Palliative Care Queensland

Coping with Grief on Valentine’s Day

With the death of our loved one, some control has been stripped from our lives.  What we thought would be forever is suddenly taken from us. We wish there were a way for these days to just disappear and that we do not have to face them and hide. 

When someone we love dies, our calendar takes on a new meaning.  Occasions that once were full of joy and happiness can now be a cause for anxiety and fear. Knowing that we can no longer celebrate special days with our loved ones has changed every special occasion in our lives. Some of these occasions like Christmas, or birthdays are clearly going to be triggers, and the anticipation of them happening allows us and others to prepare for the day before it arrives.  Other significant days may take us by surprise, they may not have been significant when our loved ones were alive, so we do not associate the occasion with the pain of missing them that we are now feeling.  

Valentine’s Day can be one of these days. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, and the special person in your life. The sadness of this day is clear to those who have lost a loved one. Most often thought of as a romantic day for spouses and couples, this day can be very painful for people missing their soul mate. But for others the day can bring up the painful emotions of grief because someone we love is now missing from this special day.  

Unfortunately, time moves forward without our permission and these days will come every year. We are left to decide how to make them bearable. This will be different for each day, but Valentine’s Day invites us to remember the love.  We can decide to focus on the memories of our loved one and we can decide to focus on the love you both shared.  The goal is not to take away the pain or to make everything okay, but rather to allow us to share the love that always and will forever be there in our hearts.  

Some suggestions of things that you can do on Valentine’s Day to share that love and help us with the pain of our Grief and Loss are:  

  • Write a love letter or a Valentines card to them and read it aloud  
  • Take flowers or a special Valentine’s Day present to the cemetery or wherever their special place is 
  • Light a candle for a loved one who is no longer here
  • Plant a flower in their honour in your garden or a tree 
  • Share a romantic post of a memory of the two of you on social media 
  • Go to your favourite place that reminds you of them and reflect on your special memories and the things you may have done on this day 

These are just a few suggestions and it is important to open your mind and your heart and to do what feels right for you. Try one thing and if it does not work for you, remember that is ok. You can always try something else. 

Valentine’s Day will forever be different, but it is still Valentine’s Day.  Our loved ones are forever a part of who we are, and they have changed us forever and their love lives on.   

This Valentine’s Day, allow yourself the space to embrace the memories of your loved one who is no longer here. Remember the power of their love and the impact of them on your life and allow yourself to feel the emotions of them not being with you. 


Jason Dingli
Bereavement Coordinator
Palliative Care Queensland

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