A Valentine’s Day Survival Guide For Those Who Have Lost a Loved One
Losing someone you love is always painful. But the sadness can be magnified when your special person passes away near Valentine’s Day. After all, it’s a holiday meant to celebrate all types of love – romantic, platonic, and familial. And it’s perfectly normal not to want to engage in joyful celebrations when you’re deeply grieving.
If you have lost a loved one and find yourself feeling in despair this Valentine’s Day, consider these three ways you might choose to spend the day:
Lean Into Your Grief
Ignoring feelings of sadness will only make your grief journey more painful in the end. Allow yourself to feel all of the feelings you’re experiencing, even if they aren’t what society expects on Valentine’s Day. Remind yourself that you have every right to cry rather than celebrate. You have every right to feel anger instead of love on a day that serves to remind you of all you’ve lost. Your feelings are valid, your loss is very real, and your grief will be unique and personal to you. Let it wash over you and course through you as you learn to move forward with your “new normal.”
Redirect Your Focus
There’s nothing that will replace the hole you feel in your heart on your first Valentine’s Day without a loved one. But it may help to redirect some of your focus toward making the day more cheerful for someone else who might be struggling. You could:
- surprise a friend with a beautiful bouquet of flowers,
- send valentines to residents at a local nursing home or children’s hospital,
- do any number of good deeds in memory of your lost loved one.
If you lack the energy for something like this, even the simple act of spending quality time with a beloved pet could be a positive distraction. Sometimes, bringing a smile to the face of someone else is the best medicine for a griever.
Ignore The Special Date
Sometimes, practicing avoidance can be healthy – not necessarily when talking about your feelings of grief, but when it comes to ignoring the incessant Valentine’s Day advertisements. In truth, it won’t simply be Valentine’s Day itself that is extra hard this year; it will be weeks of commercials, grocery store specials, and radio ads accosting you daily beforehand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with insulating yourself from outside forces that enhance your pain, so think about how to protect yourself. For instance, you could only watch television shows that have been previously recorded so that you can fast-forward through commercials or treat yourself to a grocery delivery so you won’t have to see the store’s Valentine’s Day displays. You won’t completely forget that it’s Valentine’s Day, of course, but it doesn’t have to be forefront in your mind either.
As you continue grieving your recent loss and preparing for a Valentines’ Day without your special person, know you are not alone. If none of the above suggestions feel like the right way for you to approach the holiday, remember that you are empowered to spend the day taking care of yourself and your broken heart in whatever way you need to. Valentine’s Day may always hold sadness for you going forward, but it can also evolve over time to take on new meaning that is personal and fulfilling to you.