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Gifts of the Heart

Valentine’s Day is here. It is a holiday of hearts, flowers, chocolate, and gifts. Bill and I were in Costco today and the chocolate covered strawberries and flowers were everywhere.

It is a holiday of love, love, love.  It’s grown from a holiday celebrated just between those in love, to one where we celebrate with everyone we love – children, parents, grandchildren, friends. We show our love to many on Valentine’s Day.

If you’ve lost a loved one, Valentine’s Day may bring more pain than joy.  Pain in missing that person and struggling with this “new normal” without your loved one. Here are some ways to cope if you are struggling on this holiday:

  1. Allow yourself the day – just go ahead and be miserable. Just this one day. Or relieve a little of your misery. Get that massage, go to a yoga class, whatever makes you feel good, and enjoy with no guilt.


  1. Ignore it. Ignoring the day completely is the best path, sometimes.


  1. Share your love. Think about someone you know that may also be feeling down on this holiday. Maybe someone else grieving or who has other problematic issues in their life.  Send them a card, send flowers, just call and make them feel special. Write them a letter – a real one, in cursive. Maybe write a letter to a child who has lost someone special or just a child you would like to encourage in a special way.


  1. Do an act of kindness. Something for a stranger, a co-worker, your sister. Or go crazy and do five acts of kindness. Research shows even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in our mental attitude. This is another one of those “makes you feel good, too” actions, but the world sure needs as much kindness as possible right now.


  1. Honor your loved one. Ask yourself how they might have wanted to be remembered. Especially if they were one of those special romantic people, honoring them on Valentine’s Day may be just right. Maybe it’s a planting a special tree or making a donation in memory of them to a favorite charity. There are ways that don’t require money, too, such as donating blood or your time to their favorite organization.

Maybe doing one of these things will become your new Valentine’s Day tradition, your new normal.  I wish you peace, dear reader.

Be blessed,


Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

“We Grow Stronger Together”

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