniversary of their death. On what would have been my mother’s 100th birthday, I sent an email to our family and other friends reminding them of her birthday and suggesting that they raise a glass of sherry (her favorite alcoholic drink) or strong coffee (her favorite non-alcoholic drink) to her memory. My partner’s birthday next month would have been her 70th, but she died at age 55. I made a photo album of some of my favorite pictures of her for her memorial service; I’ll look through that album on her birthday. On her birthday, I usually wear one of her tee shirts. I gave away most of her clothes after she died, but I kept all of her tee shirts that have graphics.

  82. Last year, was my mom’s first birthday since she died. I think, in kind of a funny way, it was the best birthday she ever had. I made chile rellenos, her favorite food. My mother was a fantastic chef, but even she used chiles from the can. I actually roasted the chiles myself and I can barely make toast. Anyway, they came out amazingly not terrible, in fact, they came out pretty good. She must have had a hand in it. I made a collage on a wooden J that also was a nice tribute to her and then I hung a few pictures in some special frames that I had bought. I posted on her obituary page and Instagram, wrote in a card and even sent her e-card. The finale was eating some eclairs like I had brought to her the year before on her birthday. All day long, I played videos and slideshows. I was exhausted by the end of the day, and I remember thinking it was probably the best birthday she ever had. Hope she was there.

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