Reminding them?

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Today would have been my dad's birthday ..... mum speaks little of him (they were devoted to each other) and I tend to not raise him in conversation generally ...... If she does ever talk about him I just try to 'go along' with her mood....

Hence, my 'plan of action' for today with mum was to follow the same philosophy .... if she had recalled the date and was distressed, I would console/share her grief, make sure we had a smile about all the wonderful stuff ..... if the date meant nothing to her .... leave it be ......

This morning, it seemed clearly a 'Leave it be, day'. The date meant nothing to her.

What I hadn't planned for was a certain someone ringing her to tell her how flowers had been placed in their local Garden of Remembrance to mark the day.....

Total devastation!!!! Mum is distraught!!!!!! Less for dad, it seems - but the fact the date hadn't been significant to her until she was prompted - and now she has realised she had forgotten (if that makes sense) she is beside herself ......

'How could I have forgotten your dad?' 'Why do I not know the date?' How she hates 'this thing'. 'Give me any other disease but not this!' Quite frankly, this is the first time in months and months I have seen her so distraught about what is happening to her ...... (even the awareness that something IS happening to her even though we do skirt round the 'A' word) and I am wracked with guilt because I should have been the one to remind her gently .... to plan something .....

If she had somehow 'remembered' later in the week - or next month - would that have been more devastating to her that I had not prompted her?

It will be the anniversary of dad's death in a few weeks - me thinks we will do something special together to mark it - and for once not try to pretend that it's best to forget .......

:confused: Karen, x

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I think you should tell everyone around that they are NOT to remind your mother of birthdays, anniversaries, etc etc. If your mother remembers herself, I think your original plan is absolutely the best. Eventually she won't know what the date is, let alone what it may signify.

I'm sure it was well-intentioned of that person, but you know what way is paved with good intentions!

I don't really think she would have been "more devastated" if she remembered a month later. I think now it is more about her realization of her losses than anything else.

Lizzie K

Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
East Midlands
Lizzie K

Karen, we had exactly the same problem with dad. Should we remind him about anniversary of mum's death; birthday; anniversary etc? Initially we did, which just brought on floods of tears and black moods. We then decided not to, and, as Joanne stated, we asked others to do the same.

He is now in a situation where he would not understand if we told him. It really has been a case of ignorance is bliss for dad, but I think you own decision from what happened is right at the moment. Gently prepare her, mentioning it, get her advice on choosing flowers, cards etc. Her trust in knowing you are there to help her remember could also help reassure her at this disturbing time.

Take care. Lizzie


Registered User
Jul 11, 2007
Hi Karen,
I have been in the same situation you were in. last September on the 1st year anniversary of my brothers passing, I did not want to upset mum with reminding her and maybe bringing up sad memories, Well I too got a shock when his wife(who we have all ceased communicating with due to bad feeling she has for mum) took it upon herself to write a memorial in the local paper.

Mum at that time could read enough to see it and was very upset understandably as there was no mention of mum in it. I feel it was a terrible thing for her to do .

Now it is coming up to the 27th September and I have to face the decision again.I feel this time I too am going to mention the date to mum before someone reminds her for me and take my chances that the wound may have healed enough for her to cope with .

Karen ,I wish you all the best as Cathy said ,nothing gets any easier.
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dave b

Registered User
Nov 21, 2006
hi karen
i think lizzie has got it right
if our loved one's can't remember the date'why upset them?
we know & it can cause us pain, broad shoulder time!
i know it hurts what else can we do?
dave xx

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
Hello Karen,

I think it is right not to remind our loved ones of important dates and important not to put them right about anything really as it can cause such distress. I have learnt this the hard way by trying to remind my parents of birthdays etc. and even buying them cards to sign, but it's to no useful purpose as they forget immediately afterwards and the person who the card is for knows what is going on anyway.

My only regret, I celebrated a "big birthday" (60) this year and if I'm honest I would have quite liked it if someone had let my parents know as it was very sad for me that they had forgotten such an important date. But that's me being selfish, I know.