Why Death Anniversaries Are NOT Emotional Moments

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This week I had shared my thoughts about the emotions attached with birthdays from the spectrum of a girl who yearned for care, affection and recognition in a society mired in biases. I appreciate all those who shared their insights and memories.

One of my friends, Hariod Brawn said: “…anniversaries of all kinds may evoke strong feelings within one. For myself, the strongest are those dates on which a loved one died.”

When I felt it was strange, he responded

“Why do you find it strange that anniversaries of deaths are more emotional for me? I think that is a universal and quite natural state of affairs. Is it not?”

I don’t think so. It is not universal.

Death anniversaries could be emotional for those whose loved ones leave after fulfilling all their promises that they had made to themselves and their loved ones.

Death is beautiful only when you have lived your life. When it comes suddenly in the prime of youth, when it leaves behind unfulfilled hopes and desires, it is nerve shattering.

Such death anniversaries become traumatic, not emotional.

Because emotions lie scattered and shattered at such a time, the shards are too piercing, discordant and acrimonious.

Because you are too confused to gather the debris

Because the mourning is deafening, it seems futile, a façade and proves ineffectual

Because a lot of people try to confound you with words that seem hollow and simulated

None of those words soothe you

All that is more prominent and understandable is indignation and exasperation – extreme sense of revolt against destiny or God, whatever you believe in.

When your whole world falls apart, when you have to abdicate the little joys of childhood, when you have to fend for yourself, when your so called well-wishers wait for you to falter and condemn you for your immature acts…

It is at such times that death anniversaries become meaningless.

They bring along harrowing memories and festering wounds, which never heal.

When each day is spent in remembering those lost moments of unfulfilled yearnings,

When each day seems an uphill drive, with steering in the hands of an adolescent,

When faith lies prostrate at the alter of destiny

Such Death anniversaries are NOT emotional; they lose their sheen.

They are distressing; they only afflict pain.

All the positivity and spirituality fades in the face of hunger, which stares at you at such times.

Mourning continues till we meet our loved ones…in Heaven.


 Their wailing grew louder
Onlookers stared, consoled
More mourners gathered.
Wailing became unbearable

It hit my heart.
Deep, down the chest
Some pressure, some unseen hand
Oppressed my breath.

Unspoken words, parched throat
Streaming tears
But no wails.
I could not wail. Must I?

Do I need to pretend?
Please! Will somebody understand?
Can you detach me from tradition?
Please leave me alone.

Let me feel that cold touch.
I am STILL in mourning.

This poem is an excerpt from my book ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life’ (available at Amazon.com) Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EBLWR0A

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh


16 thoughts on “Why Death Anniversaries Are NOT Emotional Moments

  1. Dear Balroop,

    You appear to have an incorrect conception as to what emotion actually is. You continue to both imply and assert that emotions are always positive in nature.

    For example, just above you say: “Death anniversaries could be emotional for those whose loved ones leave after fulfilling all their promises that they had made to themselves and their loved ones. Death is beautiful only when you have lived your life. When it comes suddenly in the prime of youth, when it leaves behind unfulfilled hopes and desires, it is nerve shattering.”

    This clearly demonstrates once again that your conception of emotions is one in which only positive states are permitted, such as being ‘beautiful’ and as in your words quoted above. Emotions are not determined by their pleasantness or otherwise, not by any known definition. A simple search online for ’emotion’ and ‘grief’ at Wikipedia will demonstrate the point for you.

    People do very typically get emotional on the anniversaries of those they have lost, Balroop. For example, you say in your article above as regards such occasions that “they are distressing; they only afflict pain.” These are emotional states Balroop; it cannot be argued otherwise.

    I have written about emotions on my website. I have also covered the subject in great depth in my book:

    ‘The Sway of Contentedness’ – http://wp.me/P4wkZJ-8d

    I hope this clarifies the position as regards my comments and the subject as a whole Balroop.

    Kind regards.


    1. Hi Hariod,

      I recognise emotions of all kinds, I have written about them in my poetry as well as articles. I also know this is a controversial topic and I have tried to explain my perspective. This article also has an amalgamation of both the emotions, as you have quoted but that doesn’t change my view about death anniversaries being more distressing.

      Yes! I lean towards positive emotions because I have had enough of negative ones and I try to keep them as far as I can. Thanks for inspiring me to write about this topic. Stay blessed!

      1. “. . . that doesn’t change my view about death anniversaries being more distressing.”

        I am not trying to change your view on that Balroop; that is my view too; that is everyone’s view! Of course death anniversaries are more distressing than any other kind; how on earth could it not be so? To be ‘distressed’ is none other than to be in the grip of a powerful emotion. There is nothing ‘controversial’ in any of this Balroop; it is all just a matter of indisputable fact.

        I held my dead grandson in my arms just three years ago; so this is a subject that comes into my direct and recent sphere of experience. I also know intimately how devastatingly impactful anniversaries of my grandson’s death are to his parents; these occasions are deeply and traumatically emotional.

        The latest article on my site deals in part with the death of my mother; and again I have direct experience here of how anniversaries of my mother’s death impact both upon myself and other family members. The same applies for my deceased father; and yet again, for many of my deceased friends.

        I would once again invite yourself and any of your readers to read my articles that deal very specifically with emotionality so as to avoid any misrepresentation of my standpoint. All such articles can be found at: http://www.contentedness.net

        Thank you for allowing me to respond to you and to your readers on this important issue Balroop; it is only right and proper that my views are not misrepresented in any way; I am sure you will agree.

        With kind regards once again dear Balroop.


      2. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, Hariod. I am deeply moved by your endeavors to clarify your point. there is no misunderstanding, it seems that we are looking at the same situation from a different pedestal.

        You agree that some deaths can be traumatic and that is what I am emphasising…when trauma hits, we go numb, we forget all emotions, life seems to be over, everybody and everything appears to be insignificant, all emotions are dead at that time. That is why words seem lame and hollow. We may analyse the situations later and link the emotions to them.

        You are most welcome to share any of your links but please do so one at a time, I would appreciate that. I value your views as they are so profound and philosophical…that could be the reason on my part for failing to understand them. Thank you once again for adding so much value to this article.

  2. That is an amazing poem, Balroop. Obviously this is an intense, raw topic for me. So I will agree to disagree with you this time. I feel death anniversaries can be highly emotional. My message is brief on this post only because we will arrive at the same point afterwards in this discussion in seeing different points of view. But, I DO understand your’s 🙂 I just don’t agree with it, my dear friend! I love the thoughts that your writing always provokes. That is such a beautiful thing.I hope this weekend is treating you well! 🙂

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for liking my poem. I agree with you, for you death anniversary of Phoenix would be heartbreaking, I know. But emotions that it may evoke would not be that of anger, of revolt, of cursing…which are all so bad and negative. We remember the death anniversaries in an endearing member, we treasure the memories but for us, death anniversary never brought fond memories.

      I hope you would understand my view better if you read all my responses and then read the article in that light. I could never attend a funeral all my life as it brought back my childhood memories. Only recently have I reconciled to the necessity of being personally present at such occasions.

      Thanks for the disagreement but I urge you to come back and read again!

  3. Ah, I LOVE your poem, Balroop. I think grief and mourning can bring on a numbness or a lack of emotion in fact. When the feelings (emotions) do come it hurts like hell just as you’ve described so beautifully. Death anniversaries are different for everyone I suppose and as you say, depending on the type of death.

    I was thinking about my grandmother earlier today and realized her death anniversary is days away. I found myself wondering if it might be a good time to pray to her in honor of this. That was before I read your lovely post, too.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      You can understand it so well. Yes, ‘death anniversaries are different for everyone’…some are more intense, some evoke positive emotions and are remembered with reverence and love while some can give deep scars.

      I too remember my grandmother fondly though she died when I was very young but the sudden demise of her son had paralysed her physically as well as mentally. she forgot to talk or smile.That is the difference between deaths!

      Thanks for taking this discussion forward.

  4. Hi Balroop,

    Touching poem indeed…and I can so well relate to all that you wrote here, having lost my Mom a few years back.

    But as Lisa said…death anniversaries are different for everyone and each one has their own feelings and way of doing things that day. For me, it’s a day when all memories of my Mom come and go, and I remember her specially as I pray for her more that day and make ‘parsad’ (if you know what it means!) It’s just a day to cry and smile, and be with her…that’s it. Just my way to be with her.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      I am pleased to know that this poem touched your heart, it was written many years ago as a natural reaction to the death of a loved one 🙂

      Oh yes! that is a good way to celebrate and remember the departed, with mixed feelings but I could never do so. Somehow, I just want to forget all that is associated with the death of a dear person and I do agree that anniversaries evoke varied feelings.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective. Stay blessed!

  5. I find death anniversaries of loved ones to be highly emotional as it makes many emotions of relationship (and illness) in some instances resurface. Those emotions can be loved filled and grief stricken. I think it depends on the person experiencing and the relationship they had with the deceased.

    1. Hi Suzi,

      You have made your point very precisely and accurately – the emotions that death arouses depend very much on the relationship we have with the person who leaves us. If our whole world falls apart, then the emotions too die, we feel empty within, almost numb and that is what this post is trying to convey.

      Thanks for sharing your view, much appreciated!

  6. Balroop,
    Your poem is immensely meaningful and well written. I thank you for sharing it. As for death anniversaries, I do find them emotional. I think that it depends on the person and the situation. Rather than saying it is okay in one situation but not in another, I think what is most important is for the person to be true to herself or himself.

  7. Hi Christy,

    Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 I am glad you understand such intense emotions at such a young age! Yes, situations do lend immense significance to emotions and the way we interpret them.

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