When you’ve lost someone you love, getting through holidays like Valentine’s Day can feel almost impossible. With reminders of what you’ve lost all around you Valentine’s Day has the potential to be one of the most upsetting times of year when you’re grieving a loss.
Whether it’s your first or your fifth Valentine’s Day following the death of the person you loved, our guide will give you a few tips and suggestions on how to make it through the day.
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, one of the best things you can do on Valentine’s Day is to embrace it from a new perspective. Spend the day doing things that keep your love alive, like taking the time to visit somewhere that was special to you such as a park you used to visit together or the place you first met. You can write them a love letter, spend the day with your children and grandchildren, or lay flowers at their resting place.
Making it through holidays when you’re grieving doesn’t mean forgetting about your loved one, rather it means we find new ways to celebrate while honouring their memory.
Take a day for yourself
For some of us, being faced with the couples celebrating their love can be too strong of a reminder of what we’ve lost to cope with. In cases like this, it may be best to take the day off altogether and keep away from those painful reminders.
If this is more you, try using the day to celebrate yourself and the progress you’ve made. Stay home and do what makes you happy, focusing on your favourite hobbies and pastimes and treating yourself to your favourite foods.
Share your love with others
If you feel up to it, consider using Valentine’s Day as the perfect excuse to celebrate those who’ve helped you through your loss. Each year, more and more people are choosing to use Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate love in all its forms, such as the bonds we share with friends and family.
So, consider arranging a night out with your friends to share laughter and exchange gifts and well wishes, or invite your family round for a home-cooked meal full of love.
Understand your limits
If you know that Valentine’s Day may be difficult for you, be honest about it. Let your friends and family know how you feel and keep in touch with them in the run up to the day itself. Those closest to you will undoubtedly understand what you’re going through and will want to make sure you’re coping okay.
Whether you want to be left alone or would appreciate people checking in with you, let your loved ones know how you feel ahead of time so they know how to support you.
Do something in your loved one’s memory
Keep your loved one’s memory alive on Valentine’s Day by starting a new tradition altogether. Use this day as a way to celebrate the love you shared and honour the time you spent together by doing all the things your loved one would have wanted you to do.
Take up a challenge, visit the place you’d always talked about or use the time to practice your favourite activities in a new way. Instead of being consumed by their absence, turn Valentine’s Day into a positive time where you commemorate your loved one’s life and memory with fun-filled activities.
No matter what you decide to do with your Valentine’s Day, it’s important to know you’re not alone. It can be a particularly difficult time for many people, especially those who’re coping with grief on Valentine’s Day. That’s why it’s important to recognize that this may be a painful time for you and take steps in advance to prepare, and ultimately protect, yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about bereavement, and how to cope with it, our series of useful guides are available online 24/7. Or, if you’d like to speak to someone, our friends at Cruse Bereavement Support have over 60 years’ experience supporting people who’ve lost someone they love.