Valentine’s Day When Your Loved One is in Heaven

For some of us, this is the first Valentine’s Day without someone special in our lives, as a death has occurred since the last time we celebrated the occasion. For spouses, for children who’ve lost a grandparent, for parents who’ve lost a child too soon, or a dear friend losing another longtime friend—nothing reminds you of loss more than the Valentine Day holiday rolling around.

The TV commercials around this time are relentless and so, too, is likely the pain with which those who have lost their Valentines must feel to be reminded of this fact. And yet, the day is about love. So, how do you get through it on a day when your heart is breaking? I’m not sure I have “the” answer, but one or two thoughts come to mind that have been shared with me by those who have walked this path before.

In the days before Valentine’s Day, chances are good that you’ve revisited a collection of cards and/or photos where the two of you were together in years past. Your mind flashes back to a day and time during the happiest times of your life.

It’s okay to review those cards, messages, and notes, but if it hurts too much right now, don’t feel under any obligation to walk those steps until you are fully ready. Is there a way you can approach and proceed through Valentine’s Day in a way that helps to heal?

For every loss in life we have a length of relationship that has extended for a long period of time—at those times, life seemed perfect, it seemed like it couldn’t be any better, and one way to look at it is to celebrate that you did indeed find in this life a truly beloved partner, someone who made you know that you were truly loved. Some people go through life and don’t find that person. That you had that love is worth celebrating, not just at Valentine’s Day but on any occasion.

One way to take the focus off our own hearts is to think of the hearts of others who are alone on this holiday. If your children or grandchildren are also missing their loved one, you might take time to send them cards, or candy, or take them out to dinner. Share time together with all those who miss your loved one. Reminisce, reflect, and honor their memory with an active celebration of a “day of love” for your loved one.

Did you lose your Valentine this past year? Are one or more of your parents still alive? You can always reach out to them and include them in your memories, and it would likely be very much appreciated. Helping everyone who has sustained the loss you also sustained is a positive movement forward in processing your own loss.

If you lost a child this year, it could be healing to gather your closest relatives and meet for a Valentine’s Dinner or Brunch. It’s not a time to be alone, so see if there’s an opportunity to come together and not isolate yourself at this precious holiday.

If you have a neighbor who is especially important to your heart and they live alone, it’s a perfect day to surprise them with a card, a call, or some flowers, especially when their family may or may be local here, and your thoughtfulness will send them a smile that will last long beyond the special day of love.

Most of all no matter what day of the year it is…never miss a good chance to tell people you love that you love them. Don’t rush out of this life in such a hurry that you miss sharing love with others in your life who keep you first in their hearts. You don’t want to leave words unsaid, hugs not shared, or people isolated by sorrow. Reach out your arms open wide and look for someone whose heart seems to have an open space to welcome your sharing part of your heart. Together, you can overcome hurt and as you heal together, celebrating the love of Valentine’s Days—past, present, and future.

Share your love and show your love to those you love every day. Valentine’s is one day; loving people and loving life is for a lifetime. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Cody D. Jones ’02

Owner & Community Member

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