Remembering the Anniversary of a Loved One’s Death


Remembering the anniversary of the death of a loved one.


Anniversaries and special dates of significance will cause the family to experience powerful memories and sometimes relive the sadness of loosing a loved one.  Anniversary reactions can occur throughout our lifetime, surprising us when we least expect them.  Below are some ideas or rituals that can help you through this time, while also allowing you and your family members and friends an opportunity to remember your loved one:

1.    Reminisce and tell favorite stories or memories about the person who has died.  This is often fun in a big group over a meal.  It’s especially great if there are people in attendance that knew the person throughout different periods in the deceased one’s life.

2.    Take flowers to the grave site, memorial site or location of the tragedy.  This could be done individually or in a group.

3.    Make a donation to a charitable organization or start a scholarship in the deceased person’s name. It is especially personal if the deceased person had an organization they were particularly active in or strongly supported.

4.    Make a collection to display the deceased personal items, serve their favorite foods, display different photographs or funeral programs, or watch a video.  Obtain a keepsake memory box and include items that have special meaning to you and the deceased.  Construct a memory book and include such items as the deceased’s funeral program, obituary, special poems, quotes or songs, and photo collages.  You can have the deceased person’s favorite music playing in the background.

5.    Make a toast or say a prayer at the start of a family meal or gathering.

6.    Plant a tree or dedicate a bench or plaque.

7.    Create a new tradition or plan a weekend getaway.

8.    Write letters or a journal to the loved one to express your feelings or publish a memorial in the newspaper.

Be aware that anniversaries may trigger heavy feelings of grief.  Do not be afraid of them, rather embrace them and reach out to your other family members and friends.  Don’t try to hurry the grieving process, rather feel your way through it and remember the very special person in your life.

Death anniversary From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A jesasang (제사상), literally “death anniversary table”; a table used in Korean death anniversary ceremonies

 A death anniversary is a custom observed in several Asian cultures including China, Pakistan, Israel, Georgia, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Russia and Vietnam, as well as in other nations with significant overseas Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Jewish, and Vietnamese populations. Like a birthday, it is celebrated each year, but instead of on the date of birth of the individual being celebrated, it is celebrated on the day on which a family member or other significant individual died. There are also similar memorial services that are held at different intervals, such as every week.

Although primarily a manifestation of ancestor worship, the tradition has also been associated with Confucianism and Buddhism (in East Asian cultural civilizations) or Hinduism (South Asia but mainly in India).

Death anniversaries are also commemorated in Judaism (the majority religion of Israel) where it is called by various names.

In China, a death anniversary is called jìchén () or jìrì (). This type of ceremony dates back thousands of years in China (at least to the Shang Dynasty) and historically involved making sacrifices to the spirits of one’s ancestors.

In Nepal and India , a death anniversary is known as shraadh. The first death anniversary is called a barsy, coming in Nepalese and Indian, baras meaning year.

Shraadh means to give with devotion or to offer one’s respect. Shraadh is a ritual for expressing one’s respectful feelings for the ancestors. According to Nepali and Indian texts, a soul has to wander about in the various worlds after death and has to suffer a lot due to past karmas. Shraadh is a means of alleviating this suffering.

People performing 'shraadh' for the peace of their ancestors

People performing ‘shraadh’ for the peace of their ancestors

Shraddhyaa Kriyate Yaa Saa: Shraadh is the ritual accomplished to satiate one’s ancestors. Shraadh is a private ceremony performed by the family members of the departed soul. Though not mandated spiritually, it is typically performed by the eldest son and other siblings join in offering prayers together.

Often there are one-year prayer meetings. These occur one month before the one-year date.

In Japan, a death anniversary is called meinichi (kanji: 命日), kishin (kanji: ), or kijitsu or kinichi (kanji: ). Monthly observances of a death are known as tsuki meinichi (kanji: ), while annual anniversaries are known as shōtsuki meinichi (kanji: ).

In Korea, ancestor worship ceremonies are referred to by the generic term jerye (hangul: 제례; hanja: ). Notable examples of jerye include Munmyo jerye and Jongmyo jerye, which are performed periodically each year for venerated Confucian scholars and kings of ancient times, respectively.

The ceremony held on the anniversary of a family member’s death is called gije (hangul: 기제; hanja: ), and is celebrated by families as a private ceremony. For such occasions, the women of the family traditionally prepare an elaborate set of dishes, including tteok, jeon, jeok, and so forth.

Vietnamese death anniversary

Vietnamese death anniversary

In Vietnam, a death anniversary is called giỗ, ngày giỗ (literally “giỗ day”), đám giỗ (literally “giỗ ceremony”), or bữa giỗ (literally “giỗ meal”). It is a festive occasion, at which members of an extended family gather together. Female family members traditionally spend the entire day cooking an elaborate banquet in honor of the deceased individual, which will then be enjoyed by all the family members. In addition, sticks of incense are burned in honor and commemoration of the deceased person. It is not unusual for a family to celebrate several giỗ per year, so the ceremony serves as a time for families to reunite, much like the Vietnamese new year, Tết. The rituals are the responsibility of whoever inherits the ancestral estates, typically the deceased’s most senior patrilineal descendant.

Although a giỗ is usually a private ceremony attended only by family members (and occasionally also close friends), some are commemorated by large segments of the population. The commemoration of the Hung Kings (Giỗ tổ Hùng Vương), the legendary founders of the first Vietnamese kingdom in Vietnam’s remote past, and of the Trung Sisters are widely participated. In March 2007 Giỗ tổ Hùng Vương became a public holiday in Vietnam.[2] As in all traditional commemorations, the Chinese calendar is used.

In Vietnamese culture, certain special, traditional dishes (particularly desserts) are only prepared for death anniversary banquets. In addition, favorite foods of the deceased person being honored are also prepared. Chicken, a particularly prized meat in Vietnam, is often cooked as well. In Central Vietnam, small stuffed glutinous rice flour balls wrapped in leaves called bánh ít are such a dish. Because the preparation of so many complex dishes is complex and time-consuming, some families purchase or hire caterers to prepare certain dishes. It is also common that a soft-boiled egg be prepared and then given to the oldest grandson.

Remembering the Anniversary of a Loved One’s Death

Who is a Missing Person? 

who is a missing person?

This question came across social media to me recently and the question had me thinking about all the permutations of “the missing.” Is there a true definition? Is there an official “Journal of the Missing”, published monthly and doled out to all library shelves at University libraries? A quick internet search revealed nothing.  This is a niche that few have studied in any depth with the exception of grass root non-profit organizations. They, in fact, are the experts with honed skills through “being in the trenches “and figuring out what truly is needed, how to assist the families of the missing, building collaborations with law enforcement and other organizations in order to do everything possible to effect a rescue versus a search for remains.  The CUE Center for Missing Persons stands out among such organizations.

At its core, how do we know someone is missing?

On a personal level, I believe that if someone cares for another person, has a personal tie to them, and that person has not been located in several hours, to days, months, years,  that is a “heart definition” of a missing person. Are there people who go missing intentionally? YES!  Are there people who go missing unintentionally by virtue of circumstances beyond their control? Yes! Should we judge as to if their gone missing status was preventable? NEVER, because one mis-step or series of bad decisions and we could be there is “a New York minute!

Legal Definition (According to US A missing person is a person 18 years old or older whose disappearance is possibly not voluntary, or a child whose whereabouts are unknown to the child’s legal custodian, the circumstances of whose absence indicate that:

  1. The child did not voluntarily leave the care and control of the custodian, and the taking of the child was not authorized by law; or
  2. The child voluntarily left the care and control of the child’s legal custodian without the custodian’s consent and without intent to return.
  3. State agencies work to coordinate reports of missing persons with federal agencies, such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
  4. In states with an Amber Alert Plan, parents of a missing or abducted child can contact their local police or sheriff’s department to file a Missing Person Report. If a child is missing and believed to be in danger, there is no 24-hour waiting period.  The law enforcement agency will immediately enter information about the missing child into the Missing Person’s database and the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person File.

Participating law enforcement agencies can request an Amber Alert if their investigation determines that the child’s disappearance meets the Amber Alert criteria.

Types and Examples of Missing Persons:

Every missing person is somebody’s child…

Other Categories:

We also have men and women missing as a consequence of prostitution, “survival on the street” essentially often hiding in plain sight, fighting their demons, trying to survive.

Another huge category of the missing is attributed to Intimate Partner Violence. We need only to go to SusanMurphy-Milano.Com to see the thousands of examples she left for us!

And on and on….

Suffice it to say, the reasons for going missing are many and varied. If we care for humanity, our hearts are big enough to hold all of the reasons. It matters not why in the final analysis. It only matters that we find them and help them back to a “new normal.”

CUE Center for Missing PersonsIf you know of a missing person, please file a report with the police and then contact the CUE Center for Missing persons, a national non-profit organization.  To support their work:


Who is a Missing Person?


Cold Case Investigation – “Taking it on the Road…”


Visualize this… a little bit of Willy Nelson, a little bit of Charles Kauralt and a little bit of Monica Caison all rolled into one!   That’s what high adventure, passion to serve, justice and not just telling a family’s story, but hopefully finishing it is about! Broken hearts on the mend is the ultimate goal.

The Cold Case Investigative Research Institute of Atlanta, Georgia, now 10 years old, is limited only by its collective imagination. Criminologists, medical examiners, evidence analysts, crime scene investigators, criminal justice professors, forensic experts, private investigators, profilers, attorneys, ballistic experts, and law enforcement of every type are “swarming” along with insatiable students to solve that cold case, WHATEVER IT TAKES!

A revolutionary idea combining brainstorming, hands on instruction, and interactive participation from afar via YouTube is “hitting the pavement” for a cross country tour in an effort to solve cases gone cold years ago.   No longer limited by the confines of a classroom, this endeavor is criminal justice at its best 2015, and you are invited to participate along the way!

The Shattered Lives Radio team was treated to an exclusive of groundbreaking news on this very broadcast!

We are sharing this very important concept in the making, in an effort to assist CCIRI to acquire more cases to examine enroute, to peak the interest of others for people, service oriented help, equipment and monetary resources for the cause.  As you will see by listening to this podcast, even 10 minutes of a person’s time can make all the difference in helping to solve a case! So, join the bandwagon!

click to listen button1


  • Welcome to 2015!
  • “They don’t get college credit, but oh, do they get schooled”
  • How it all began…
  • The story of the “golden ten minutes” that changed a case!
  • The similarities of the operation of the CUE Center for Missing Persons:
  • Dedication, dedication, dedication….
  • How to participate the CCIRI Program – working independently!
  • Discussion of untapped resources-
  • Illustrative Case – Shawn Beatty-
  • “Starting with telling the family’s story”- building trust
  • The mechanics of starting a case according to Sheryl McCollum
  • Pictures don’t lie….
  • Discussion of “Wine and Crime” Fundraisers 
  • Contact Information for Sheryl McCollum:
  • Sheryl McCollum Facebook page
  • Cold Case Investigative Research Institute Facebook page
  • New Concept in Solving Cold Cases- A Road Tour starting in July!
  • What’s it about?
  • What do you need?
  • The sky’s the limit! “The key that will unlock the door”
  • “Susan’s driving the bus to Oklahoma!”
  • An example of sacrificing your Thanksgiving” for the greater good”
  • 33 Days- 27 Cases and 5,000 miles…. If you have cases you want examined in Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Wyoming or the Dakotas call Sheryl!
  • Discussion for criteria for selection of cases
  • Sheryl’s Parting Message – It takes all of us… not necessarily money. Good things come….
  • WOW!  Hope for the future!


Questions from the “Crime Scene”

  • What “makes the magic happen” at CCIRI?
  • How many colleges and experts are involved?
  • What are the qualifications for students to join CCIRI?
  • How are cases selected by experts?
  • Can we join CCIRI or replicate the program elsewhere?
  • How do they handle bureaucracy and case confidentiality?
  • Why fundraising?
  • What’s happening with every case they have worked on in the last 10 years?
  • How will the students be briefed on the cases?
  • How can Shattered Lives Radio assist?

“The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessary reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.”

Cold Case Investigation – “Taking it on the Road…”

Looks Can be Deceiving: Victim Advocacy, A Life’s Mission, but Never Fully Compensated

court room, victim advocates

Crime Victim Advocates are a strange breed… Typically, it is not a chosen profession.  Rather, they come from the ranks of the survivors of crime. It is a hard row to hoe, seeing the dark side of life, the violence and the pain in the aftermath.

Violent crime sneaks up on “its prey” and shatters life as we know it. We are told in an academic manner that we must traverse through the stages of grief outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross…one step forward, then three steps back, never on an even keel.  We get stuck along the way ultimately to come out the other side a different person who can help others via their own life transformation.

Some survivors experiencing such a transformation, may be able to put it behind them “in a corner of their mind,” proceeding on a new path. There are those advocates who spring into action in very non-traditional ways.  They feel compelled to spread their message however they can.

Crime victim advocates may be able to find paid work within state or federal government arenas or non-profit organizations as well as some prosecutor’s offices and some police departments. However, frequently such positions are few and far between. Many of these positions are often the most low paying too!

Taken from my Blog The Murder Business… What’s Wrong With this Picture?

Crime Victim Advocates – (Court Based or Non- Profit)

$45, 0000 annually which is 38% lower than the average of all job postings!

Private Investigators (As of May 2009) Average Hourly wage is $22.66; Average annual wage = $47,130; Investigators with one year of experience = $25,602 annually; Investigators with 20+ years of experience. Range = $37,443 to $70,080 annually;

Private Investigators working in the Management, Scientific and Consulting Industries the most well compensated: Average = $90,030 annually;
Private Investigators in the Natural Gas Distribution Industry earn $83,080 annually; Private Investigators in the Computer System Design Industry earn $79,380 annually; Private Investigators in the Telecommunications Industry earn $74,800 annually; The highest paid private investigator employed by a state is Virginia at $$68,420 annually;
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

Police Detectives earn a range of $34,402 to $94,171 annually;

Homicide Detectives earn a median salary of $62,110 nationally; In a 2010 Survey of 435 detectives a salary range of $44,613 to $81,796 was reported; Detectives in the Federal System earn an average of $75,390 annually; Detectives in State Government earn an average of $54,940 annually; Detectives in Local Government earn an average of $61,230 annually;

Top Five Highest Paid Cities – Detective Salaries as of an August 2010 Survey) (Includes Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and St. Louis)

Salary Range on Average was $68,200 to 107,304 annually;

Domestic Violence /Intimate Partner Homicide- Director of Non-Profit:

  • Executive Director positions earn an average of $48,155 annually;
  • Program Manager Non– Profit position earns an average of $42,907annually;
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) earns an average of $39,996 annually;
  • Masters of Social Work (MSW) earns an average of $33,384 annually;

Left to their own devices, Advocates work at their passion on a part-time basis, nights and weekends, or they may even give up their paying jobs to pursue their mission IF there is another source of income in the household.  However, most people do not have such an option, especially in these dire economic times.

A majority of Advocates cannot afford the exorbitant costs of life coaches or most publicity and marketing companies. Moreover, many organizations are cutting paid speakers out of their budgets no matter how dynamic or compelling the speaker or message may be.

The realities of being an Advocate frequently include self-promotions, locating bookings for presentations, writing articles and books, (hoping to procure the services of a publisher “who will bite” and share your vision in order to disseminate your vital message and perhaps yield some income).

Case in Point:

Susan Murphy-Milano

Susan Murphy-Milano

Susan Murphy-Milano, a beloved former colleague and intimate partner violence expert, always presented herself –her countenance, style of dress, nails accessories etc. like she “had a million bucks.” In order to be professional, you must look the part, after all. However, reality tells a far different story.

Susan Murphy Milano is in a state of high indignation–a condition she experiences with exasperating frequency. Milano is an advocate for battered women. She’s not a lawyer or a social worker but sort of a guardian angel: she listens to their stories, tells them what their legal options are, hooks them up with shelters and counseling services, coaches them through media interviews and press conferences. For all of her trouble she receives no pay.”

 “Later she confesses, “Friday I was on burnout–I can’t catch up sometimes. I don’t think I got five hours of sleep all last week. . . . I don’t know how long I can keep going like this.” Milano knows that she courts exhaustion by keeping this schedule. A vegetarian, she worries about “keeping my health and mind straight” but smokes a pack a day. “I don’t relax well,” she admits. “I’m a real nervous Nellie.” But she shows no signs of slowing down.” 

 “It seems that no one thinks about how Susan is supposed to live, either. Being a full-time, unpaid advocate has been hard financially. When we first met, in late February, she said rather wistfully, “I’m all on my own. I get paid by writing speeches, doing fund-raising, consulting, writing articles. It’s pretty hand-to-mouth. . . . I keep waiting for someone to come and say, ‘We’ll hire you.'” But none of the agencies seemed interested.”

On our many phones conversations over two years, I would hear Susan crunching on some snack as we talked, with a “creaky cupboard “making noise in the background in her home. I asked her once, “Susan, how well do you live?” Her response, “Not very well, Donna.”

For all the thousands of Advocates out there who continue to forge a path for others selflessly, carry on, but make a Plan B for a steady income…  You deserve it!

Looks Can be Deceiving: Victim Advocacy, A Life’s Mission, but Never Fully Compensated