There is no list of steps to take to ever prepare someone for losing a loved one. Whether you were together under 5 years or over 50 years, preparing to live without them can feel impossible. Whether you were married, living together, or dating, if the love was there and feels absent without them, here are a few tips to keep that love strong, keep the bond going, and remember the legacy of your loved one’s life this Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day after a loved one has passed away can be a difficult time, whether it’s the first or the fifth, the loss can feel a little stronger during the holiday that’s dedicated to couples. Even if you never celebrated Valentine’s Day together or even if you think it’s a meaningless holiday for floral and chocolate companies to profit from, there are still commercials, advertisements, television programs and restaurant specials all geared toward couples which can make the loss feel more intense. In this post you will find two ways to approach the holiday to put a positive spin on it. You can try both approaches or pick whichever one you think may be best for you.
Option 1: Find the Love within Yourself
Acting on this option is good for those of you who are trying to find yourselves, rediscovering who you are when you’re not the spouse, the wife, the husband, or the partner anymore. When choosing this option, here are some activities to try to bolster yourself:
1. Have Friends Over or Go Out with Friends
Sharing the holiday with friends can make the feeling of being alone dissipate, making the ache lessen. Enjoying the company of others who have experienced loss—not just widowers but divorcees too—can unite you with others who may be experiencing similar feelings on Valentine’s Day. You can learn from them how they make it through, and they can learn from you. If you find this is helpful, make it an ongoing tradition.
2. Treat Yourself to Something out of the Ordinary
Take a me-vacation, indulge yourself in self-care like a spa-day, or have ‘me’ day doing only things that you want to do. Or just simply splurge on something you’ve been wanting for a while or have a tasty six-course meal. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it.
3. Volunteer for You
One of the most therapeutic things is trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, volunteering can help give you a different perspective. Whether you’re volunteering with children, elderly, the homeless, the hungry, or animals, bringing whomever it is joy can let yourself share in the joy you brought them and take your mind off of the loss.
4. Make a Date with Family
If you can’t have a date with your loved one, make a date with their progeny—the children or grandchild you shared with them. Their kin are the best extension of them, you may notice little quirks or similar traits that remind you of your loved one, making it feel like they are right there with you.
Option 2: Continuing the Love you two Shared
5. Honor Your Lost Love One
Their passing doesn’t have to mean they are gone, because their life was lived, their influence was made, their legacy left, so honor it. Remember them this Valentine’s in your own special way.
6. Talk to Them
Find a quiet place, envision your loved one in your mind’s eye and talk to them. Don’t answer yourself, let them answer by envisioning the things they’d say and how they’d say it. The memories you have of all your past conversations will aid in bringing your conversation to life. You can talk to them in your mind or out loud, whichever you find to be more therapeutic.
7. Write your Loved one a Letter
For many, letters were a thing that you had to do to keep in touch while they were deployed or while they were at home, so relive those days. Write them a letter like you used to. Even if letters were not a thing you did together, writing your feelings on a piece of paper or out on a computer can be therapeutic to get those feelings out in the open.
8. Take Out their Photos
Review their life, remember what they looked like, review your photos of them, whether this means taking out the photobooks, going through your folders on the computer, or pictures in the cloud on your phone, or just the ones hung on the walls around the house. Surrounding yourself with them, picture them, envisioning them can help you feel their presence.
9. Incorporate your Loved One into your Valentine’s Day
Go to that special restaurant that meant something to you both, whether it’s the one you always went to together, or the one where you sat for your biggest anniversary, or where you were engagement. Sit at the same table or the spot in the restaurant you two always chose. If it’s not a restaurant that takes you back, then make the meal they loved. Just simply relive a memorable date. You won’t be alone, their memory will be with you.
10. Finish a Project they were Working On
Whether it’s getting that dead grass green, or finally finishing the paint job on the shed. Whatever project was important to them but they weren’t able to finish, finish it for them, envision that they are there with you, working on it right alongside you.
We hope these tips can make your Valentine’s Day a happy one, restoring the memory of your love to let you feel them again.
Litsa Elizabeth Williams. “16 Suggestions for Ways to Continue Bonds with your Loved One” Whatyourgrief.com.
Hilary Young. “How to Approach Valentine’s Day When You’ve Lost A Partner” Medicalguardian.com