After recently navigating the difficult Christmas season, anyone widowed young is soon confronted with Valentine’s Day. Like Christmas, you can’t begrudge other peoples’ happiness, but these traditionally ‘loving’ times are such a poignant reminder of what you’ve lost, and what you had as a couple.
It’s often difficult to see all the reminders on TV and in supermarkets, when all you can think about is your late husband, wife or partner. After celebrating with someone you loved very much, the void you feel can be overwhelming.
How to deal with Valentine’s Day depends on factors such as where you are on your grief journey, what support you have, whether you have family around you, and the kind of person you are. All this is made even more difficult by the current lockdown restrictions caused by COVID-19.
Here are some ideas to help you cope with this difficult day …
- Treat it as a memory day. Perhaps get the photos and videos out and light a candle for your lost valentine.
- Do something that reminds you of your loved one and makes you smile.
- If you can, visit the graveside with some flowers.
- Find a safe place to let your feelings out. It’s OK to cry, wail or scream – life can be really unfair at times.
- Do something to honour your loved one’s life and mark your journey forward into life without them.
- Buy a Valentine’s Day gift for your children, mum or dad.
- Pamper yourself or treat yourself to something special.
- Celebrate with those you love and are still with you. If you have children, you could do something special with them and treat this as family time now, rather than couple time.
- Write a love letter or poem to your loved one.
- Get creative and make something that links you to your loved one. It might become a tradition you do each year, or something you can get out each Valentine’s Day that reminds you of them.
- Write a list of all the people you love.
- Get together with other widowed young people online and share a meal, or perhaps do a games night with snacks and drinks.
- Try to avoid watching the news or television or engaging with social media for the day.
- Watch your favourite feel-good film.
- Connect with somebody else who understands – another widowed young person perhaps.
- Seek support from bereavement organisations and us at Care for the Family.
- Perhaps schedule a call with your Care for the Family befriender on Valentine’s Day.
Depending on how you’re coping, you might agree or disagree with the above suggestions, but the point is that it’s OK to do what’s right for you. You never know, some of the above may become new traditions which could help you for years to come.