Reminders of romance fill the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, from candy hearts to love songs to those ubiquitous jewelry commercials.
But February can be a sorrowful time if you are mourning the death of a spouse or partner. The sight of other couples holding hands may trigger strong emotions as you reflect on the time you shared with a loved one who is no longer there.
Here are some ways you can manage the grieving process this Valentine’s Day.
Remember, There Are No Rules
There is no one “correct” way to observe Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday. And it’s okay to feel sad.
If reminders of Valentine’s Day trigger grief responses, that’s okay as well. Give yourself time to work through that.
Some people find that keeping a journal helps. Write down how you feel about your loved one and any special things you used to do together. Putting pen to paper may help you organize your thoughts and relieve stress.
Some people may choose to ignore the occasion. Going about your day business as usual may keep the sadness from overwhelming you. Or you might decide to watch a comedy instead of a romance movie.
Honor Your Loved One
How would your significant other want you to remember them on Valentine’s Day?
Think about how you would celebrate when they were alive. If they used to send you flowers, perhaps you could purchase a fresh bouquet for yourself. You might visit a favorite location of theirs.
Other ideas for commemorating your loved one include planting a tree in their memory, writing them a letter, sharing stories with family members or visiting their grave if you feel up to it.
Spend Time with Others
The traditional association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love makes it tough for those who’ve lost someone special. But the holiday can also be a celebration of all kinds of love!
- Plan a gathering with family or friends. Sharing a meal or other activities with people you care about may make the evening more enjoyable.
- Spend time with your children or grandchildren. Make a yummy treat together or let them pick out a favorite game or movie.
- Talk to someone close to you and tell them how you feel. Or send a card or letter to cheer up someone who may also be feeling down.
- Join a local bereavement group. Spending time with others with similar experiences may lift your spirits.
- Perform an act of kindness. You can honor your beloved by making a donation to a charity in their name. Volunteer for a local service organization, such as mentoring a young person or visiting nursing home residents.
- Spend time with some furry friends. Many animal shelters are happy for volunteers to help feed, walk and play with their four-legged residents. You might even consider adopting a pet to keep you company, if you are able to care for an animal.
Be Your Own Valentine!
Sometimes we neglect our own needs after a loss. We may suffer from poor eating, lack of exercise or not enough sleep.
One way to be kind to yourself is to enjoy a relaxing day at home. Curl up under the covers with a good book. Practice yoga or meditation, or write in a journal.
You could also plan a special outing for one. Order a meal at your favorite restaurant, visit a local attraction or treat yourself to a massage.
At Crown Hospice, we understand what it’s like to struggle with the loss of a loved one, especially on holidays. Our bereavement services let you connect with others who have experienced a similar loss and celebrate the life of your significant other.
Contact us to learn more about emotional support and spiritual healing in times of loss.