One of the hardest times of the year can be birthdays. This includes birthdays of your loved one, your own, or others in your family or close friends. Even though there are different reasons, we often dread birthdays, especially the first few years of living a new reality without the ones we love.
This is all normal, a new and unwanted normal. There are different ways to cope. You have to do what is best for you at the time, and adapt as time continues. It is weird in a sense that it is just another day, but in reality it is a day with deep meaning and sometimes intense memories.
First of all; when days like this are coming, be in prayer about it. Ask God for guidance and strength. Ask your family and friends to help you pray! Don’t be alone in this. The body of Christ is supposed to be there for you. If your church won’t support you, find close friends or another church where the fruits of the spirit are evident.
When we first lost our daughter we departed from our normal traditions and decided to get out of town. This helped us to focus our attention on other things. We still acknowledged Jenae’s birthday, and thought about it quite a bit. But it was helpful to be away from work or school where it might be hard or impossible to function. Many might say this is escaping or running from your grief, but it helped us tremendously.
Early in grief, you spend a large amount of time thinking of the loss and past. So you carry this no matter where you go. You can’t run from it. But doing something different and doing some sort of memorial made it tolerable.
Some of our memorials were; posting a online memorial tribute to our daughter online/social media (this allows others to acknowledge your child’s birthday and pray for you), taking special arrangements to the cemetery, making a donation to an organization to help research – in Jenae’s name, wearing memorial T-shirts with Jenae’s picture and a tribute, going out to Jenae’s favorite place for an Oreo milk shake, making a memorial candle, and making a memorial video / song and posting it online. This helped us to remember the fond memories and look forward to our meeting again. Many others will help out charities, do scrap booking, take a scenic drive, eat at a special restaurant, and other meaningful tasks to commemorate the day.
Some prefer to just stay home and grieve all day. Sometimes that is needed when you are dealing with some new areas of grieving. Crying is healing, just as long as this isn’t every day spanning weeks, months or years. Be aware of the evil one trying to load a heavy weight of grief to keep you from focusing on Jesus who is there for us. We must remember if we follow Christ; He is with us, as we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
He knows and feels our pain also (see John chapter 11).
When celebrating the birthdays of others who are close to us without our loved one, there is a certain emptiness when we focus on the situation. If we can focus on this promise of Christ; that He will resurrect us also in death, and that He will reunite us with our loved ones again in celebration together. It puts things into an eternal perspective with much to look forward to.
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection
Also note that God wants to build us up through His plan for our lives on this earth. We have to be willing to do what God wills and trust Him.
Our hope is that through Christ, our season of grief will diminish on earth, and especially in eternity. Daniel 2:21 states that God changes the times and the seasons. There is joy in knowing that as followers of Christ all things will become new.