Special days and holidays can sometimes trigger memories and difficult emotions in individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one. For those who have lost a spouse or partner, Valentine's Day can feel particularly cruel because of its emphasis on togetherness, love, and romance. This week's Changing Lives Podcast focuses on coping with grief during Valentine's Day.
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You can listen to episodes of "Changing Lives" on 91x FM each Monday (except for holidays) at 9:05am. Hospice Quinte is grateful to the support that 91x FM provides in producing the "Changing Lives" podcast.
About Hospice Quinte
Hospice Quinte assists terminally ill individuals and their caregivers by offering them support and companionship. Visiting hospice services are offered in the person’s own home, long term care homes, retirement homes and both Belleville General and Trenton Memorial Hospitals. This care is provided by trained, experienced, and compassionate volunteers. Bereavement support groups are also offered. There are no fees for services to patients and their families. Hospice Quinte is a registered, non-profit charity whose volunteers are the heart of the organization.
The Hospice Quinte service area includes Quinte West, Belleville, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. To find out more visit HospiceQuinte.ca.Support the show
Special days and holidays can sometimes trigger memories and difficult emotions in individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
For those who have lost a spouse or partner, Valentine's Day can feel particularly cruel because of its emphasis on togetherness, love, and romance. And, just like Halloween and Christmas, with all the lead up marketing and in-store merchandise displays, Valentine’s Day is practically impossible to avoid.
If you have lost a loved one, instead of avoiding it, you might consider making Valentine’s Day a special time of remembrance, an opportunity to reflect on the love you shared with the person who has passed and to find solace in your memories.
With a little bit of careful thought and planning, it is possible to find ways to heal and work through your grief around Valentine’s Day. Here are a few ideas that you might consider trying to help you work through the holiday.
Make your feelings a priority – When special days and holidays roll around, it’s not unusual to feel pressure to act a certain way. If you feel the need during Valentine's Day to hide your tears or put on a brave face, then you need to give yourself permission to grieve in your own way. You may even feel like you can’t laugh or enjoy yourself. Despite what society may lead us to believe, there simply is no correct way to mourn the loss of someone you love.
Write about how you feel – Keeping a personal journal can not only help to relieve stress, but it can also really help to process and organize your thoughts and feelings throughout your grief journey. Take some time for yourself on Valentine’s Day to write a journal entry or share your feelings in a letter.
Do something to honour your loved one – Instead of focusing on your feelings of grief, try finding a meaningful way to honour the memory of your loved one. You might consider donating blood to help save a life or volunteering your time to an organization close to your loved one’s heart. You could organize a get together with family and friends, or do something smaller and more private, like enjoy your loved one’s favourite meal. Take your time and do what feels right. You might even make this your new Valentine's Day tradition.
Be your own Valentine – Grief not only takes an emotional toll on the bereaved, but it also takes a physical one. It’s not unusual for grieving individuals to feel exhausted due to poor eating habits, a lack of exercise, or inadequate sleep. If that sounds like you, then you need to start showing yourself some love. Take care of your mental and physical wellbeing this Valentine’s Day. If you’re not feeling up to cooking for yourself, treat yourself to a nice meal at your favourite restaurant. Book yourself a massage or day at the spa. See a movie or go shopping with a friend. Plan a special getaway for yourself or with family. There are many different ways to show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day.
It’s also worth mentioning, that while Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for those who are grieving, it can also be difficult for those who are not to show their support to someone who is. If someone you know is struggling with their grief during Valentine’s Day, it’s important to understand that they’re not broken, and nothing needs to be fixed. What they need the most during this time is for someone to simply be there for them and listen to them, without judgement, analysis or prejudice.
If you or someone you know have recently experienced the loss of a loved one and could use some assistance with navigating your grief journey, Hospice Quinte offers an eight-week bereavement support group for individuals in the community who are 18 years or older. Hospice Quinte’s bereavement support group runs several times throughout the year, and is a closed group, meaning the same individuals attend for all eight weeks, and no new members join. Group members are guaranteed a safe, confidential and judgement-free space to receive support. Most importantly, members will have the opportunity to start the healing process by sharing their own story and hearing the stories of other group members.
Since 1985, Hospice Quinte has been changing the lives of the terminally ill, their families and the bereaved, for the better, by offering support and companionship through visiting hospice services and support groups. All Hospice Quinte services are provided at no charge by compassionate and well-trained volunteers and staff. Our service area includes Belleville, Quinte West, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.