Love, Loss, and Valentine's day.
It's Valentine's Day, and for many, that means chocolates, roses, and spending time with our loved ones. But for some, it can also be a day of mourning. Those who have lost a loved one—a parent, a child, a partner, a spouse, a friend—know what I mean.
These simple holidays can bring up a great deal of pain by bringing up memories and reminders of what or who you're missing.
Celebrate the love
What if we could use Valentine's Day to celebrate the love that has been and will always be with us? What if we could honor those lost while still celebrating and cherishing the love we have all around us?
This Valentine's Day, let us celebrate our journeys of growth and self-compassion.
Here are some tips on how we can not only survive valentine's day but also celebrate valentine's day while honoring a loved one's memory.
You might not feel like celebrating love today, and that's ok. Whatever the case may be, it's important to acknowledge how you feel and accept that it is OK.
Yes... It's OK!
It's important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel on a holiday after the loss of a loved one. Not everyone feels romance and flowers.
Everyone grieves differently, and there is NO time limit on grief.
Take time for yourself and allow yourself to grieve in whatever way feels right. it is important to allow yourself time to process your emotions without judgment and embrace whatever feelings come up during this time.
I'm still learning how to do this, and just this morning I had a meltdown over the loss of my sweet dog Tucker. It's been over 3 weeks and I still can barely bring myself to talk about losing him. Tucker was my sweet, strong, and constant companion that got me through a lot of bad days. We found out Tucker had cancer and was in pain so we knew it was time for him to be with Nick and Jack. Still so painful.
Valentine's day and grief
Acknowledging Valentine's Day and the grief that it can bring can be a difficult task for many of us who have lost a loved one. It can be a painful reminder of the special person no longer with us, making it practically impossible to put on a brave face and celebrate in the same way as before.
On this day, we may feel confused and overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. I still find this true with a lot of holidays, and sometimes find myself feeling guilty for enjoying myself. I then remind my self it is ok to feel like this but it is also ok to enjoy the holidays and my family. Our lost loved ones want us enjoying our families and our life. Life is to be lived.
And... remember, IT's OK!
Remember to be kind to yourself, take your time, and find ways to honor the love you shared with your loved one in a way that is meaningful for you. You can do this through journaling, creating a physical memory box or tribute page, or even lighting a candle in remembrance
Honor Your Loved One:
Find ways to honor the memory of your loved one on Valentine's Day. This can be something simple like lighting a candle, writing a letter to them, or spending the day doing something they loved. Remember to be kind to yourself, and find ways to honor the love you shared with your loved one in a way that is meaningful to you.
Today I chose to buy myself two beautiful flower bouquets... Every time I walked by them today on my kitchen table it thought about my two beautiful boys that are no longer here... but because I thought of them every time I saw the flowers.. they were here with me, in my heart, on my mind and in the smile on my face.
Spend Time With Loved Ones:
Spend time with your family and friends who are still alive this Valentine’s Day. Knowing that you have people around you who care and understand can help you get through the day. Some of the strongest bonds of friendship are born out of the darkest of tragedies.... use today to celebrate those friendships and the love that has grown.
Tonight we have dinner plans with another couple who have been friends with us before the loss of Nick and Jack, but I can tell you from personal experience friendships either get stronger or get lost after a loss.... Celebrate friendships and family members who continue to show up! That's where the love is!
Show Love to Others:
Don’t forget to share some love with those who are still alive this Valentine's Day. Reach out to your family and friends and let them know how much you appreciate them in your life. Today I secretly dropped off the cutest cupcakes at my oldest son's ( well technically 3rd oldest) apartment while he was at work. The cupcakes had the sweetest valentine's day messages of love on them. (Thank you Nothing Bundt Cakes!!) My youngest is coming home this weekend so he will get his when he gets home... well if there are any left!
Send a card or note to someone who’s lost love recently—on Valentine’s Day, or any day.
Let them know you’re thinking of them and that you remember their loved one, too. When we lost Nick and Jack, their friends continued to send us cards and flowers on the anniversary of their death, knowing that they were still being remembered was the best feeling of love. We will never forget that act of love. Gestures such as this can mean the world to the grieving, and healing, heart.
It doesn't matter who or how you serve - the act of service will bring healing to yourself and others. Reach out to a friend in need, volunteer at a local food bank, or take someone special in your life to the hospital; whatever it is that resonates with you. Serving those around us can fill our hearts with love and joy more than we ever thought possible.
Take care of yourself. Self-care is important on Valentine's Day, regardless of your grief. Do something that will bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. This can be anything from an outdoor walk to a hot bubble bath with candles.
Whenever someone is kind enough to compliment you, don't simply dismiss it. Let those loving words fill your heart and appreciate the sentiment - because with more love in your life, you'll have so much more to give out! So next time you receive a heartfelt expression of admiration or affection - take that moment to say "Thank You", truly mean it...and let that love grow within you.
Hug as many people as you can.
As a hugger, I understand the tremendous power that radiates from an embrace full of compassion. You'd be startled to see how many individuals are desperately needing a bit of solace through one simple hug - especially those who have recently lost their significant other; try hugging them and don't be anxious about the response!
If you give out love authentically, it will never fail to be welcomed in return. Hug as often as people let you; it'll heal both parties while simultaneously increasing your capacity for love within yourself. Hugs given and received are contributing to our self-care... Hug away!!
By taking these steps, you are sure to fill your heart with love and joy this Valentine's Day. From the bonds of friendship that stands strong through sorrow, to self-care practices that help us heal, there is nothing more powerful or meaningful than love. Celebrate it today and every day!
Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜