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Surviving Valentine's Day and Grief

Valentine’s Day….. as “the couple’s” holiday approaches, many people are often triggered by powerful emotions and memories of their beloved. Valentine’s Day can be seen everywhere, with merchants selling cards, candy boxes, flowers, and so much more. All reminders of the loved one we are missing so much.

Many people around you don’t see the connection between Valentine’s Day and grief, leaving you to feel even more alone. So often, we struggle to know how to make it through. For some, celebrating or acknowledging the day in some way helps and for others finding a diversion and ignoring the day is best. Only you can decide what is best for you.

Remember, grief is an expression of love. When we lose someone, we love deeply, we experience an anguished side of love that we express through grief. It is probably the most painful kind of love. Remember, love never dies; it changes…….

Here are a few tips to help you through

  • Ignore the rules – there are no right or wrong ways to get through the day and do it your way. Pay attention to your own needs. Choose activities (or no activities) to get yourself through the day and remember there is no right or wrong way!

  • Plan ahead – make a plan on how you would like to spend the day; this can help ease stress and anxiety and remember you can change your plans at any time.

  • Honour them – find a meaningful way to honour or memorialize your loved one. It can help channel your thoughts and feelings and feel closer to them. Continue the bonds you share with your beloved. Write a love letter, visit their gravesite, share your favourite stories with family or friends, hike your favourite place, continue the bonds you share.

  • Be sad – it’s okay to be unhappy; many people hate Valentine’s Day. Have a good ugly cry, grief sucks, period!

  • Ignore the Day – If you feel the day will be overwhelming, take the day off, stay home, avoid possible triggers like stores or social media.

  • Be your own Valentine –have a nap, some yummy food, some flowers, and chocolate is always good for the nervous system.

  • Find connection – plan an activity with people who have experienced loss, get together with family and friends, cuddle your furry friends.

  • Pamper yourself – cook your favourite meal, light some candles, watch your favourite movie. Treat yourself to a spa treatment, retail therapy, something that you do to relieve stress or makes you smile.

  • Remember – this is all changeable; you can change your mind and do something different anytime.

  • Find support – if you feel the Day is going to be too hard to do alone, find support, ask a friend or family member, ask a professional

“You see, love and grief are two sides of the same precious coin. One does not—and cannot—exist without the other. They are the yin and yang of our lives… Grief is predicated on our capacity to give and receive love. Some people choose not to love and so never grieve. If we allow ourselves the grace that comes with love, however, we must allow ourselves the grace that is required to mourn.” – Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph. D.

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