Commemoration Day

Commemoration Day

Commemoration Day has became one of my favorite days out of the year. It is a special day my family and I made up. Commemoration Day is the anniversary of when I spoke out about my abuse and broke the cycle of generational trauma. This day is very special to me because it is the day my abuse stopped and the day I found my voice.

This “day” is actually two days. I spoke out on March 4, 2010 and my dad was taken away on March 5, 2010. I’m going to talk about how Commemoration Day actually became a thing and WHY I look forward to it.

When I was in therapy years ago after I first spoke out about my abuse, this anniversary was so hard on me. I would self harm, sabotage myself, and act out. I dreaded this day. It was a reminder of the day my dad left and my family “broke apart.” It was the day I lost the person I felt the closest to. It was the day my entire life and what I had always knew changed. My therapist saw how hard of a day this anniversary was for me so she gave me the therapeutic homework assignment to celebrate how far my family and I have come instead of dwelling on the past. In all honesty, I thought this was the stupidest idea I have ever heard. I, of course, wanted to make my therapist happy and be the “perfect patient” (which was another thing I worked on in therapy for years) so I did what she asked. We looked up different words on thesaurus.com and came up with “commemorate” because it means, to honor.

I remember the first commemoration day my family and I had. My mom made a chocolate sheet cake and it had butterflies (to represent growth) on it. We did not really do much. We each went around and said how we grew from the previous year and honored how far we have all come. It was pretty cool to hear how everyone grew and this even brought us closer as a family. Each year after that, we would do something special. We would either go out for dinner, spend time as a family, pretty much whatever we wanted to do. One year we even went to Disney! Every year became easier and easier and I soon started to look forward to this anniversary. I looked forward to celebrating my growth and honoring how far we have come. I started to look at this day as a day of strength and empowerment. These were the days my healing began. I never realized a simple therapy homework assignment could change my entire life.

The first few years of doing this celebration was tough. I felt like I shouldn’t be celebrating my family breaking apart and my dad not being with us. I still loved him. When I started changing my outlook on this anniversary, my life started to change. When my family all moved and went our separate ways, we still celebrate in the family group chat. I now get to celebrate with my friends and with the people closest to me. This year, I am in the best and most content place in my life I have ever been!

Changing your prospective can be tough. Celebrating something hard can be tough. It is important to make sure you have a support system set in place. If you are going through something hard right now or you are going through an anniversary of something, I encourage you to celebrate how far you have come. Honor your strength and see how your life will change.

Here’s to 12 years!

-m

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