Grief and Valentine's Day

Holidays and Special Days / Holidays and Special Days : Eleanor Haley

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I don't want to alarm you, but I just had a look at the calendar, and it's almost Valentine's Day. I know some of you were planning to skip from February 13 straight to February 15, but I can't let you do that because then you'd be living a day ahead of everyone, and you'd miss all your appointments and favorite TV.

Valentine's day is one of those "I appreciate you" holidays, like Mother's Day and Father's Day. As such, there's a whole faction of people who would prefer to ignore the holiday altogether…you know…because the person they're supposed to appreciate is dead.

I won't go into all the reasons why grief and Valentine's Day don't mix well; if the day is hard for you, you already have an idea why. What I thought we could do is discuss a few options for making it through the day.

1. Take the day to be completely miserable. It's okay to be unhappy, and this is one day when you're not alone in your misery -- a lot of people hate Valentine's Day!

2. Ignore the day altogether. Ignore the obnoxious jewelry commercials. Ignore the cards, ignore the chocolates, ignore the girl sitting next to you at the doctor's office chatting on her cell phone about her romantic plans. know what? Just stay home…stay home and don't turn on the TV.

I can sense you're beginning to lose confidence in my suggestions. It's not realistic to pretend the day doesn't exist, and you don't really want to spend the day feeling miserable. So let me offer one more suggestion.

3. Reframe how you think about the day.

Typically when we think of Valentine's Day, we think of romance. That's why the day is stereotypically hard on people who don't have a "date." But look deeper, and you see at the heart of the day is 'love' (pun wholly intended). Valentine's day ought to be about giving and receiving love of ALL kinds.

I can hear some of your starting to groan. Stop that; it's not as cheesy as it sounds, and you can embrace Valentine's Day in all sorts of ways, big and small.

Friend and Family Love:

Big Steps

  • Invite a group of people over for a casual get together or dinner party. 
  • Plan a night out with others who have experienced the same loss. Acknowledge the day is hard, but make it your goal to have fun and laugh. Go to the movies and see a comedy, have a game night, bowl, go to a comedy club, sing karaoke. 
  • Allow your children to pick an activity. Let them dream as big as your budget will allow. Grieving children need opportunities to have good, healthy fun, and seeing them smile will warm your heart a bit. Don't be afraid to acknowledge that being together as a family highlights who is missing and take every chance you get to remember and talk about your loved one, even if it's just to say, "Dad would have loved this."

Small Steps

  • Let someone close to you know you are feeling down but don't want to be alone. Invite them over for a quiet night in. 
  • Have a movie night with your kids. Choose to watch feel-good movies like comedies, animation, or cheesy old classics. Order pizza and put on your PJs.
  • Send a card or flowers to a friend or family member who you know is also feeling down on Valentine's Day. Perhaps they are grieving the same loss you are, or they have experienced some other hardship. Let them know they are not alone.

Stranger Love:

Big Steps

  • Volunteering your time with an organization or charity is an excellent way to interact and connect with people while also helping others. Consider choosing an organization your loved one would have supported and tell yourself you're doing it in his/her honor. 
  • Attend or join a group of any kind. I'm leaving this broad for a reason. Support groups are an excellent way to receive and give support, but there is also benefit in joining any group that gathers around something you like. Camera clubs, choirs, prayer groups, widow/widower happy hours, you name it; they all allow for the benefit of human interaction and recreation. 
  • Set out to do 5 acts of kindness throughout the day. Big or small, they will put more love into the world and will have the added consequence of letting you feel good about yourself.

Small Steps

  • Write a letter. Write to anyone. Write to an organization or professional you think is doing a good job. Write to an individual you know who is struggling. Write to a child or adolescent you want to encourage. Write to your deceased loved one. 
  • Make a monetary donation. Make it in honor of your loved one for the amount you might have spent on dinner and a movie.
  • Set out to do 1 act of kindness during the day. 

Love for Yourself:

All Kind of Steps

  • Recognize your limitations. Don't push yourself into an activity you're not up to.
  • Treat yourself. Taking budget into consideration, take yourself out for a day of relaxation – whatever that means to you. It may be a spa treatment, retail therapy, or a monster truck rally; as long as it relieves stress or makes you smile, anything goes.
  • Deliberately set aside time to engage in any activity that helps you cope with grief – exercise, yoga, journaling, art, etc.
  • 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. 

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57 Comments on "Grief and Valentine's Day"

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  1. Dot  February 15, 2024 at 5:11 pm Reply

    Valentine’s Day is my birthday. My younger sister & I always celebrated a combination Valentine’s Day/Birthday together. She went out of her way to make my birthday uniquely special. When our mother was alive we included her as well. Both are gone now, robbed of their lives by the dreaded cancer that took my mother 6 years prior to my sister’s untimely death. Since then my birthdays have been but sad reminders of all we shared and will never share again. Although I certainly appreciate cards, gifts and texts from others, I cannot help but sense the absence of my sister. That huge void looms over me. I miss the first morning call with her sweet voice wishing me a “happy birthday.” I miss her carefully selected cards that stood out from all others. I miss making plans with her for how to spend the day. I wish I could just sleep through that day, but it would not change the fact that my best friend/comfidant/soul mate/ sweet sister of my heart, will still be missing from my life, the next day and ever after. My heart is forever shattered.

  2. Shey  February 15, 2024 at 6:37 am Reply

    I loss my husband on 3/6/2021. We celebrated our first valentine day as newly weds on 2/14/19 and then in 2/14/2020. Ever since his departure from earth. I just don’t feel like being around ppl who have love shown to them. I usually shut down and isolate myself from social media and my family..💔💔🥀🥀

  3. Gwen  February 14, 2024 at 6:00 pm Reply

    My son died nine days before Christmas 2019, so
    Christmas 2023 was our fifth Christmas without him. He was only 35 and died at the Mayo Clinic after only eight days there. His wife and I stayed with him the eight days. It was before Covid, so I am eternally grateful, for that blessing, so I could be with him until the end. I saw my boy take his first breath and his last breath. Nothing harder than burying your child. I don’t care much for St. Valentine’s Day, but this year is also Ash Wednesday and church brings me comfort. So for me, it’s the first day of Lent and that means tons more to me.

  4. Karen  February 14, 2024 at 5:23 pm Reply

    It’s 3 years since the diagnosis and will be 3 years in May that Bob’s dead. The radio station we listen to played all the music that would make us laugh and dance. I cried all morning before going to work this afternoon

  5. Peter ( East London, United Kingdom 🇬🇧)  February 14, 2024 at 5:09 pm Reply

    My late partner and l didn’t need valentine’s day.
    We had nothing against it or anyone who wished to enjoy the day in anyway at all. Each day we told each other how much we loved each other. And we didn’t need a day for this, we didn’t need a business to tell us to buy flowers, a gift, a card, as my partner said if you need a day to tell someone you love them something not quite right. She was correct l felt the same.
    Valentines day to me is man made event, what happened before we had this day?? Like mothers day do you only tell your mother on this day how much she means to you??
    So to close if you want to enjoy Valentine’s day please do so l respect this, also respect others may not and more importantly tell your loved one each day you love them.
    Best regards from East London, United Kingdom

  6. Carm  February 14, 2024 at 4:02 pm Reply

    David Paul Russell
    02/14/2014 – 02/14/2024
    I hate that it’s been 10 yrs. I’m doing okay. Even today!

  7. Bob Wiggins  February 14, 2024 at 4:01 pm Reply

    For me, it’s my mother I grieve for every day. She passed away 5 years ago, we were all we had, no other family. My friends each have their own family, so I’m not important to anyone. Days like this are tough for me.

    • Peter ( East London, United Kingdom 🇬🇧)  February 14, 2024 at 5:26 pm Reply

      Hello Bob.
      I lost my partner coming up to four years ago.
      She was all the family l had, it is hard to deal with the loss like yourself the people l knew have families etc, and have disappeared.
      You are important your mum(Mother) wouldn’t wish you to think this. How l got thought today Feb 14th, is by thinking of the good times and didn’t need a Feb 14th to think how much you loved them. Don’t know if this has helped in anyway. Peter from East London 🇬🇧

  8. paul ziemnicki  February 14, 2023 at 3:40 pm Reply

    GB. Sorry for your loss. Believe me I really know exactly how you feel.I lost my wife and best friend 2-9-2021. We were married 46 years.Retired and found out she had appendex cancer 2MOUNTHS LATER. Lost her battle after 20 months.She never complained.When she died I told people I would never be right and I”m not it dosent get better.I found this saying someware it describes me.”There”s a time I remember.When I did not know pain.When I believed in forever’and everything would stay the same.”Theres also a saying i’m not reliegious but here goes God Laughs At People Who Make Plans.Take Care pal,hope we make it to the other side.PAUL

  9. Alexandra C  February 14, 2023 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Thank you for your valentines day article – it was beautifully written and really practically helped me!

    Its 5 months since my boyfriend Neil died in an accident. Ive thought about him today and what we were doing last year, on a commuter train from Laon to Reims to pick up a hire car…as mine was broken after bless him he misfueled it on a french weekend (so everything was closed). We laughed about it and told the story to lots of our friends! Fast forward to Valentines Day this year I want to be strong, I have a friend coming over for a non valentines day evening, something a bit different!

  10. Anastasia LeSage  February 24, 2022 at 4:39 am Reply

    I liked the article about grief and valentines day. Thank you.

  11.  February 14, 2022 at 9:26 am Reply

    Today is Valentine’s day, and a hard day for me. I lost the love of my life, my partner Juan this past December to suicide. It still seems like only yesterday. My faith in God and prayers are helping to get through this terrible time. February 28th will be his birthday, Juan would have been 34 years. That day will also be hard for me. I miss him so much and though my Juan fought to live, the world was just too much to bear. I will hold on to your memory in my heart forever.

    • Patrick Magoon  February 15, 2024 at 12:00 pm Reply

      Johnny, I am so sorry for the loss of your partner, Juan. I am glad to know that your faith is helping you to deal with your devastating loss. I loss my husband Harry on March 5, 2023 due to complications from a stroke. Harry and I were together for 34 years. My grief comes like ocean waves, sometimes I can go a full day without crying and some days I just can’t find the strength to do much of anything but feel sad and lonely. I also look to my higher power for guidance and try to remember Harry with more love than pain. I hope you find peace and know that Juan will always be with you in your heart. We never get “over” our grief, but we do work “through” it.

  12. Bonnie  February 13, 2022 at 2:44 am Reply

    My husband died 11 days after Valentines Day; since February 14, 2021 was also our 31’st wedding anniversary your words about grief and Valentines Day was welcome. He died 8 days before his 70th birthday so we will be celebrating his life and his 71st, on March 5 of this year. I carried on our tradition of Valentine decorations and posted photos on social media of the two of us together…I miss him terribly but ‘celebrating’ the memories those photos bring back, has helped me get through this month. Someone posted ” The happiness is just leaping off your faces! Great picture”. Thank you.

  13. Leona Moote  February 12, 2022 at 1:33 pm Reply

    My husband of 25 years passed in June of 2020. Valentine’s Day was tough last year but this year I started preparing myself early. I baked up a bunch of lovely treats and goodies and divided them into care packages along with chocolate hearts and cinnamon hearts. Two days ago I set out on delivery to drop 19 packages which I called ‘love bombs’. The recipients were a few lonely friends, some elderly persons, some recently bereaved, some sick and shut-ins, some young tired moms and some small children. The packages were received with such joy, gratitude and happiness. As thrilled as the recipients were, I can actually share with you that it thrilled me even more to see their faces as I handed them my gift. It was like I took all the sadness out of my mind and soul, sprinkled it with rainbow dust and watched it turn to goodness and gold before my eyes. I did something small that cheered so many and I spread a little love around to others who really needed a pick-me-up moment. It made me feel happy and positive about Valentine’s day approaching. We can all use a little love!

    • Monica Miner  February 8, 2023 at 1:47 pm Reply

      It’s almost Valentines day amd it will be the 1st one in 20years without one of my daughters. My baby was murdered by her husband on Sept 13th 2022 infront of their 8monthold daughter who i am now in the process of adopting. It’s only been almost 5months and I am so unhappy, miserable, alone and feel like i am barely surviving. A piece of my soul is missing and I don’t want to deal with ANY HOLIDAYS because they will never be the same again however I have 3other kids (26,18,17,) and a now 1 year old granddaughter I have to push through for and it’s hard VERY HARD. I just want to crawl in a hole and cry sometimes die. I don’t know how to deal or cope without her. The loss of her has changed me in so many ways. I miss her so much. And I just want her back!

  14. Diana  February 13, 2021 at 5:18 pm Reply

    My husband died a little over 2 years ago after almost 50 years together. He was the most amazing and sweetest husband anyone could ever have. I have never felt so much pain in my life and it just doesn’t seem to get better. Last week was his birthday and on the 15th our anniversary. I pray for courage to get through each day and for all of you who are struggling with the pain of loss. God bless you all.

    • Isabelle Siegel  February 17, 2021 at 12:36 pm Reply

      Diana, I’m truly so sorry for your loss and for the pain you’re being forced to endure. Your husband sounds like an incredible man who is missed dearly. I have the utmost confidence that you will find the strength to get through this. That said, please know that you don’t have to “get over” or “move past” this loss. I highly recommend you check out this article: All the best to you.

    • Peter ( East London, United Kingdom 🇬🇧)  February 14, 2024 at 5:49 pm Reply

      Hello Diane.
      My partner passed away coming up to four years ago. We were together for 30 years l miss her each day and never forget her. I never felt the pain of loss so much, All we wanted was to be together and our retirement years together l am 63 now my partner would have been 60. Believe me some how you do find the way to carry on l don’t know how we do it but we do .
      I truly wish you well, and sorry for your loss. Best regards. Peter (East London 🇬🇧)

  15. GB  February 12, 2021 at 8:41 pm Reply

    My most dreadful of times because it was always my most prideful accomplishment every year since 1981 when we got married that Valentines Day. This year especially hurts as it would have been 40 years -one of the big targets we had as we had retired. But she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer with mets to her brain June 2018- she got 2 months and it was all gone. The anniversary clock stopped at 37. We had expected 40-50 outside shot at 60. Its now 3 years come August and I am still in such pain and grief. She was 62. I miss her so much every single day. The dream home we bought for retirement she only got 5 months in-2 of which were during the disaster with chemo-radiation and hospital visits then finally home hospice and then she was put in inpatient hospice where she passed after 7 days. We never saw it coming as along with the Drs. I too missed all the signs. The back pains -her weakness- fatigue…Now our home is my tomb-way too big for me alone. I hate the day I once loved so much.

    • Isabelle Siegel  February 17, 2021 at 12:47 pm Reply

      GB, I am truly so sorry to hear that you were forced to endure such pain. I can feel the strength of your love for your wife just by reading your words… And that is something no one can ever take away from you. Please know that it’s okay to still be grieving your loss even after three years… I recommend you check out this article: Never hate the fact that you loved so deeply: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” All the best to you.

    • HRENRIQUEZ  February 14, 2023 at 10:03 am Reply

      My spouse passed away February 10, 2023 at 39. We had been together since Nov 27, 2008. Brain cancer, we too missed all the signs: sweaty nights, morning headaches, shoulder and back pain, weakness, fatigue for the last 5-6 months. Unbearable, severe headache made us go to ER on January 22. Swollen brain, 4 days later results came back – lymphoma. Already spread to different parts of the brain, inoperable, and very aggressive with not even a chance to have any treatment work. He was the most loving, generous soul on earth and I know he would not want me to ever be unhappy. I miss him so much and always will.

    • Karen  February 21, 2024 at 11:33 am Reply

      Dear GB,
      Your story sounds so much like mine.
      Married 2/13/82. Thought we’d have 40 maybe 50 years together. November 2020 he was gone.
      Heart surgery went wrong and moved to a hospital 4 1/2 hours from home, covid, hospice and passing. 38 3/4 to the day. I struggle with most Holidays….he passed Thanksgiving morning with our four children and myself at bedside.
      Our home isn’t the same and neither am I.
      Know that you aren’t alone in your experiences and feelings. There are days when I struggle with my thoughts and feelings and wonder how anyone gets through the passing of a beloved one. I am thankful to have found “what’s your grief ” and that there are so many others out there that are dealing with the same feelings.
      There were so many dreams and plans that now will never be realized with our loved ones, but I finally found that maybe doing them would be therapy for myself and my hurting heart.
      Our retirement dream was an Alaska trip. I will do that and bring all my love and sweet memories along with me and just let the emotions and pain be there as well. I can’t change what happened but I can make peace with it. My deepest sympathy to you for your great loss.
      Wishing you healing and peace on your new life journey.

  16. Linda  February 12, 2021 at 10:23 am Reply

    I am halfway through of my year of “firsts” after the death of my husband of almost 51 years last July. He was my everything and we were inseparable especially after retirement. I keep expecting the feelings of grief to lessen but so far they haven’t. Or family is small and live too far away to be of comfort, although my sweet daughters try. I feel like there is a bottomless well of tears. Even the happy memories cause tears because they only seem to amplify what has been lost. My husband always brought me roses on Valentines Day with a beautiful card that I always saved. I would give anything to have even one more day with him even though I know that would never be enough.

    • Isabelle Siegel  February 17, 2021 at 12:55 pm Reply

      Linda, I’m so very sorry for your loss. The love you had with your husband sounds so special… I hear that you miss him tremendously. I understand your expectation that the feelings of grief will/should lessen, but I want you to know that it’s completely normal and okay for them to persist. I highly recommend you check out this article: Oftentimes, we don’t “recover” from grief. Instead, we learn to adapt and to go on despite the pain. I am confident that you will find a way through this. All the best to you.

  17. Linda Carey  February 14, 2020 at 6:09 pm Reply

    My husband has been gone over 5 years, how I get through Valentine’s Day is I buy myself flowers and I have kept all the cards we gave each other over our years together I read my Valentine’s Day cards from him, it’s like getting a hug from him. I make myself a nice dinner and celebrated the love we shared. My thoughts are with all of you grieving ❤️

  18. Sue M.  February 14, 2020 at 4:02 pm Reply

    My husband has been in long-term care for 4.5 years due to frontotemporal degeneration (dementia). He turned 64 in January and was diagnosed at age 56 in 2012, although he began showing symptoms in 2010. I had to miss the Valentine’s Day party at his long-term care center on 2/12 because I had a cold. I usually bring him candy because he has no dietary limitations. Still not able to visit yet because of illness. Might buy some candy tomorrow when it goes on sale and bring it to him next week. Don’t want to invite anyone over because of my cold, but maybe a Post-Valentine’s lunch or dinner with a couple of friends next week sounds good. And did (even though this was not spurred by the post), donate to a cause I believe in.

    May you all find something to find comfort and joy this Valentine’s Day.

  19. Melissa  February 14, 2020 at 8:16 am Reply

    Today is my birthday too and it does bring up the lost loves. I just read an article on how grief is not linear and it is so true. There is no time to grieving; it happens when it happens as it happens.

  20. cindy  February 14, 2020 at 3:54 am Reply

    thanks for this . i have now known what i feel is absolutely normal . am feeling better now.its all going to be alright for me

  21. Elizabeth  February 13, 2020 at 9:11 am Reply

    My partner died 10 years ago in a car crash every Valentine’s Day take a rose down to him and write how I’m feeling give my children a card and chocolates and mum a card thanking her for being there for me can’t watch any love film it’s the kids that keep me going as he lives in them

  22. loving mother  February 25, 2019 at 7:01 pm Reply

    i want to thank Dr Mack for bringing my husband back, if you have any relationship problem, you can report it to him reach him on this email…robinson.buckler@ yahoo. com,,,, ??

  23. Bricka  February 14, 2019 at 1:06 am Reply

    My husband died four months ago unexpectedly due to cardiac arrest. He was 57 years of age. Valentines day is our anniversary and we would of been married 27 years. I am so sorry for the pain everyone else is experiencing everyday and especially on Valentines Day. May the Lord help us all to get through it.

  24. Nj  February 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm Reply

    8 months since my beloved left. He actually LOVED Valentines Day. Last year he was in a rehab facility after surgery. And was very upset about missing valentines. My sister and brother in law brought steak dinnners with all the trimmings to the center. They found us a conference room to use and had decorated everything. It was a day of love for all 4 of us. I miss you so much my dear!!

  25. Jennifer  February 12, 2019 at 9:39 pm Reply

    My husband made a big deal for Valentine’s Day even though for the last 10 years we had to celebrate on a different day because I’m a restaurant manager. This is my first one without him in 20 years. I will be working, but have found myself already being so anxious about the day.

  26. Charlene Buck  February 11, 2019 at 11:57 am Reply

    My father died a month ago. Every year for 30 years he sent my step mother flowers for Valentines day. Should I resume that in his place and if so, How should I word the card?

    • Belle  February 11, 2019 at 1:28 pm Reply

      What a beautiful idea. I would suggest requesting delivery on 2/12 or 2/13 – less of a shock, more of a pleasant surprise, & there for her to enjoy on 2/14. I’d also suggest not sending the exact flowers he sent – if you know he always sent pink roses, you might ask for star gazer lillies or something purple, just so it’s not too much the same as to be bitter sweet. Your card can be very simple to say you are thinking of her or you love thinking of the love they shared. You might consider a call, text, or email to say keep an eye out for something coming from me if you think unexpected delivery might be a shock. I do think it’s a lovely idea. My sympathies to you on the loss of your father.

  27. Sweet One  February 6, 2019 at 2:16 pm Reply

    I used to enjoy my birthday (Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day) because I always spent it with my beloved mother and lovely, sweet younger sister. After losing our mother in 2012, my sister & I continued to spend every holiday together. We appreciated the time we were given, and we were grateful to see another birthday . My sister had a way of making my birthday so special and memorable, with her unique personal touch. Last year, although she had cancer, we still celebrated our birthdays as we always had. She had energy and life, and she was sharing the day with me, and that was the greatest gift I could ever ask for. The cancer was merely an afterthought. Who could have known that she would be taken from me only three months later. She died two days before her own birthday, and a part of me died with her that night. We had plans for that weekend, and I had sent her card (we loved cards and both exchanged the most meaningful ones we could find or create). The card arrived the day after she died. I also had the gift she requested, a beautiful music box with a cardinal on it. Now I face the first birthday without her, and all I can think about is how meaningless it seems. How can one be “Happy” when their birthday is just a heart wrenching, lonely reminder of the person they loved the most, and lost? My birthday now marks another year without my beat friend and soul mate. What makes it worse is the constant reminders of the day all around me. This is “Heart’s Day” but mine is shattered.

  28. GaryB  February 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm Reply

    I am royally screwed and have already started with severe grief as Valentines Day is also our Anniversary day!
    My wife passed from stage 4 lung cancer that spread mets to her brain with 20 tumors in August- she was 62 and she got 2 months from diagnosis- the poor soul.
    But now on the 14th our anniversary clock -my most important and valued accomplishment as I always told her- STOPS for good at 37 years.
    Wait we had just retired and we had oh at least 20 years already was going to be a wonderful life after so much hard work and effort- thats what we both thought! We never saw it coming!!
    The pain is not waiting its already started. My grief is consuming me now every day-swallowed up.
    This will be month 6 and its only getting worse- I can only imagine my walking dead anniversary coming up.
    The holidays were bad enough but this one will really drive it home to me!
    I am scared. So while like Christmas and humbug- I will be dreading the day everyone else smiles and loves and probably spend it sulking in the house which now has served as my own tomb.
    I shall go to bed early and cry myself to sleep.. Make it end-make it end.

    • Martha Martin  February 6, 2019 at 2:31 pm Reply


      Try to be gentle with yourself and know all those feelings you have are real and normal. It is so hard but the only way you will get to the other side is to walk through it. Although it was not our anniversary. Valentines Day was special to my husband and I. He was not a big romantic except for that day and our anniversary.
      On my first Valintines Day without him in 2018. I took a couple of our wedding pictures and went to dinner myself at the place where we had our wedding reception. I set the pictures out and I ask that they set a place for my sweetheart They were wonderful. I also went very early in the evening so as not to be surrounded by all the other lovebirds.
      I am not saying that is the answer. It is just what worked for me.
      We too had “plans” for retirement that will never be fulfilled. So I understand and will keep you in my prayers. Please take care and know you

  29. Elizabeth Eddy  February 13, 2018 at 12:29 pm Reply

    What do you do if Valentine’s 2018 is the 4th anniversary of your 18 year old son’s death by MVA?

  30. Elizabeth Eddy  February 13, 2018 at 12:29 pm Reply

    What do you do if Valentine’s 2018 is the 4th anniversary of your 18 year old son’s death by MVA?

  31. Becky  February 13, 2018 at 8:27 am Reply

    My husband, Just passed away on the 30th of Dec. right after Christmas right before New Years and now Valentines day is coming up the holidays will never be the same, I miss him so very much. My Heart is so broken my only thoughts are is I hope now he is watching over the two babies that I had lost as miscrriage at 5 months along. I am hoping they are in haven with you.

  32. Becky  February 13, 2018 at 8:27 am Reply

    My husband, Just passed away on the 30th of Dec. right after Christmas right before New Years and now Valentines day is coming up the holidays will never be the same, I miss him so very much. My Heart is so broken my only thoughts are is I hope now he is watching over the two babies that I had lost as miscrriage at 5 months along. I am hoping they are in haven with you.

  33. Marina Jackson  February 13, 2017 at 11:52 am Reply


  34. Nita  February 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm Reply

    Be careful with the retail therapy. If done too often, or go over budget you could increase your stress issues. When using retail therapy, either set a dollar limit or a frequency limit. Also, sitting a few extra dollars aside each week will allow retail therapy time without worry.

  35. Maryann  February 12, 2017 at 11:38 am Reply

    My anniversary is Feb 1 my husbands birthday Feb 13 Valentine’s Day Feb 14 and my husband of 30 years passed away last year Feb 29. Everyday is good, bad, and hard, thank you for this site.

  36. Jennifer  February 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm Reply

    My only child was diagnosed with a brain tumor on Valentine’s Day in 2008, life as we knew it was forever changed. He died April 16, 2009. Diagnosis day is so much harder than the day he died, all of the million reminders of Valentine’s Day makes the day unbearable.

    • Litsa  February 16, 2016 at 8:59 am Reply

      Ah Jennifer, I am so sorry. It is so hard when those horrible days (crapiversaries, as we like to call them!) fall on already difficult days, like holiday. It makes those days doubly painful. Hope you survived what I am sure was a tough weekend.

  37. Vicki  February 13, 2016 at 3:34 pm Reply

    It took me almost 10 years to think I could “move forward,” whatever THAT is, after someone in my family was murdered. And I’ve NEVER found the closure the POTUS talked about with family members of 9/11 victims after they found Osama bin Laden and the president spoke to a group of us. I wasn’t there; it was videographed and I watched it on the White House’s web site.
    OTOH I didn’t feel like I could even start whatever process you need in order to move along in the journey from grief to healing from it, not until they found Osama bin Laden. I don’t know why that is and don’t try very hard to figure it out anymore but it took almost 10 years for the process to begin bc it took that long to roust him out of his rathole.
    It’s really hard to heal when your 15 y.o daughter is asking questions like “Did dad’s soul make it through the flames that consumed his body? If his body didn’t survive to be identified how do we know his spirit did?”
    All that did was make it way more difficult to be okay with the forgiving of the enemy part. I see the specific people who killed him or helped with it as enemies. It has nothing to do with whole religions but specific people within a faith. And anyone thinking like them.
    The first year after it happened I was still feeling uncomfortably numb. I didn’t stop feeling the shock of what happened until someone else in my family placed himself in direct danger by going to Iraq as part of a combat unit. Then I thought I was about to lose another family member (I was convinced it could happen regardless of how well trained our soldiers are) and I fell apart.
    I didn’t start feeling better until Richard, my daughter’s godfather and a Vietnam Veteran, told me to stop living by the standards of everyone else. He told me that the things that cause PTSD, like war and crimes committed against you, are chaos. The things you feel while it’s happening to you aren’t wrong and don’t contain a value judgment. You feel how you feel, nobody else tells you how to do that and certainly don’t inform you of what’s “right and wrong” in that case.
    I didn’t know that before he said it and he’s a really intense person sometimes. Especially about Vietnam. When people say it to him he replies “Don’t tell me about Vietnam, because I’ve been to Vietnam.”
    He was a sky soldier the first time and an Army Ranger the second. He can’t be mentally browbeaten in any way. I’m not as good at resisting as he is but I no longer believe I have to live by anyone but my own life’s experiences. I mean I don’t have to be as hard on myself as I was.

    • Litsa  February 16, 2016 at 9:09 am Reply

      I am glad you have Richard for support, Vicki! Living by your own standards are words of wisdom so many could use in their grief, as we so often feel so many external pressures that complicate and make even more difficult an already impossible time. Also, it is a daunting task to be a parent supporting a grieving child when you yourself are grieving. There are no ‘answers’ in grief, but when so many complicating factors are impacting your grief, as you describe, support from others can be crucial- friends and family can be huge, and a therapist and support group can be such an important piece of that ‘healing’ (a word I don’t love but I always struggle to find a better one!). I hope you are finding the support you need!

  38. Silvana  January 29, 2016 at 8:34 pm Reply

    My husband killed himself with a gun shot wound on his head on February 21, 2015. It was one week after Valentine’s day. The last card, flowers and a heart shaped box of chocolates was the last thing I received from him. It’s going to be very hard to go trough that day this year. I feel so much pain and sorrow and is not a matter of letting go what it used to be but is a matter of forcing to come to the realization that I am forced to let go the best thing that has ever happen to me. I loved him with all my heart and soul. I don’t want to be forced to let it go. Why???? I don’t deserve this. I still love him as it was yesterday and I cannot move forward knowing that he is gone forever and not by normal cause but due to his choice to leave this earth and living me here stagnant and alone.

  39. Eleanor  February 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm Reply


    That is a really great idea for a journal activity. Thank you for sharing it. I’m so sorry about the death of your husband. I’m sure your missing him today.


  40. Eleanor  February 14, 2014 at 12:39 pm Reply


    I’m so sorry about the death of your dear Donna. I can only imagine how hard today must be for you. My thoughts are with you and I look forward to reading your article.


  41. Mark  February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm Reply

    I was thrilled to find your site and blog. Donna my wife was dx with lung cancer in January 2009 and passed away August 2011. I have written on my grief and grieving. It is my belief, as you have written, that to resist your emotions means the pain will persist. CS Lewis wrote a wonderful essay “A Grief Observed” it is a tough read but filled with insight. Another author Elizabeth Harper Neeld wrote a small book “Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World, Seven Choices” This text is well written and speaks in tones and voices that fit with my grief.

    A long piece I wrote “Caregiving, Loss, Grief, and Recovery: A Journey” can be found here:

    My reason for writing was your post on Valentines Day and the emotions it creates since that was Donna’s birthday as well. To your point I have posted pictures of Donna on Facebook for our friends and that helps. But the reality is this time even two plus years after her passing remains raw and difficult.

    Thank you for your site and caring posts.

  42. Linda Kemnitzer  February 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm Reply

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

    I lost my husband of 34 years on November 9, 2013. Of course, now, there are a lot of firsts that are painful; but with the help of someone I value highly, I turned that around a bit and decided to write in my journal all the firsts we had in our life together. When we first met, first said hello, first date and so on. It really made me feel joyful and grateful for the life we had. I read this somewhere–‘I still have the 34 years’ and I am very grateful and thankful for those years.

  43. Stepahanie Muldberg  February 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm Reply

    Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and grief is the form love takes when someone close dies. This means that the public focus on love can evoke painful longing and yearning and sadness for those who are bereaved.
    Losing a loved one is among the most challenging things we ever face. People we love anchor our lives. They help regulate our emotions and guide our plans. They are a part of how we define ourselves. We celebrate this connection on Valentines Day, yet for some of us the celebration serves as a reminder of what has been lost. For those who have had time to make peace with a loss, reminders evoke feelings that are bittersweet and poignant. For those who have lost loved ones more recently or those caught in prolonged acute grief, the feelings can be intense and painful.
    People experiencing acute grief often feel lost and lonely. Reminders of the deceased person usually trigger strong feelings of yearning and sadness. Sometimes there are other painful feelings, like fear, anxiety guilt, resentment, anger, or even shame. It’s good to remember that grief is like love – multifaceted, complex and unpredictable. Also like love, grief is an experience that is both universal and unique. We all experience grief and we each experience it in our own way. It is important to remember both of these facts. There is no right or wrong way to feel after we lose someone. However, it is important to stay true to ourselves and to practice self-compassion, especially when reminders like Valentines Day activate the pain.

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