Navigating Through Your Loss on Valentine’s Day

By Kathlyne Barnum, Licensed Marriage Family Therapist with The Elizabeth Hospice

The Christmas tree has been taken down and the ornaments have been put away. The New Year’s holiday has come and gone. Just when you think the holidays are behind you, red hearts … boxes of chocolates … and stuffed teddy bears start to invade the aisles at the local stores. Valentine’s Day is coming. For those who are grieving the loss of a beloved partner, this commercialized day can feel particularly cruel given its emphasis on togetherness, love and romance.

No matter how you celebrated Valentine’s Days (or not) in the past, here are some potentially helpful suggestions to help you cope with the grief you might feel on or around Valentine’s Day as you navigate through your loss:

Family and Friends Love

*Make a special meal or dessert to share with others

*Watch a feel-good movie as a family in your pajama’s

*Call or visit with a dear friend or family member

Stranger Love

*Consider big or small acts of kindness throughout the day

*Pay it forward by having someone with a smaller order go ahead of you in the grocery line

*Bring canned goods to a neighborhood pantry

*Buy someone a cup of coffee

*Clean out your closet and donate to a charitable organization

Self Love

*Treat yourself to a spa treatment, fresh flowers or a specialty coffee drink

*Engage in a favorite activity you enjoy or have been wanting to try

*Enjoy this beautiful weather and go for a walk in your neighborhood or at the beach

*Journal…nap…read a book…sleep in

Of course, you can also treat this day as just another Monday by not doing anything special at all. The choice is yours. The hope is that the day will come and go without much fanfare and that you’ll be able to pat yourself on the back for getting through it, even if one hour at a time.  You just might want to make it a regular occurrence to live life through the lens of love every day despite your grief. Tulips or daisies?

Kathlyne Barnum is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and a Clinical Counseling Supervisor. She’s been with The Elizabeth Hospice since 2011 and has been practicing therapy with an expertise in grief, loss and bereavement for the past 20 years. She plans to buy herself a bouquet of flowers and enjoy chocolate fondue this Valentine’s Day.