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Surviving Valentine's Day with a Broken Heart

Valentine's Day Grief

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Updated January 31, 2011

Surviving Valentine's Day with a Broken Heart
Photo © Tooga/Getty Images

We are a nation that loves Valentine’s Day. Maybe we feel a sense of loss when we take down the last of December holiday decorations and look forward to something else to celebrate. The heart-shaped chocolate boxes, red roses, and romantic champagne dinners are nearly as nostalgic to us as Christmas trees and Santa.

But if you’ve recently lost your Valentine, February 14th can be a very lonely and painful day. The pain and loss you feel when you lose your life partner is magnified every time you walk into the store and see the romantic cards, flowers and candy. How can you possibly make it through this holiday in one piece?

Remembering Loved Ones

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a day of sadness and mourning. You can choose to make it a special day on which you remember your loved one and celebrate the love you shared. Death may have robbed you of your loved one, but it can never take away the relationship you had and the love you shared. This year, you can find a way to remember, honor and celebrate that eternal love on Valentine’s Day.

The way we honor and celebrate our loved ones is as individual as our relationships were. You can look within yourself to choose the best way you can do this. Below are some ideas to get you started but this ritual will be yours alone. Modify any of these to fit your preferences or create your own ritual.

Ways to Celebrate Your Love

There are special things you can do on Valentine's Day to celebrate the love you lost. Some examples include:

  • Make your loved one’s favorite breakfast or dinner and enjoy it in their memory.
  • Honor your Valentine’s Day traditions. If you always went to the movies or on a special walk together, go alone this year.
  • Decorate and light a special candle in their honor.
  • Buy yourself a gift that you think your loved one would have bought you, or one that you’ve always wanted them to buy you, and think about them each time you use it.
  • Volunteer some time at a local shelter, hospice, or food closet. Doing something good for others can help ease our pain.
  • Listen to your favorite song and look back through picture albums and scrapbooks of your life together.

If you can’t bring yourself to do any of these things, that’s OK too. You might find it helpful to talk to others who are experiencing the same loss this time of year. Reach out to friends or family who have also lost their Valentine or visit the Palliative Care Forum where you can share your feelings and get support in a non-threatening environment.

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