Branda at her work in sustainable forestry.

Special Dates can stir up difficult memories. As time goes by, it is possible to choose new ways of noticing the day and honouring the memory of your partner.
Here are a few that I practice or have seen. Let these stimulate your imagination and you may soon think up a meaningful way to bring some small happiness to a day of sorrowful memories.

1) If you have a grave-site to visit, go. Take new flowers or a candle. Include friends or choose some alone-time.

 2) Make a public declaration of your memory and your love. Newspaper classified pages include an In Memoriam column and new technology and many social media sites have easy-to-create tribute web-pages and memorial websites.

3) Gather your inner circle of friends and supporters for a mealtime celebration. A special menu that recalls favourites, or a decorated cake, or a simple raising of glasses to toast the day.

4) Play music, special recordings or “your song”. If you feel the need to cry, let the tears flow
5) Each year on the anniversary of her partner’s passing, one woman I know plants a tree as a living memorial.
6) Another friend buys a big box of chocolates and passes them to her colleagues at work on her late partner’s birthday. She calls it Happy Chocolate Day.

7) My partner Branda played pool in a league, and on her birthday, her son and I play pool at a local spot. I am a very poor player. I enjoy the chance to tell, and to hear, Branda stories.

8) Branda named a couple of charities for donations in lieu of flowers. When I began to rebuild my life, I became a monthly donor to one of them: expanding her legacy

9) Branda was part of the generation for whom working in male-dominated industry was a challenge. I created a small bursary at the local high school in her name. It is annually awarded to a young woman who is moving into apprenticeship in a so-called non-traditional field.

Having a new activity connected to the date does not mean that I have “got over” my loss. I have not stopped loving her. I have found ways to remember her without triggering emotional pain. Our time together was a deep blessing that made me who I am today: she prepared me for life after Branda.
These strategies need not take up a great deal of time or money. Any one or two can be introduced into your calendar at any time. What’s not to love about that?

Jo Leath is a lesbian widow. Her partner Branda passed away in 2007.
Jo is a Transition Coach and creator of the Journey Into Alignment program.

She works with lesbian widows who are passed their first year alone, and are building a future they never anticipated.
Contact Jo here