February 2001 was a month marked by shocking, out-of-the-ordinary, deadly, life-altering events that impacted many individuals both at a personal level and at a community level.

Patrick Wen Tsu Hsu, Miyaka Geh and the victims of the Isla Vista tragedy, Nicholas Bourdakis, Christopher Divis, Elie Israel and Ruth Levy are being remembered in a multitude of ways this February. It is the first anniversary of their deaths and anniversary grieving is a normal part of the mourning process.

There is no one right way to grieve. For some, there may be an effort to distract themselves with classes, friends and other activities. For some, there may be a desire to remember alone. For some, there may be a desire to remember with others. The important thing is to honor your own needs and those of your friends. Whatever you find most comforting and fitting for the occasion is right for you. What others find most comforting and fitting is right for them.

If you have found yourself feeling sad, more emotional, irritable or have had difficulty sleeping – these can be normal responses to an anniversary like this. You may not even be consciously aware that your feelings are connected to the events of last February.

Most important is to give yourself permission to have your feelings. Give yourself permission to honor your feelings in a way that is appropriate for you. Pay extra attention to getting adequate sleep, eating healthily and attending to managing your stress. Do not use alcohol or drugs as a way to avoid the feelings. In time, you will feel better.

Recognizing and acknowledging your feelings and being patient with yourself is the best way to move through what is a normal part of the grieving process. We don’t “recover” from the death of those we care about because we can’t return to what it was like before. They are gone. We do integrate their absence, feel their loss and honor their memory as we continue in our own lives.

Holly Bradbury is a staff psychologist at Counseling and Career Services.