If you have had a recent loss, you have just made it through other holidays. But now suddenly the shops are full of flowers and chocolate hearts. Valentine's day can be a difficult time.
Here are five tips to help you cope.
1. Memories: As difficult memories surface, also recall happy memories that bring back a smile, like that first rose, or a favorite song or a great vacation. Old photos can bring back the good feelings that will always be yours to enjoy. These good feelings can help get through the sad ones.
2. Write a short letter to your beloved about what you appreciated about them. Imagine reading it to them, say thank you and, "Although I wish you were here, I release you."
3. Light a candle in honor of your loved one, perhaps purchasing a special one for them. Say a prayer of gratitude for them as you enjoy the peacefulness of watching the flame.
4. Journal your feelings - or talk them out with a trusted friend. Expressing them helps to get out pent up feelings. As you untangle these emotions, you may find there are disappointments and regrets mixed in too. As much as you can try to forgive them, which sets you free.
5. Extend kindness to someone else at Valentine's. Read to a child, call a shut-in, give cookies, shovel the neighbor's walk, volunteer, donate, You will sow kindness and you find that you reap good things too. It may come back from different people or in a different way, but you will find you reap good things from your good seed, like kindness and peace.
Keep moving forward one step each day. In time you will discover you have come a long way in mending a broken heart.
This is a personal story about sowing and reaping. After my father died, I realized I could still honour him by making a donation to the Red Cross in his name. My father had told me how grateful he was to the Red Cross who helped him find his own father in a Lithuanian refuge camp after World War II. I mentioned it to my mother, who was deeply touched. She said, "You Dad cried when he finally found his father alive in that camp. His father sent his family out of Lithuania during WW II for safety, and planned to join them in a few days. When he did not arrive they put his name on the Red Cross missing persons lists and eventually feared the worst. Months later the Red Cross did find him, detained by the Russians. Your father would have been so very grateful that you said thank you to the Red Cross for him." I was overjoyed that it meant so much. Her words were like a last hug from him. I sowed a little kindness but I reaped a great big reward.