First Year Memorial - Robin Chodak

First Year Memorial



The year is approaching since my husband Gerry died and I feel heaviness upon my heart for many reasons.  It’s been customary in our culture that a memorial service or some type of gathering is done on the first year anniversary of a loved one’s death.

This September 2020 is particularly difficult for several reasons.  First, it is a painful month of loss for me.  I lost my sister, Ralene  on September 3rd. This marks the 33rd year of her death. She was diagnosed with cancer at 16 and died when she was 20. September 14th, is the 15thyear since I lost my husband Steve to suicide.  September 28this the 1styear of Gerry’s sudden death. Basically with all my losses I would like to hibernate during the month of September. But there is one light that has always kept me going. And that is the birth of my granddaughter, Jennah Joy on September 11th.  She was born 3 days before Steve died.  I hold tightly the memory of him holding her shortly after her birth.  Death exists, yet there is life.  It’s life that keeps us going.

Second, it is challenging to plan a memorial because we are living in Covid-19, which makes any type of gatherings difficult.  

So what do you do for a memorial?  

In the middle of August I began to feel the heaviness of the approaching month, so I spent time in meditation and came up with a plan to honor each of them.  On the 3rd, I plan to take my mom to visit my sister at the cemetery.  On September 14th, I plan to walk the labyrinth where I have a memory stone in honor of Steve.  For Gerry I plan to purchase a memory plaque for a tree at his golf course. 

I know that this month will bring grief triggers and deep felt emotion. Therefore I have taken time to prepare and plan, and also realized that I needed to do things for myself.  Therefore I made an appointment at a salon to get some pampering.  I haven’t done that in many years so it’s a big treat for me. It’s a reminder that I must continue to love and take care of myself.  I realize the more I love and practice self-care, the more it allows me to be the best version of myself.  Therefore, I am better equipped to love others.  

If you have an anniversary approaching I believe it’s important to begin to think about what you need to do for your loved one and yourself.  Don’t let the day rush upon you and put you in a stuck state.  Begin to ponder how you can best show your love for them and yourself.

Love and Light,

Robin Chodak

P.S.  Some of you reading this have gone through your healing journey and feel that you are in a position to help others but don’t know where to start.  You are in the right place here at the Grief Healing LLC where you can be trained to become a certified grief healing coach.

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I am a woman on a journey of recovery after the suicide of my husband in 2005. It has been a long voyage, but I was able to create a new identity and find happiness again after much hard work. I hope that I can help you along this path, too.

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