Valentine’s Day is another ‘special day’ grieving spouses may dread. It can be especially difficult for the recently widowed. The potential load of emotional pain, such as loneliness, sadness and isolation is dependent upon whether Valentine’s Day had a special meaning you. Grief can be intensified by ‘triggers’ or flashbacks of special memories. Special displays in stores and stories about love can further promote your feelings of awkwardness, and a loss of identify and self-confidence.
So how does a grieving spouse approach this heartwarming day? First, acknowledge that this day might be difficult. Ongoing grief can increase if painful feelings are minimized or ignored. Consider possible choices you can make to help you feel better and have a plan in place, rather than completely ignoring the holiday. Ask yourself what kinds of activities would help you feel better: honoring your spouse’s memory, honor yourself … or both?
Ideas to honor your spouse might include:
- Making a valentine or writing a letter to your spouse
- Creating a photo collage or a decorating a picture frame
- Making a heart-shaped pillow out of a special piece of your spouse’s clothing
- Cooking a favorite meal that you loved to share with your partner
- Visiting and decorating your spouse’s grave or cremains
- Wearing a special piece of jewelry to honor the day
Ideas to honor yourself include:
- Buying your favorite flowers
- Order in your favorite takeout meal
- Buy yourself a gift that your spouse would have purchased
- Spend the day without any demands
- Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, nail treatment or spa visit
- Enjoy the day with a long walk or exercise
- Play your favorite music
Trust in knowing the grief that follows losing your spouse usually last for two to three years. What may be painful this year will eventually become more tolerable over time. Your heart and your head will be able to copy by thinking of comforting memories of your loved one on Valentine’s Day.