Remembering Your Loved One on Valentine’s Day
For those who recently lost their spouse, partner or significant other, Valentine’s Day can be a difficult holiday. Reminders of Valentine’s Day are everywhere. Stores are filled with Valentine’s Day candy and cards. Coffee and candy stores are decorated for the holiday to promote their Valentine’s Day specials. TV channels advertise upcoming Valentine’s Day movies, and social media features Valentine’s Day posts. For those who are grieving, all of these reminders bring up memories of Valentine’s Day cards, dinners, and expressions of love.
“Valentine’s Day is especially tough because it is the holiday to express your love,” said Ray Vance, MTh, a bereavement counseling professional with Ohio’s Hospice Pathways of Hope℠ Grief Counseling Centers. “With all the reminders in stores and in the media, there is no escaping that pain of loss.”
He encourages those who recently lost their loved one to remember that everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. “Give yourself permission to cry, or laugh, or be with friends,” he said. “Buy yourself chocolate or anything else that brings you comfort. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Remember, although your loved one is gone, your love will never go away.”
He recommends celebrating the love you have for your loved one by doing the following:
- Write a letter to your loved one.
- Light a candle in their memory.
- Look at pictures and reminisce.
- Play your loved one’s favorite music.
- Visit places you both enjoyed.
Deb Holt, MS, LPCC-S, CT, a bereavement counseling professional with Ohio’s Hospice Pathways of Hope℠ Grief Counseling Centers, says that for many who are grieving, they feel like they have just caught their breath after getting through the holiday season that began in November with Thanksgiving.
So, how do those who are grieving the love of their lives handle Valentine’s Day? Should they choose to ignore it and tough it out?
“The anticipation of hard days is may times harder than the day itself,” Holt said. “However, you can choose to focus on what Valentine’s Day means. It’s a day set aside to celebrate love. For those who are grieving, Valentine’s Day can be a time to focus on giving and receiving love of all kinds.”
To acknowledge grief and give love, she recommends the following:
- Invite a group of people over for a casual get together.
- Plan an evening out with others who have experienced the same loss.
- Choose to do five random acts of kindness during the day.
- Tell five people in your life what they mean to you.
- Volunteer to serve at an animal shelter.
Those who are grieving are encouraged to take time to reflect how far they have come since the death of their loved one and how they are honoring them by choosing to go forward with life.
Pathways of Hope℠ Grief Counseling Centers
Ohio’s Hospice offers grief and bereavement support through our Pathways of Hope℠ Grief Counseling Centers, which provide a variety of services to the communities we serve. Support and education are provided by a team of counselors and social workers, all with significant experience and expertise in assisting grieving children, adolescents and adults. For more information about Pathways of Hope, click here.
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