Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It is the Feast Day of Saint Valentine: the celebration of love and affection. Typically, people think of having a “date” and not the bigger picture of giving and receiving all types of love. However, this can be extremely difficult if your loved one is no longer with you – because they are dead. Memories of the past can come flooding in and leave you feeling like you have moved backwards two steps to everyone you have taken forwards in your healing.
Grief is love. When the object of your love is taken away with no hope of return, this can be the most painful kind of love. Grief is love and there is uncertainty of knowing how to love someone who is gone. Grief is loves frustration, bitterness, anger, and resentment at deaths devastation.
Grief is all the love you want to give but cannot. Grief is love with no place to go. But love does not die when someone dies. You can find how to give it. You can find someplace for it to go. I put together a few tips to help you find how to still show love.
Celebrate other types of love
There is love for the one who is gone which you may not be able to physically demonstrate. You can show up for others in love as a volunteer or do a random act of kindness for a stranger. Make an effort to show a little extra compassion and understanding to those around you. Do you know of someone who is experiencing challenges? They would appreciate an uplifting conversation and words of encouragement. Focusing your energy on loving others can be a way to give your emotions an outlet without spending the day dwelling on your loss. Self-compassion is a form of love. Remember to take care of yourself.
Accepting that your life has changed, that your loved one is gone and not coming back is a huge step. Otherwise, you are fighting reality and it depletes your emotional resources. Going over and over the past in your head to find where things could have been different will do nothing but bring you distress. Accept that your loved one is gone. You cannot undo what happened.
Make Valentine’s Day a regular day
Remember that you always have a choice on what you do and how you think. You don’t have to live up to others’ expectations of celebrating the day. You can opt out, even if others do not understand. Make plans to do something with a friend, get outside and walk, volunteer, and help others. Valentines Day is what you make of it.
Process your feelings
This does not mean that you tell your story to anyone that passes by. If you have someone that supports you, this would be a good time to reach out to them. Processing your feelings can also be achieved by journaling. You don’t have to be a trained writer, perfect or deeply profound. This is your opportunity to express your feelings whether happy, sad, or angry. Write it out! You can write a letter to your loved one. Then turn the table by writing a letter to yourself from your loved one. What would they tell you about your grief, your loneliness, your sadness? Would they encourage you to accept they are gone, that they would want you to heal and move forward? I find the letter from my loved one is the most impactful. Allow yourself to be really present with your loved one’s memory and allow yourself to cry for as long as you like. We all have our rituals and reminders that make us feel close to deceased loved ones, go ahead and engage in them. Believe that next year will be a little bit easier.
Focus on selfcare
There are many choices for selfcare. You can speak positive words to yourself: “This is hard, but I am doing my best,” “This is not forever. It will pass,” “I am sad because I love, and I would not trade the love that I have received and given.” Go outside and breathe the fresh air. Eat a healthy meal – forgo the sugary sweets as they will cause an emotional and physical crash. Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water. Get a massage. Stretch. Meditate. The list is endless of what you can do for yourself. Remember to take care of yourself.
Take what you like from this list, add other things, and do your best in making it through Valentine’s Day. Share your love in different ways and with other people. I believe you can do it.
Are you looking for more support with grief this Valentine’s Day?
Working with a grief specialist can help you find ways to cope with your emotions that leave you feeling supported and not alone. We can be helpful when dealing with grief on Valentine’s Day. Schedule your FREE Session today Coaching – The Grief Specialist