Grief, Love, and Hope Co-Mingle on Valentine’s Day
All holidays can be difficult for those of us who have lost a loved one. Valentine’s Day, however, can be especially hard for those grieving the loss of a spouse or partner. What can we do to make it through the day?
It’s important to give yourself permission to be sad. Stuffing emotions can cause deeper pain.
- This might be a good day to sit and write about your feelings. Maybe you could write a letter to your loved one sharing both the difficulties and joys since he or she found eternity.
- Think of the beautiful times and write about what they meant to you. It’s okay to share your struggles too. This might become part of a journal in which you write whenever you desire. Remember, in whatever you write there is no judgement. They are simply a place to acknowledge how you feel and celebrate the good times as well.
- Give yourself permission to cry and to laugh.
Traditions are important. They are often accompanied by special memories. This Valentine’s Day why not start a new tradition that honors your loved one? After all, what became a tradition once had a new beginning.
- Donate to a charity that you and your loved one found meaningful.
- Invite a friend who might also be alone to go see a movie.
- Have a movie (or quilting, or game, or sharing new recipe) night at your house.
- Go to the cemetery if that would help.
- Do you know someone else who might appreciate some flowers? Take them and enjoy some conversation with them acknowledging both your losses.
- Do several acts of kindness throughout the day. Whether big or small, they will make a difference to someone, and you will feel better for doing them.
- Think about what you might do to honor your loved one-something he or she would know you would enjoy-and do it.
- If there are children, plan something fun but acknowledge the missing person saying something like, “Dad would have loved this.”
Even if you find these suggestions won’t work, be kind to yourself.
- Treat yourself to a meal. Maybe even have it delivered if you don’t want to go to a restaurant. Even better, invite someone over to share it with you, perhaps someone who has lost someone also.
- Get a relaxing massage.
- Go for a walk looking for ways to enjoy what you see.
- Go to a movie.
- Invite someone over for a cup of coffee or tea.
- Do something creative (work a puzzle, try a new recipe, sew something for yourself or someone special, etc.).
Walking the journey of loss never ends. It does get better. There is hope. Always. Even when difficult times come, and we cannot see a good future, God’s love and mercy will never fail. Psalm 36:5-7 declares:
“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds…. How precious is Your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of Your wings.”
God knows our grief, loves us right where we are, and is our source of hope even when life seems like a mere shadow of what it once was. Because of God’s love and presence in our lives, we are never alone. May you find His peace and hope on this day of love-not as the world loves, but as only God can love us.