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June 18, 2018 Beyond The Dash

Celebrating Birthdays of the Dead

What can you do to honor your dead loved one's birthday?

Celebrating Birthdays of the Dead
People often experience grief on the day of their deceased loved one's birthday. Learn what you can do to honor them on this day. (Shutterstock)

Your birthday is your day. Even if you don't celebrate on the anniversary of your birth, people in your life will honor you on this day with gifts, song and special treatment. And in turn, you honor your loved ones on their birthdays too. But what about those who have passed away? 


No matter what, the date of your deceased loved one's birth will remind you of them. Past birthdays, parties, gifts and adventures are painful to recall in the aftermath of a special person's death. That's why some people choose to carry on the tradition of honoring the birthdays of a dead friend or relatives, even though the person of honor is missing from the festivities.


Relationships continue long after death


Just because someone you love no longer walks on earth does not mean your relationship is over. Nor does it mean the relationship has to become stagnant. As odd as it might seem, our dead loved ones stay with us as we live, learn and grow. Changes within yourself mean changes in perspective—this is a lifelong process. And as you change, so does your perspective on different relationships. 


Though the relationship is now one-sided, it does not cease to exist. Especially during the many phases of grief, it's normal to feel sudden anger toward the deceased person. As grief becomes part of you, your life will change. When you get a new job, start dating someone new, experience new births in your family, travel or learn new skills, you'll wish that your deceased loved one could be there to share these milestones. 


So when their birthday rolls around, and you notice it, it's natural to have feelings about it. That's why some people use their loved one's birthday as a chance to remember and celebrate their life. 


How to celebrate a dead person


Most people don't celebrate birthdays of the deceased with a party. Instead, the day acts as a recurring memorial for the sharing of memories. Some invite those who knew the deceased person to visit and reminisce, others donate to charity in the name of their deceased loved one, and still others visit the gravesite.


The point is not to languish in grief. If you feel moved to honor your loved one on their birthday, you should allow yourself the time and space to celebrate in your own way. But if the idea of celebrating your dead loved one's birthday doesn't make sense to you, there's no need to go out of your way to remember them.


Create an online memorial


If your loved one's birthday is coming up, and you're looking for a way to pay tribute to them, consider telling their story on Beyond the Dash. Even if some time has passed since the death, digital obituaries offer a way for families to memorialize loved ones in a permanent and meaningful way. 


Create an Obituary


The purpose is to publicly remember the life and impact of the person. Share their story with others who knew them, and invite friends to share special memories. By honoring the date of their birth with a digital memorial, you can ensure their legacy lives on.

Your loved one had a remarkable life. Tell their story, and we’ll publish it online for free.

After creating an online memorial, you can also publish in print in any of over 6,000 newspapers across North America.

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