This is the last post in a three-part series on grief. In this post, we will talk about triggers to grief and how to cope with the emotions that often accompany them. If you would like to read our previous posts on grief, you can follow this link to our post on grief and death and this link to find tips on how to cope with grief.

The holidays and anniversaries can be tough for anyone who has lost a loved one, whether or not the death has been recent. These events are typically spent with loved ones, so it’s obvious why they can remind us of a loved one and their death.

An article on Mayo Clinic’s website calls this sort of grief “reawakened grief,” and they give some good advice on how to cope with the triggers.

Here’s a list of ways to cope with the triggers that are caused by holidays and anniversaries:

Be prepared: It’s important to prepare yourself for days and events that will bring back grief and sadness. Plan a distraction: have a spa day, go to your favorite restaurant, plan a trip, or spend the day doing your favorite hobby. Ask yourself, do I want to be alone or would I rather keep myself distracted with family and friends?

Start a new tradition: If you and your spouse used to go to the same restaurant on Valentine’s Day or your anniversary, maybe you should go to a different place. Even better, maybe you could cook yourself a favorite meal at home.

The point of starting a new tradition isn’t because you want to forget your loved one. You can incorporate them in your new tradition as well. Light a candle at church before holiday services or share a favorite memory about them. Ask others to also share funny stories about your loved one. Happy memories can go a long way with helping you cope with the loss of a loved one.

Allow yourself time: It’s okay to remember your loved one. It’s okay to be sad. Keeping your emotions bottled up is not a good way to deal with reawakened grief. It’s okay to let others help you, too. Chances are, the people who want to help you are also dealing with similar grief.

As with all grief, everyone deals with triggers differently. It’s important to learn how you need to cope. If your grief gets worse over time or interferes with your daily life, it is probably best to contact a grief counselor or therapist. Grief can easily lead to depression and other health problems and it is important to seek help in order to live a happier, healthier life.

If you would like to set up an appointment to see Reka, you can reach her at 402-881-8125. You can also email her at, or connect with her via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc