KEY DATES: A TIME TO REMEMBER

Years ago, when I worked for hospice, I remember the Bereavement Coordinator telling me about the effect of key dates on grief. When we lose someone or something close to us, we tend to re-experience the grief on the anniversary of the event. That can continue for many years.
The reaction may leave you mildly upset or can cause more severe problems either mentally or physically. There are studies that indicate that the reason we remember the trauma around key dates is because of how the memory is saved. The memory is connected to the date although sometimes we aren’t even aware of it. We may simply feel down and not realize why until a later time.
Some of the symptoms that surface may include:
• Re-experiencing the trauma. This is common and may involve experiencing the same negative feelings you felt when the experience first happened.
• Arousal. You may feel nervous or on edge including finding it difficult to sleep or stay focused.
• Panic attacks or isolation. You may feel afraid of leaving your home and cut yourself off from family and friends.
• Physical symptoms. You may experience headaches or stomachaches.
• Grief and sadness. This may include depression.
It may help to know that these feelings usually won’t last long, and symptoms will decrease over time. If you continue to feel bad for more than a week or two after the key date, it may help to talk to your doctor or mental health provider.

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