We are there where ever you are.

Friday January 27, 2017

Valentine's Day is often overlooked as a difficult holiday to get through after the loss of a spouse or significant other. For a new widow or widower, the day that seems reserved for couples-only can be especially hard. You may want to forget the day, but our culture makes it a tough holiday to escape.

Perhaps there is a fear that acknowledging Valentine's Day and starting new traditions is somehow disloyal to your loved one who passed. It is normal to feel that way. But letting go of those traditions doesn't mean forgetting your spouse or significant other. Starting something new simply means you are choosing to keep the memories, leave behind the sorrow, and express love in other ways.

In Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place, Boom's father says to her, "Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked, that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then, of course, part of us dies, too. Or, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel." He obviously wasn't talking about forgetting the original love; he was speaking about opening our hearts to different ways of spreading love.

On a day that was probably designated to traditions with the one you loved deeply, it may be hard to start something new. It may even be hard to receive something new. While it's true that you won't celebrate the same way you always have, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about romantic love, and it doesn't have to be a holiday exclusively for couples. It provides an opportunity to express love and appreciation to those around you. Perhaps more importantly, it is about receiving love and appreciation from those around you. What better day to show your friends and family how much they mean to you while allowing them to do the same for you? Maybe the saying is true that the more love you give, the more love you feel.

Starting new traditions with your family could be a great way for you to remember your loved one. Write down your favorite Valentine's Day memories of your significant other and share those memories with your family. Make homemade cards and cookies for nursing home residents, to remind them of their favorite childhood Valentine's Day memories.

Whatever new tradition you start this year, remember that your memories are a gift to you. Allow yourself to receive them, while opening your heart to new expressions of love. The goal is not to leave behind the memories, but to share the love that will always be with you.

—Rhonda Smith, Guest Contributor

Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care offers free grief support to the community at large. For more information, contact us today at 336-789-2922 (toll-free 1-888-789-2922).

Tags: Grief Support