For any of you who have experienced a loss of any kind, the anniversary of that loss is sometimes one of the hardest days of the year to get through.   It brings back good memories, bad memories and everything in between.   For all of you loyal readers out there, that time is here for me once again.   January 29th marks the 3rd anniversary of my Dad dying from an unexpected heart attack.   So much has happened in those three years.   So many things have stayed the same, and yet so many things are different.   It is important to honor that day, for what it is: the triumph over horrible tragedy.

A couple of weeks out every year for the past three I always ponder what I am going to do that day.   I think maybe this will be the year I finally go back to the masoleum to visit my Dad.   Or maybe I will have his favorite pizza.   Or maybe, just maybe it will be just like any other day and I won’t do anything special at all.   I am sure that my Dad and your loved one, would not have it any other way.   So what will I do?   I have no idea.   I am going to live minute by minute, and whatever I feel like doing is what I am going to do.   But I would be lying to you if I told you it was just another day.   It’s not.   It’s the day your life and your families life changed forever.   Three tips on how to survive the anniversary you may not be looking forward to:

1. Do not pretend that it is just another day- Even if you were faking it and pretending it was not just another day, someone in your life will remember the significance of this day and call you out on it.   It is just a fact of life.   Some people understand what this day truly means. The pain in losing a loved one is great and this day could bring back some of those knot-in-your-stomach, shed a tear type feelings.   And that is OK.   It is supposed to.   You would probably start to wonder about yourself if it didn’t.

2. Not everybody is going to remember this day– A fact of life is this:  This is one of the most important days for you and your family, not someone else’s family.   If someone in your life you think is supposed to remember this day and doesn’t, that’s OK.   People are different, if they were not what a boring world we would live in.   For some it is harder to let this “roll off your back” but do you have another choice?   Focus on your thoughts, feelings and emotions not what you want others to think and acknowledge.   For example, I have someone in my life who has lost a parent and she never remembers the Dad my Dad died.   Every year though, I acknowledge the day her mom passed.   Does this make her a bad person? Absolutely not.   I care for her well being a great deal, and while it might be a minor irritation at the time you get over it and accept people for who they are, not who you want them to be.

3. Have a tradition– If you and your loved one liked to dine at a favorite restaurant, or get a massage, or go to church than do that on this day.   These are good memories and traditions that should continue to be carried out especially if they make you happy on this day.   My point is, it doesn’t matter what the particular “thing” is that makes you happy and reflective, try to find something.   If you don’t have a particular “thing” than start a new tradition that you save for this day, and this day alone.   It is a way of honoring your loved one and always knowing that they have a special place in your heart forever.

So the million dollar question is: What will I do on Thursday?   I still have no idea.   Stay tuned….

Always your friend in need,

Eric Tomei

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Eric Tomei

Eric Tomei is a physical therapist residing in the metro Detroit area. He has a B.A. in Psychology, a B.S. in Health Sciences and a masters degree in physical therapy from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. I Miss My Dad…is his first book with the hopes of uniting everyone who has lost a Dad or loved one to share their stories. His mission is to let people know that they are not alone in dealing with the loss of a loved one and you will always have a friend to talk to. He has a passion for charity work as 15% of each book sold will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. His goal is to raise $1 million for this charity through donations and the sale of I Miss My Dad… Eric appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart with hosts Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, to discuss Father’s Day Without a Father. To listen to this show, go to the following link:

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