Since the Middle Ages, Valentine’s Day has been defined as a day specifically for love and affection. At Sunset View Cemetery, we hear from families in El Cerrito, Oakland, and Berkeley who say it’s a tough holiday to face when you’ve recently lost someone special. For some, this is the first Valentine’s Day that their love is no longer around. Others may look back longingly at how life used to be and have trouble facing their new reality.
Those who are mired in grief might try to avoid all things Valentine’s Day, but it’s nearly impossible when grocery store aisles are filled with candy hearts, flowers, and teddy bears. As difficult as it is, know the team at Sunset View is here for support and guidance along your grief journey. This year reframe Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to commemorate and remember your loved one. We’ve compiled a list of grief rituals to help.
Write how you feel
Your words can be in the form of an article, poem, song, or eulogy. Whatever helps you process your thoughts and feelings. Of course, you can make your piece public, but if you choose to keep it private, write in a journal to collect your thoughts as you move through grief.
Write a letter
Jot down what you’d want to tell your beloved, tie it to an eco-friendly balloon, and set it free. If you have bad memories or are harboring negative thoughts, let this symbolize letting go and saying goodbye.
Create a scrapbook or memory box
Ask relatives and friends if they have trinkets, photos, or mementos of your loved one that they’re willing to part with. Create a scrapbook with the photos or decorate a special box to store the contents that will remind you of your loved one.
Do their favorite activities
If your loved one was an avid hiker, use the holiday to hike their favorite trail. Other options include eating their favorite foods, watching their favorite movies, or taking part in any family traditions you enjoyed together over the years. This will help you feel close to your love and bring back memories of time spent having fun together.
Donate a grief book
Buy a book that specifically talks about grief or buy your favorite children’s books and find a place to donate them. To make it even more special, write a message inside and dedicate the book in memory of your loved one.
Allow yourself memories of your loved one
Regardless of what you’re doing in a day, certain memories are going to inevitably arise in your head. Don’t ignore them, as these memories are part of healing.
If you choose to embrace the holiday, Valentine’s Day won’t be a burden. Instead, you can commemorate your loved one and celebrate your love for them rather than with them. This year find a way to honor those you’ve lost, and you’ll realize death doesn’t end a relationship – those bonds are forever.