Is ‘Deathiversary’ Actually A Word?

July 01, 2022 4 min read

Is ‘Deathiversary’ Actually A Word?

The first year of grief is often the hardest, and there is one occasion that can trigger some intense emotions. The first anniversary of a person's death can be incredibly difficult to cope with. It is commonly referred to as a deathiversary. So, yes, a deathiversary is a real word.

It might feel wrong to create a new word for the anniversary of a death, but it can be helpful to know what this word means. While it might not be in the dictionary, you might hear people use this word to describe how long it has been since they lost a loved one.

In this guide, we will explore what a deathiversary is and what it means to those who have experienced loss. We will also look at ways you can cope with a deathiversary and how to observe this day if you choose to. We'll also offer our advice for supporting someone through a deathiversary.

What is a deathiversary?

The word simply means the anniversary of a death. While it is more common to use this word to describe the date one year after a death, it could also be used to mark the months since a death. 

For example, if your grandfather died six months ago, you might say that the deathiversary is coming up. This word can be used for any anniversary of a death, no matter how long it has been since the person died.

Why is the first deathiversary so hard?

The first year after a loss is often the hardest. Once a year has passed, you might start to feel like you are getting your life back on track. But the one year anniversary of a person's death can bring all of those feelings to the surface again.

We like to celebrate the anniversary of good things like birthdays, wedding anniversaries and bringing home pets. But a deathiversary is different. It serves as a reminder of what we are missing. It can be a day of mourning and sadness. It can also be a positive milestone, as it reminds you how much time has passed and how much you have moved forward in this time.

Should you observe a deathiversary?

There is no reason you have to observe a deathiversary. You might not feel ready to face the day. You might want to spend the day alone or with close family and friends. Or you might choose to honour your loved one in a special way.

Some people might visit the gravesite, light a candle or say a prayer. Others might write a letter, plant a tree or do something that their loved one would have enjoyed. It can also be a day for quiet reflection. You can spend the day alone or with loved ones.

How do you cope with a deathiversary?

There is no one right way to cope with a deathiversary. Some people might choose to spend the day with family or close friends. Others might prefer to be alone. Some people might visit the gravesite while others might write letters or make donations. Turning the day into something positive can be helpful when trying to manage your grief.

Some people might find it helpful to talk about their loved one on the deathiversary. This can be a way to remember the good times and share stories. Others might prefer not to talk about their loved one on this day. It is important to do what feels right for you.

If you are supporting someone through a deathiversary, there are a few things you can do to make this occasion easier.

How to help someone during a deathiversary

If you are supporting someone through a deathiversary, there are a few things you can do to make this occasion easier.

Let them take the lead

The person grieving should always be the one in control of this difficult day. You can suggest things they might like to do, but you can't force them to either observe or ignore a deathiversary. Instead, let them take the lead and make sure they know that they call the shots.

Offer your support and let them know you are there for them

It can be helpful to offer your support to someone during a deathiversary. You can let them know you are there for them and offer to help in any way you can. This might include running errands, cooking meals or providing a shoulder to cry on.

Give them space if they need it

Some people might want to spend the day alone. If this is the case, respect their wishes and give them the space they need. It is okay to check in with them but don't push them to talk about their feelings if they don't want to.

Accept that grief is normal

Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss. It is important to remember that everyone grieves in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to experience grief. If someone you know is struggling with their grief, there is help available. They can speak to their GP, a counsellor or a grief group to help process feelings.

Listen to them if they want to talk about their loved one

If someone wants to talk about their loved one on a deathiversary, be a good listener. This can be a difficult day for them and they might be dredging up feelings that they thought they had finished dealing with. The anniversary of a death can also bring up new feelings such as guilt or anger. You don't have to have answers or solutions, you simply need to be there to listen.

Let them know it is okay to cry

Crying is a normal part of grief and it can be helpful to let someone know that it is okay to cry on this day. They might feel guilty about crying because it has been so long since the death, but you can be there to remind them that everyone has a unique experience with grief.