February 13, 2013

Grieving on Valentine’s Day

Marina Mails, NCC, LPC
Bereavement Counselor II

How easy it would be to feel cynical, resentful or empty on Valentine’s Day. This sugary sweet holiday seems shallow to many people who are facing the profound experiences of death and grief.

When you have spent time at the bed side of a dying loved one, you may have experienced the kind of love and connection that cannot be expressed with teddy bears or boxes of chocolates. If you have recently lost your spouse, this day may feel like an unfair display of the happiness of other couples.


Know that you can do whatever you choose with this day. You may decide to ignore the holiday, keeping away from department stores and gift shops for the weeks prior. If it suits you better to take a more active approach, you might try using the day as an excuse to share gratitude, love and kindness with other people in your life.

You might choose someone who has been helpful or supportive in recent months and let them know how much they’ve meant. Perhaps you send a card to a far-away family member just to add cheer to their day. Think about volunteering at a homeless shelter, or visiting an elderly or disabled friend or neighbor. Perhaps you’ll find new meaning in what can be an irritating, painful day.