How do you celebrate personal milestones (birthday, anniversaries)?
Memory Photo Books
One of our birthday traditions is to look through the birth photo books of our girls and re-tell the story of the day they arrived. Milestones are best celebrated by remembering where we came from, in order to look ahead to where we are going next!
Books on Loss & Grief
Grief and loss are both difficult to process and articulate. In times when my own words do not suffice, I look to the wise words of others to guide my way and my thoughts. Henri Nouwen does this gently and eloquently in his book on dying and caring - “Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring.”
I am a big fan of a good old fashioned birthday shindig. There’s something about gathering with people you love to share fellowship and celebrate the person who’s having a special day. Music always plays a part in celebrations for me, whether it’s with a big group or an intimate dinner gathering, and this bluetooth speaker has come in clutch MANY times!
Looking Through Old Photos & Home Videos
On days that commemorate a loss or death, I cozy up on my couch and look through old photos and home videos. It allows me to grieve while still bringing me great joy. I’m in the process right now of getting all of our family videos converted to digital format with Legacy Box so it’ll be even easier to watch memories unfold on our TV.
Meals Around the Table
I celebrate personal milestones and special days by setting aside time with others. For birthdays (including my own) I like to cook a bunch of wonderful food and gather a bunch of my favorite people around the table. My husband made us a farmhouse table with his own two hands last year, and it is my all-time favorite gathering place.
For memorials, I like to set aside time to be all by myself. I find that I’m able to accept help from and share difficult feelings with others more easily if I can do some processing alone first, preferably with my journal and favorite pen in hand. This cover slips over my trusty Leuchterrn and keeps all my essentials in one place. Its beauty makes even difficult processing a little more.
Delicious Home-Cooked Meals
All celebrations and milestones must be celebrated with delicious meals in our household - and whether I’m whipping up some queso, or crafting a stew, my kitchen revolves around my Le Creuset dutch oven. Not only does it look beautiful on my kitchen counter, most of the meals I cook revolve around it. It’s not a party if I don’t break out the dutch oven.
I’ve found I always process hard emotions better when I give them some breathing room, and I try to allow my loved ones to grieve with space. The way that works best for me to comfort a hurting friend is to mail them this beautiful print with a heartfelt note on the back - a gentle vote of support and love that they could choose to acknowledge and display if that felt right, or accept as a card, and put away for another time.
Beautiful Cards & Gifts
Celebrating in person over a meal is my favorite. During pandemic-tide, though, I’ve been trying to up my mail game. I got a @kreationsucculents box from @jerusalemjacksongreer and a @lovepop card from @ahdawson a few years ago that both WOWed me immediately the way I want to wow friends I’m celebrating with.
Naming Emotions & Experiences
We try to name hard days when we see them coming and talk about why they might be sad, scary, hard, or even bring up anger. Doing that in our marriage and now with our boys, too, has given me the freedom to feel what I feel on the hard days I see coming and the ones I didn’t expect. I’ve found that @Katekenfield’s Tea & Empathy Cards have given me new emotions and experiences to name for myself, which helps me share them with our boys, too.