Wedding anniversary when spouse has died

What to Say On an Anniversary After the Death of a Spouse

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When a loved one loses a spouse, it can be hard to know what to say. After some time has passed, it’s also difficult to know when it’s appropriate to bring up a spouse’s death. Wedding anniversaries are a good example of former happy times that are difficult to navigate. 

Jump ahead to these sections:
  • Is It OK to Say ‘Happy Anniversary’ to a Friend Who Lost a Spouse?
  • What to Say On Your Friend’s Wedding Anniversary After a Death
  • What You Can Do to Be There for Your Friend On Their Wedding Anniversary

Here, we delve into whether it’s appropriate to mention a loved one’s deceased spouse on their wedding anniversary. We also talk about what you might say or what actions you might take on that occasion.  

Tip: Navigating anniversaries is one of many challenges one can face after losing a spouse. If you want to help your loved one through the process, consider sharing our post-loss checklist. 

Is it OK to Say 'Happy Anniversary' to a Friend Who Lost a Spouse?

After someone’s spouse dies, it’s not difficult to find the right condolences for the occasion. It’s harder to know what to say on meaningful dates and occasions weeks and months after the fact. Wedding anniversaries can be particularly difficult for someone whose spouse has passed away. Now, it’s a day where someone may feel especially isolated. 

A lot of people actually like it when you remember dates like their wedding anniversary. It can help them feel less alone. It’s nice to know that your spouse is remembered after death. The thing is, most people don’t want to hear the words “happy anniversary” after their spouse has died.

It’s okay to use the word “anniversary” — it’s the inclusion of the word “happy” that can be problematic (even if a lot of time has passed and your loved one is in a good place emotionally). You can acknowledge the anniversary and honor the difficulty of the day.      

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What to Say on Your Friend’s Wedding Anniversary After a Death

You don’t have to avoid the word “anniversary” altogether. You can mention it specifically if you think the recipient is okay hearing the word. If you’re not sure, you can always reference it more obliquely. 

1. “I’m thinking of you as your anniversary approaches.”

Are you wary of bringing up someone’s anniversary on the actual date? You can mention it a few days ahead of time. Your loved one is probably feeling a lot of anticipation about the day.

It may help to know that loved ones are aware of its approach. Bringing it up ahead of time can help you gauge whether you should follow up on the actual anniversary date.

2. “I know today might be difficult. I’m here if you want to talk.”

This is another way to broach the subject of a late spouse a little more delicately. It acknowledges the significance and opens up the door for your loved one to talk about feelings.

However, it also lets your friend or loved one avoid the subject instead. Your friend can pick up the phone to call you if she does need to talk. But if she isn’t up for it, she can just send you a quick text thanking you for the offer. 

3. “I know you must be missing [name] a lot today. Would you like to talk?”

Have you ever avoided saying a deceased person’s name around his or her loved ones? It’s a natural instinct. You want to avoid causing people pain, so you avoid saying names.

However, it can be really isolating to no longer hear the name of a deceased loved one. Talking about your loved one’s late partner by name is a simple gesture and a powerful one.   

4. “I always keep you in my prayers, but you’ve been on my mind even more than usual lately.”

Not everyone is religious. But if your loved one is, it may help to know you’ve been praying.

Even some people who aren’t religious actually appreciate knowing that their friends are praying for them. This is definitely a sentiment best reserved for someone that you know will welcome prayers.   

5. “I’m so proud of you. I know this has been a really hard year for you. You’re a really strong person.”

A lot of people like to talk about how proud a person’s deceased spouse would be. That’s one route to take. But not everyone is comfortable putting words into other people’s mouths. Instead of doing that, just talk about how you feel about your loved one.

Maybe your loved one is doing an exceptional job helping her kids cope with the loss of a parent. Maybe she’s taking a lot of time to do self-reflection and grow as a person. Or maybe she’s just doing her best to get by. Whatever journey your loved one is on, honor that. It will mean more than you know.   

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What You Can Do to Be There for Your Friend On a Wedding Anniversary

Words aren’t the only way you can support your loved one on a wedding anniversary. Here are some more practical ways you can help a loved one deal with a momentous day. 

1. Buy a memorial gift

Try and comfort your loved one by buying a memorial gift on the wedding anniversary. A small gift that signifies that special relationship is a thoughtful gift for a widow or widower.

For instance, you could gather photos of your friend and his or her late partner together. Load those files into a digital photo frame. A gift like this will enable your loved one to easily reflect on happier times.    

2. Offer to drive your loved one to the cemetery

Offer to drive your loved one to the cemetery for a graveside visit. You can explain you’re also happy to wait in the car if your loved one would like some time alone.

Sometimes people who are grieving want to be alone and also want nothing more than to not be alone. Offering to be there but also giving your loved one space is incredibly kind. 

3. Take your loved one to dinner

Many people celebrate their anniversary by having dinner with their spouse. On an anniversary after a spouse’s death — especially the first anniversary — your loved one may have a hard time dining alone.

Invite your friend or loved one over to your home for dinner or take her to a new restaurant. This can help combat loneliness and help her have new memories associated with the date. 

4. Send an anniversary condolence card

Even if you sent a condolence card immediately after your friend’s spouse died, you can send another card closer to the anniversary date.

You may have to go online to hunt the right kind of card down—you can find anniversary cards intended specifically for widows and widowers. The message they communicate is more akin to “happy anniversary in heaven” than a typical anniversary card. 

5. Go on a trip together

Sometimes events like anniversaries can be overwhelming for people. If you think your friend needs a distraction, a change of scenery can be a good idea. Offer to take her away for a girls’ weekend.

You can explore a new place or have a spa getaway. Make it clear to your friend that you can talk about her partner as much or as little during the getaway. 

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Things To Say and Do on a Friend’s Wedding Anniversary 

It’s not always easy to know what to say to someone going through hard times or what to say on an anniversary after the death of a spouse. It can be even harder to know what to say when those hard times have passed. Does your loved one prefer not to be reminded of that loss? Or is it comforting to talk about the person who died?

Sometimes the best thing to do is just ask directly. If you know that your loved one would like to reminisce, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Hopefully, these resources will help you figure out the best things to say or do.   

21 Short Wedding Anniversary After Death of Spouse Quotes

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How do you celebrate a wedding anniversary after the death of a spouse? There’s no easy way to answer this question. Some widows and widowers wish to spend the day reflecting on their lost spouse by looking at old photos and listening to music. Other people may want to spend the day with others, sharing stories about their deceased loved ones. 

Jump ahead to these sections:
  • Quotes About Grief As a Surviving Spouse
  • Uplifting Quotes for Surviving Spouses on Their Anniversary
  • Short Quotes to Share on Social Media

If you aren’t the person missing the spouse, it’s hard to know what to do and say. If you don’t know how to commemorate an anniversary, tell the surviving spouse. There’s nothing wrong with being honest and saying, “I know that Tuesday’s your anniversary, but I’m not sure how to commemorate the event.”

Here are some quotes that may help. They are about death and grief, but at the same time, they are also about everlasting love. Whether you are a surviving spouse or a friend or family member who cares, here are some thoughts that may come in handy as you face the bittersweet day — a wedding anniversary after the death of a spouse.

Tip: Our post-loss checklist can help you or your loved one navigate the uncharted waters of losing a spouse.  

Quotes About Grief As a Surviving Spouse

As your anniversary approaches, you may be looking for something to post on social media that would say “happy anniversary in heaven.” Doing so would show others that you are still thinking of your loved one, even if you haven’t been able to celebrate your anniversary together for years. 

You may also want to use these quotes for your own personal reflection. You may consider writing about them in a journal or reflecting on them as you go for a walk.

1. “Little by little, we let go of loss, but never of love.” — Unknown

Your grief may feel different now than it did the week after your loss. Regardless, you may want others to know how much you still love your deceased spouse. This sentiment is true irrespective of what types of relationships you lost.

2. “Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.” — Unknown

Versions of this quote have been attributed to very famous people, including Queen Elizabeth II. People are ready to claim this thought because it speaks the truth. 

3. “Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no separation.” by Rumi

Rumi is a medieval poet and Muslim scholar. 

4. “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” — C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis wrote a book after losing his beloved wife. In it, he shared his thoughts on grief and how they coincide with his Christian beliefs. 

5. “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” — C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis wrote about his wife’s death in “A Grief Observed.” He also wrote the Narnia series and wrote prolifically about the Christian faith.

6. “There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they are gone, the light remains.” — Unknown

Was there something special about your loved one? People with that extraordinary effervescence are always remembered. Did your loved one have that special light?

“Grief changes shape but never ends.” — Keanu Reeves

It’s important to realize that grief doesn’t follow the same timeline for everyone. It doesn’t “go away,” and it’s not something you “get through.” We like the imagery that Keanu Reeves uses to describe how this act is ever-changing but ever-present. 

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Uplifting Quotes for Surviving Spouses on Their Anniversary

Perhaps instead of focusing your thoughts on grief, you would rather think about eternal, everlasting love. Whether your loved one walks the earth or not, you may still feel the connection and the pull that comes from a love that never goes away. 

Here are some quotes that speak about eternal love. Some of them may make you feel connected to your spouse. 

8. “Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day.” — Unknown

If you felt genuinely connected to your spouse, you may feel her or her presence wherever you go. You may be reminded of your husband or wife dozens of times a day as you go through your daily life. 

9. “True love doesn’t mean being inseparable; it means being separated and nothing changes.” — Unknown

Death, of course, is the most profound separation. Regardless, true love continues even after death.

10. “My love for you is a journey starting at forever and ending at never.” — Unknown

This is a lovely sentiment to use during the eulogy of your loved one. 

11. “Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was unlucky in love. He had a series of unsuccessful relationships and unrequited love interests. Regardless, Van Gogh seemed to have a passionate heart. 

12. “Time is very slow for those who wait. Very fast for those who are scared. Very long for those who lament. Very short for those who celebrate. But for those who love, time is eternal.” — Unknown 

Consider posting this on your wedding anniversary to celebrate the love of your life. This has been falsely attributed to William Shakespeare.

13. “There is no pretending. I will love you and I will love you till I die. And if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.” — Unknown

Consider adding the sentiment to a frame next to a photo of a couple. This would make a lovely gift for a widow or widower. 

14. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

This is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This section of Matthew is known as the Beatitudes. Others include “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” and “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

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Short Quotes to Share on Social Media

Do you talk about your grief on social media? For some people, the emotions are too raw to share with anyone but their closest friends. Others may want to share their grief because they know that others will understand. Regardless of your stance, here are some quotes about love, death, and grief. 

15. “People keep telling me that life will go on, but to me, that’s the saddest part.” — Unknown

While this is not the most uplifting quote, it may tell the truth about how you feel. Look for grief support groups in your community or talk with a counselor if your grief takes you to dark places. 

16. “Someday soon, we all will be together If the fates allow. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” — Ralph Blane

You’ll recognize this as a line from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Even though it may have been written about the separation of a soldier from his family at home, it also works to describe the relationship between a survivor and the person they lost. 

17. “They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.” — William Penn

William Penn was an early colonist, and Pennsylvania was named after him.  

18. “Death ends a life. Not a relationship.” — Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom is the author of “Tuesdays With Morrie,” a book about a professor giving his last lessons before he dies to one of his favorite students. This is one of the most important lessons of life that Albom learns from his professor.

19. “Love is space and time measured by the heart.” — Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust was a French essayist and novelist who wrote in the 1910s and 1920s. 

20. “Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.” — Jeff Zinnert

Those who have loved know this as truth.

21. “What you are to me has no ending, unless you can understand what forever and infinity really mean.” — A.R. Asher 

This proclamation of eternal love would work well for wedding vows as well as a headstone. 

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How Do You Say Goodbye to Your Spouse?

Whether you were with your spouse for eight or 58 years, it is difficult to say goodbye to someone you love. Your grief may feel like a wide array of emotions. You may feel anger and sorrow. You may also feel what C.S. Lewis described — fear. 

You may wonder how you will sleep without your loved one lying beside you. You may worry about paying the bills or maintaining the house. You may also wonder what to do with your wedding ring. 

While you may feel very much alone, you are not the only one who has lost a spouse. Consider reaching out to others who are in a similar situation.

If you're looking for more help navigating life after the death of your spouse, read our guides on losing a spouse to cancer and how to refer to a deceased spouse.

Husband died. True love lets go. Death story

    • The person has died. What to do?
    • Traditions and rituals
    • How we harm the soul of the deceased
    • How to help grieving children?
    • How to help a person's soul?
    • How to help the grieving?
    • How to survive the death of a loved one?
    • Feeling of guilt towards the dead
    • I want to die
    • There is life after death!
    • How the soul lives after death
    • Certificates of life TAM
    • Life and death
    • Legal issues
    • They survived the loss
    • Stories for the mourners

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Quote of the day

God rest the soul of the departed servant of God S. The path is perfect; the traveler joyfully enters his native home.

Theophan the Recluse

The author of the article


True love is when you can let go for the sake of his happiness. Husband died. I am 26 years old, he was 27. But I do not cry, I hold on so that his soul is easy. This verse was born. Maybe it will help someone, I don't know. I believe that my love and prayers help him there. I know that I will always be with him. But everything is the will of God.

Your lips, your arms, your shoulders…

I won’t forget – I can’t and don’t want to

I let you go, go, do not be afraid,

I can, I will endure everything,

Believe me and calm down,

about you and the Jesus I Muli.

Without you, of course, it is very difficult.

I can't find a better friend than you.

I hope my feelings don't interfere with your path.

I believe in God and his decision,

I bow before such a fate,

, meet you, without doubt,

people are my most expensive!

They say that when you lose, only then you begin to appreciate. It's all wrong with me. I always knew that Kolya was the best friend in the whole world. We started dating, I just finished school, met for a long time - 7 years, and then got married. By the time we got married (I was 24 and he was 25), we already knew each other from A to Z. We had been through a lot together. We already had mutual friends. I knew his family well, he knew mine well. He was perceived by my relatives as their own, as a native. I knew what he would think in any situation, not just what he would say. I can talk about him for a long time, but probably for everyone who has lost a loved one, this person is the best. But still I will say that he was tall, handsome, with a sense of humor, open, did not like people who did not say something, loved and wanted children, always came to the aid of everyone, was a great romantic. I will never forget how he could suddenly give a huge bouquet of tulips or daisies. I know that Kolya loved me very much. I think there are people who think that he cheated on me or something like that. Because he was very handsome and never climbed into his pocket for a word. He had a charm that many liked. But I know that there can be no talk of any betrayal. It is a pity that God takes away such sincere, real people, who are very rare in the modern world. Kolya lived for me, since childhood he lacked affection and care. His mother died when he was 13. For him, I was his family and meant a lot, as he did for me. Our two years of marriage were the happiest for both of us.

When he died 3 months ago (suddenly, from a heart attack at the age of 27!!!) the first thing I thought about was how he is now. I think he was also shocked that he died. He didn't expect this. We had big plans. We wanted children and so on. Nobody can believe that he had a weak heart, he was always strong.

Caring for him saves me from despair. I believe that there is a soul, and that he did not die, but passed into another state, which I will know about someday. But if his soul is near, at least in the first days after death, then he would be very sad if it were very hard for me. Knowing how much he loved me, I'm sure he is going through now, how I am without him. Therefore, in order not to torment his soul, I try not to cry and constantly pray for him. I always thought that most often a person cries out of self-pity, although he is not always aware of it. When loved ones die, we often cry because we won’t see them again, won’t talk to them, won’t walk this planet together. But in fact, they feel good there, especially if the person was good, and if we pray for him. And it’s not worth keeping your loved one with your sorrows, to whom you wish well. After all, he also worries about you.

When I visit Kolya's grave, I talk to him. Maybe he can't hear me though, I don't know. But I tell him not to worry about me, that everything will be fine with me, that I love him and pray for him.

Many people, seeing my behavior and calm attitude to what happened, think that I'm just in a state of shock and that I'm not behaving adequately. Nothing like this. I am in good condition. I just don't think about myself, but about him. That's all.

People often say to me: “Nothing, you will still be happy”. This is of course very annoying, because I understand how people represent happiness and what they mean. But the thing is different: how I imagine my happiness. Maybe I'm not unhappy at all. I am grateful to God that Kolya was in my life, that I learned what real sincere love is when you want to take care of another person and take all his worries on yourself. After all, there are people who live up to 100 years and never know what love is. Better to love and lose than never love.

I know that everything is God's will. After all, God initially knew that Kolya was destined to die at the age of 27. And for some reason He gave Kolya to me. I am grateful to God for this. Also, I think that it was not without reason that God gave me to Kolya. Maybe there is no one else for me to pray for him. All people on earth are sinners, and Kolya too. So I pray that God will forgive him and help him there. I hope I can help my loved one, and when I die (maybe in 100 years, maybe tomorrow, I don't know) I would like to be there next to him.

It's hard to give advice to others when you're only going through it yourself (after all, only three months have passed) and you live with the feeling that you're in a movie, that it's just a role, that the movie will end and everything will fall into place. I think the most important thing is not to grumble or blame someone, this will only make the person you have lost worse. Think more about him than about yourself, think about how you can help his or her soul. The Church teaches that alms help the dead a lot. But this almsgiving must be given with a pure, sincere heart.

I'm sure God takes people to him for a reason. There is a higher plan for this, which we people cannot understand. There is a story in the Bible that when Jesus was walking by a cripple, Jesus told his disciples that if this man had walked, he would have done a lot of evil. I brought this example to prove that we do not know much of what God knows. Maybe if my husband were alive, he would have to go through some kind of misfortune. And only by death did God save him from it.

My mother says that if there was an opportunity, she would change places with Kolya. And I think that I would not change with him, because I know how hard it would be for him to lose me.

Of course, it is very difficult to console a person who does not believe in God. I am saved by the belief that life goes on there, only on a completely different level, which does not fit in our understanding. Being strong is very difficult. I am sure that I am very weak, and in fact God helps me. And all the thoughts that I wrote here were also given to me by God. Without Him I would not have been able to do this.

I think it is not uncommon for a person to come to God only after the death of a loved one. Don't bring it up. Go to God because He wants to save you. And loves you despite your flaws.

How to continue to live? I hear this question often. He annoys me. Why make me think about it? I don't know what will happen tomorrow, how can I plan something 20 years ahead. Due to the fact that Kolya and I forgot about the meaning of life, we lost many wonderful moments. For example, it was possible to go to the forest for mushrooms, or just to nature, to enjoy the tranquility. No, we devoted most of our time to work, in the hope of achieving great success and earning more money and prestige, so that we could finally start living a normal life, having children, and so on. It turns out that this is impossible, because tomorrow you can suddenly die. We need to live now and not think about the future.

Now I find joy in communicating with my friends, who are all very good, I support my parents, I have nephews with whom I like to play, there are unfinished business for Kolya, I have a job that I love. Now I try to find something unusual, important in every moment of my life, I catch every moment. Even now I am writing a letter for the forum - also a certain moment of my life, which may not have been in vain, and my thoughts will help someone.

I wish everyone who has lost a loved one peace of mind and confidence that you can still help him. Do not forget that there are people who also love you and care about you. Continue to live, learn to live in this world without the one you have lost. Do not think that he or she has disappeared into nowhere. They're out there somewhere and they can see us. Let's not hurt them with our suffering.

Julia, 26 years old


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The deceased husband surprised his wife and brought people to tears

A resident of the Philippines received an e-mail from her deceased father, but there was no need to be afraid. A message from the other world helped her arrange a celebration for her mother on her silver wedding anniversary with her late husband. His greetings from the other world brought to tears not only the woman herself, but also thousands of netizens.

Ali Mendoza from Manila City, Philippines shared her parents' 25th wedding anniversary story on her Facebook page on June 10 and made people cry. And no wonder: their example once again proved that love can be eternal.

This fact can be confirmed by a grandfather from the USA, who was made to cry by a patchwork quilt, because it was a memory of his departed wife. His compatriot also had to wipe her tears because of love: the girl was looking for a photo on her dead husband’s phone, and found his last letter to her.

But Ali had to become an intermediary between his dead father and living mother.

Three weeks ago I received a pre-sent email from my father. At first I was afraid to open it, who would not be afraid to open a letter from a man who died ten months ago, besides, it was three in the morning.

Ali with his father and mother

Ali managed to overcome her fear only two days later, and when she read her father's message, she couldn't believe her eyes.

The letter contained instructions for me to celebrate their wedding anniversary this year. Apparently, before he passed away 10 months ago, my father planned everything. He even contacted a florist and paid him to deliver flowers to my mom for every special occasion: her birthday (August 19th), Valentine's Day and their anniversary (June 10th).

The man also wrote a message for his wife, which contained all the words she would like to hear from him. Also, Papa Ali himself took care of what flowers should be in the bouquet.

He ordered that white and pink roses be wrapped for his wife. The latter - because the woman likes them, and the former because they once became fateful for the couple.

When my father took care of my mother, she had two suitors. She told herself that whoever brought her white roses would be "the one," and apparently my father was the one who brought the white roses.

In the instructions, the father asked Ali to set the table for the three of them, ordering whatever food his widow wanted. In addition, he advised the girl to decorate the room with photographs of the family, and also to make sure that the flowers would really come.

Ali herself was struck by his concern for his mother.

Even death couldn't stop my father from loving my mother and showing her how important she is to him.

The man did not forget to give his daughter an instruction that will be useful to her not only during the holiday, but also in later life.

BE SMART AND BE GOOD. DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID. Follow all of these instructions. Thank you. I love you baby. Dad.

Ali started preparing the surprise at 11 pm on the eve of her anniversary and finished by half past five in the morning, half an hour before her mother's alarm clock rang. The girl hung helium balloons around the room, attaching photos of the family to the ribbons from them. And then she handed her mother a bouquet in which she put a picture of the couple.

And her mother's reaction was beyond all expectations. Seeing the surprise from her late husband, she burst into tears and could not calm down. The girl wrote that, despite this sadness, the woman was happy, because she knew that her husband had organized and planned all this.

However, not only Ali's mother shed tears that day. Facebook users also could not contain their emotions after reading the girl's post.

Ali's post collected more than 25 thousand likes in a day, and 12 thousand people shared it. Soon, her entry was dragged to Imgur, and then to Reddit, and users of the site also had to get handkerchiefs.

Even those who are not usually prone to violent manifestations of feelings could not resist.

Papa Ali has become a role model for some commentators.

Learn more