Be Your Own Valentine
by Camille Nitschky, The Grief Lady
Here we are again, another holiday, and this one in particular, is about love and companionship and celebrating having “a Valentine”. So, what happens if your “Valentine” dies and this day actually rubs salt in the wound? What if it marks your first kiss, your wedding proposal, or your wedding anniversary to name a few momentous possibilities? What then? While the world is out buying chocolates, jewelry, and plastering retouched images on Facebook reminding you of what you used to have in your life, you muddle through and wait patiently for February 15th. It’s a day of acknowledging your love for another. Many associate it with couple ship love but many of us also celebrate friends, relatives and special people in our lives as “our Valentines”.
How To Be Your Own Valentine
I’m going to challenge you this year to make yourself your own Valentine. What are all the things you’d love to have happen or have gifted to you by your Valentine? What’s your perfect day for yourself? Imagine it. Write it down. It doesn’t have to be candy and flowers and it’s okay if it is, there’s some great places to get roses for 10 bucks a dozen. Buy ‘em for yourself. Buy the box of candy and eat all your favorites, leave the rest for Monday virtual book club. Figure out what brings you joy and do that.
Grieving on Valentines Day
If your grieving, give yourself permission to just be sad and feel your loss. You could just skip right over the day or you can go out and buy and do all things your Valentine would have done for you. You can celebrate in a way that you actually do know what it’s like to truly love someone, and you got to feel it even if only for an instant. Even though I don’t really like it when I hear statements like that. Brene Brown calls it silver lining it. “My husband died”, “Well at least you had a husband” and so on. Some might say they’d rather not even know what they’re missing. It can be really complicated.
Again, like any holiday or special occasion it’s up to you. Entirely up to you, and it can look any way you want it to look. Listen to your heart. Give yourself time. Rumi once said, “the wound is the place where light enters you”. We all have our wounds, some are more apparent than others and some are so deep no one can ever actually see them, but we feel them. We react in ways that we don’t even realize are stemming from the feelings bubbling up over time, triggered by a day, a smell, or just the glimpse of a stranger’s smile.
So, no matter what feelings surface on this day of celebrating Love, may you feel the love you have to give for yourself. That you honor and take time to notice the people in your life that are still here. Every day in my line of work and in my involvement with the recovery community I’m aware of someone dying, and as sad as that can be, it also reminds me that the people that are still standing around me are still present in my life. There’s a little bit more sense of relishing the moment, because I know it can completely change in an instant. My momma never said this life gig was going to be easy, she also never warned me how hard it would be either. But she did teach me how to love, and not only was I loved by her, but that I have the capacity within me to heal and to love again no matter how deep my wounds may be. As I like to say, be gentle with yourself and take time to Be Your Own Valentine, you’re worth the effort.
Written by Camille Gerace Nitschky, the Executive Director at the Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region. You can follow the Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region on Facebook and Instagram.
Also written by Camille: Grief Doesn’t Take a Holiday