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Celebrate Instead of Grieve on Their Birthday

by Kirsten Nicole 3 years ago in humanity
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This one's for you, Ali.

Tomorrow, April 8, is my friend Alex's birthday.

Unfortunately, none of us will be able to wish her the happiest of birthdays in person.

Alex passed away in July 2017 on her graduation trip in Cuba.

These past two years have been tough to process that such an amazing soul is not living life with us anymore.

"They wouldn't want you to be sad," is an iconic quote that I have heard many times in my life. The first couple times I heard this phrase, I was so annoyed because how could I NOT be sad? But after some time, I realized that Alex lived her life to the absolute fullest and would want the same for me and everyone else grieving.

For any readers who have lost someone special to them, here are some suggestions on how to celebrate the day instead of mourn. Because at the end of the day, we must keep living our lives and honouring them the way that our special person would want us to live.

Post a picture.

If you don't think that photos and videos are important, just wait until they are the only thing you have left.

Personally, after Alex passed away, I realized just how important photos and videos were. Pictures and videos help us remember all the good times that we shared with our special person.

Posting a picture or a video of a nice memory of your special person with a birthday message is a great way to celebrate. You would most likely do this if your special person was alive, so posting a message is starting to normalize their day of celebration.

Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash

Visit their resting place.

One thing anyone who has lost someone close can think of on the spot is where they feel most at home with that person.

Sometimes this place isn't even just their headstone, but it can be somewhere that you and your special person shared a nice memory. For me, I feel most connected with Alex when I'm surrounded by the girls who Alex and I grew up with. My best childhood memories were spent with them and Alex, and being around them and sharing stories from our past help make Alex's spirit still alive.

My point is that each person who grieves has a place where they feel most comfortable to connect with the passed.

Just as you would go visit or party with your special person on their birthday on Earth, go visit them at the spot you feel most united at. If you do go visit that place, you are then free to use that time as you'd like. Talk out loud, play some of their favourite music, sit and reflect in silence, light a candle, the possibilities are endless.

Just remember, that however you chose to celebrate and spend your time at "the spot" is normal and valid.

Photo by Steven Spassov on Unsplash

Write it out.

This is for the readers out there who need a creative outlet during their special person's birthday.

I personally enjoy to write out my feelings in a journal and then that way I'm not bottling up my emotions (because we all know this is dangerous and I really suggest if you feel like you need to share your emotions to please talk about it).

Writing is a lot of work sometimes, it's hard to fit into our busy schedules. Some days I don't have the motivation to write and that's okay because I believe that writing has to come naturally.

I know that during the week leading up to Alex's birthday, I start to get very sentimental and emotional, therefore causing me to write more.

When you feel the urge to write, just do it. Since their birthday can be an emotional day, it might help to write them a card and keep it for yourself.

Writing a journal entry or a birthday card will let your special person know that you wish them all the best and that you're missing them.

Writing is personal and it can be as creative as you want it to be! There is no right or wrong.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Keep traditions.

This is probably the most important thing to do on their birthday.

A couple months ago, I was celebrating my school's homecoming events. During these events, alumni are invited to come share their old stories and memories from their university years. One of the alumni that I was talking to said, "I'm going to give you some tips for life. The first one is to keep tradition, no matter what." The alumni said that keeping tradition is the reason that he is still close with his buddies.

Think back to how you would celebrate your special person's birthday. For example, if you always gave your special person flowers on their birthday, what is stopping you from buying the same flowers and keeping them in a vase on your dining room table?

Keeping traditions keeps their memory alive and if they were still here, I am 110 percent sure that they would want to keep the traditions going.

Photo by Caroline Ingebrigtsen on Unsplash

I understand that people grieve in different ways and this article is not to judge others on how and when they chose to grieve. You are able to spend the day however you chose to spend the day, there is no right or wrong.

In my experience, on April 8, Alex's friends and family come together and we share a drink, we pour a Smirnoff Ice for her and we eat chicken fingers with ketchup. It brings us together to continue sharing our fun and loving memories with Alex.


I miss you every single day. There hasn't been a day where I haven't thought about texting you and wishing that you could come visit me at school. Today is a little tough for me because I wish that I could give you the biggest birthday hug but that isn't going to stop me from smiling and toasting a drink in your honour.

Today is a day of celebrating all the love you shared and how you continue to be a role model for all of us down here missing you.

How did I ever get so lucky to have met someone who makes saying goodbye so hard?

You have changed my life in more ways than you will ever know.

I love you and best wishes to you always...

Happy 20th Birthday.

Your Sister,



About the author

Kirsten Nicole

Just trying to make the world a better place

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