Anniversaries, Birthdays, and Holidays can be particularly difficult for those grieving the loss of a loved one, specially on Valentines Day. Its constant emphasis on togetherness, love, romance, possibilities, the future of these two people; can certainly bring back all types of emotions. And let’s not even mention the overload of marketing and the overly displayed merchandise everywhere you go! It is practically impossible to avoid reminders that the “couple’s holiday” approaches.
“If you find yourself alone on February 14, after years with celebrating with someone you loved very much, the void that you feel can be extremely overwhelming. It is difficult to see happy couples all around you, when all you can think about is the person you have lost.”
Whether or not you decide to take part of Valentines day; embrace all emotions with a grain of salt. There are definitely a couple of ways to make the day go much faster and smoother. Stay busy even if you do not want to, prepare in advance and know what and were to avoid. Preparation is key! If you simply do not want to deal with it; then DON’T! With friends or by yourself, leave for a couple of days, take a holiday or even a sabbatical. Maybe you choose to celebrate the day with honoring and cherishing the memories of your loved one. Reminiscing over a good old favorite movie or a personal video, remembering that person for who they truly were. Reuniting with old friends and family might assist in your coping through the day and it will certainly feel like you are not alone.
The most important thing is to listen to yourself! And it is totally OK to be anxious, sad and even upset. Respect yourself enough to know what you need to get through this period in your life. Count your blessings and cherish all your beautiful memories. There is no right or wrong; there is no time frame, there is only you and one day after another.
References: The Human Capacity to Thrive in the Face of Potential Trauma” by George A. Bonanno, Ph.D., and Anthony D. Mancini, Ph.D. www.pediatrics.aappublications.org.