Valentine’s Day without your loved one: Do you wish the day would just go away?
By Jill S. Cohen, NYC family grief counselor
Here we are, coming up on another Valentine’s Day. Another Feb. 14 appearing on our calendars and at a Hallmark store near us. And there are just way too many little sugar candy hearts with imprinted sayings dominating the grocery store aisles.
Well, here’s the deal. You are allowed to be sorely missing your loved one. You can even let yourself pout at some time during the day or evening. You can completely opt-out of celebrating the greeting card holiday this year. You have a “pass” on this holiday. Unless, of course, you feel a bit like celebrating anyway.
Consider these thoughts for a moment or two...
Try to remember some of your favorite Valentine’s Day celebrations with your loved one, and see if you can find a smile in the process of this remembering. (I know, not easy, but doable).
Think about how lucky you were to have a “sweetheart” to celebrate with (Again, not easy, but true).
Realize that you still have a relationship with your loved one and the special love for him/her that you always had. However, the bond and that love will be integrated in your life a different way now.
Choose celebration, rather than avoidance, of the holiday, if you want to. Commemorate your loved one with a ritual. Light a special candle, display a heart-shaped object in your home, enjoy a food or a movie that you two enjoyed together. Honor that love in this way.
Write a love poem or love prayer and read it aloud. In the stillness, your voice speaking those words may be comforting.
Buy yourself a gift that your loved one may have bought for you. Your loved one would have done it, but you can still have that memory and own that gift, by gifting it to yourself.
Honor your loved one by donating to a local charity that was important to him/her. That is a way of spreading love to those who need it and can benefit by your resources.
Reach out to a special friend a relative, and surprise them with a call or a note on Valentine’s Day to let them know that you feel love for them.
If you have a grief counselor, use the theme in one of your sessions. Share with the counselor some of the ways in which you and your partner showed love, felt love, or acted with love. It can be an inspiring time and a good way to refresh your memory of some of your experiences. A counselor can provide the safe space for you to tell your stories any way you want. And there’ll be nobody else around to say, “Ok, are you almost done?”
AND ONE MORE THING.. on February 15, a new day will dawn, and the national “commercial” day of love will be over.