Navigating Grief and Valentine's Day
Dr. Pamela A. Malone, LCSW-S, Fellow in Thanatology
Clinical Director, The Austin Center for Grief & Loss
You have just gotten through the holiday season and begun a new year without your loved one. And now you are faced with February and the month’s biggest reminder of loss, Valentine’s Day. It does not matter if this is your first Valentine’s Day without your loved one, or decades have passed, it is normal that you would miss that person. Themes related to Valentine’s Day include love, relationship, and togetherness that can be difficult to manage when grieving the loss of a loved one.
Acknowledge your feelings.
Talk about your feelings with trusting people such as friends, family, a bereavement support group, and/or a grief therapist.
Be gentle with yourself, and practice good self-care.
Remember that your grief is your grief and that there is no one right way to grieve.
Reminders of Love
Valentine’s Day often brings back memories of your deceased loved one.
You are reminded of the void you feel without your deceased loved one.
Stores and media are full of visual images of love and happiness.
Ways to Manage Valentine’s Day Grief
Write a letter to your deceased loved one.
Have an imaginary conversation or dialogue with your deceased loved one.
Light a favorite candle or buy flowers in their honor.
Gift yourself with a special Valentine’s present.
Make a special meal with family and/or friends and share memories of your deceased loved one.
Soothe yourself with music, tears, and laughter.
Make a list of the ways your deceased loved one enriched your life and continues to influence you.
Do something your deceased loved one enjoyed.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Valentine’s Day after the death of a loved one. You can cope by planning ahead, get support from caring others, and allow yourself to experience all the emotions that arise such as anger, joy, sadness. You will survive this. It might not be pretty, but that is okay. Grief is messy. Have self-compassion.
For more information on ways in which The Austin Center for Grief & Loss can offer you and your family support, please visit austingrief.org or all 512-467-7878 to schedule an intake appointment.