For millions of widows, this year will be their first Valentine’s Day since their Valentine died. For them there is no celebration. There is just grief.
We don’t always think about those among us who have the other kind of arrows in their hearts, the arrows of grief and loss that seem almost unbearable. Grieving people have a very hard time concentrating. Grieving people don’t always make very good decisions, because it is very hard to think straight when your heart is broken. The parallel between love and grief is that both produce massive emotions.
For those who are dealing with the aftermath of a death emotions and actions of grief make little sense. The pain of the loss coupled with the sense that the pain will never go away is very hard to bear. It is what causes grievers to isolate to protect themselves, and often makes them feel as if there is something wrong with them.
Without sadness there can be no perception of joy. We need them both. Openly communicating the range of feelings I have about Donnie is so normal and healthy.
The question that we need to ask is, “Why do we allow people to be emotional in love but not to be emotional in grief?” The emotions of grief are no more logical than the emotions of love.
That first Valentine’s Day I wanted to talk about Donnie. For me, the fond memories mingled with fresh tears in a way that made me feel very connected to my husband, even though I could not see him or touch him in a physical sense.
When the second Valentine’s Day came around, I didn’t need to talk as much about the past. It was enough to remember with sweet sadness all of the previous year’s Valentine’s Day memories.
Each of us is adapting to the absence of our loved one and each of us is dealing with day-to-day life without him while dealing with the emotional reality of it all.
It has been years since Donnie died and I still miss him, but I’ve come to understand my grief journey better ever year. Always at these events we don’t want to ruin everyone else’s joy by talking about someone who isn’t with us but one thing I’d learned is that wonderful things happen when I tell the truth about my feelings.
Now it’s your turn. Make sure that you keep the memories of your loved ones fresh by sharing them with the people who are important to you. It’s not limited to memories of your husband as it can be anyone you miss. And you don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to start talking.