Cupid's arrow pierces the heart of a widow. Just as you make it through the holiday season, Valentine’s Day hits. If you're grieving a significant other, this day is one of the worst. Grief experts emphasize how important it is to have a plan for those important dates like holidays and anniversaries. They say it can help reduce the anxiety that the anticipation brings. Even if you don’t follow through with your plan, it still gives you something to control.  Just remember that no matter what your plan is, always be gentle with yourself and expect to feel the pain and grief.

Sad Woman
David McNew, Getty Images

First, know that you will make it through. It won’t be easy and it may not be pretty and that is completely ok. Grief is the messiest thing we live with.  Allow yourself to feel every single ounce of pain. If you have children, it makes it extra difficult because instead of seeing it as a sad day, they’re so excited about their Valentine’s Day Party at school and exchanging cards with friends. But, you could use that to your advantage and make the day all about them. You could continue their fun day when they get home with some heart-shaped pancakes for dinner and a board game.

Although none of these ideas I am about to list are guaranteed to help, you may want to try to incorporate some of them into your Valentine’s Day in hopes to feel a little bit of sweetness in all of that pain.



Your memories with your loved one will NEVER go away and you will never forget. This is a great day to think about all of them.  Here are some ideas to embrace your memories: Journal them. Let the journal be a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself and fill it with all of your beautiful memories. Write a love letter.  Pen a love letter and say everything you want to say.  Even though you can't give it to him or her, it's good therapy.  Bury a Memory Capsule. Place significant reminders of your loved one in a box. Things like old cards, photos, and souvenirs. Bury the box in a special spot maybe under a tree.


Whether you plan on staying home or getting out, do something good for yourself. If you want to get out of the house, treat yourself to a day at the spa or a shopping spree.  If staying in is more your speed, treat yourself to a bubble bath, a good book, and a nice glass of wine. If you want to crawl under the covers and sleep, then do it. Make it a day for YOURSELF.


Although Valentine’s Day is marketed to lovers, that doesn’t mean it’s limited to just that. Let Valentine’s Day be a day to celebrate anyone and everyone you consider special in your life.  Let them know how you're feeling and ask them to join you for a meal and a good movie at home.  If you have children or grandchildren, make it all about them.


Think about all of the blessings you still have in your life, including each day you wake up. While you recognize all the bad that happens in your life, try to always remind yourself of all the good you have too. When the death of a loved one happens, we grieve, but the only way forward is to push on, one step at a time.


 “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” – Kahlil Gibran


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