My mother in law passed away in January. Her birthday was the middle of last week, and everyone in the family besides me went to her grave site.
I don't want to sound heartless, but I didn't feel the need to. I went to her visitation, and funeral. I helped get everything back in order in my father in law and my husband and kids lives after it was over. For me, that was enough. I move on differently, I guess.
I didn't discourage any of them from going. It seemed to make them feel better. I almost went with my husband, because he seemed to want me to. But for me, going and looking at a stone with her name on it, with her body laying in a box in the ground is just unnecessary.
I spent parts of all but three of the 11 days she was in the hospital and nursing home before she died. And, I guess the fact that she was not my wife, mom, or grandma might have something to do with why I don't feel the need to go talk to the box, so to speak. Then again, I haven't been back to my father's grave since he was buried in 1999.
Everyone has to reach closure in his or her own way. I am not trying to say there is anything wrong with commemorating someone's birthday after he or she has died. I just want people to realize there is nothing wrong with NOT wanting to go to that, or not feeling the need to do so. I still have all the memories of the time I spent with the people who were important in helping me shape who I am. I still feel love for them, and still miss them.
I don't feel everyone must go through the grieving the same way. Not everyone is comfortable with going to a memorial or funeral. If not, it isn't the right or responsibility of another person to make the individual feel he or she must go. I have had conversations with my husband about what I would ideally like to have happen when I die. I have explained that I want no clergy. I want to be cremated. I want maybe a picture of me, and maybe a few words to be said, and for everyone to be able to stay or go or not even show up if they like. But, I have also told him my opinion that it really doesn't matter what gets done. My time will be finished, and I won't really have a clue what happens, and that they should do whatever they feel like they need to do to move on. I won't care, as I won't be there any more.
So, for me, when the end comes, that is it. I hope I will have had a good life, and that the people who matter to me will feel like I have been a person who mattered to them. That is about all I can hope for. And then, I will just be particles and won't have a care in the world. I am good with that.