What Grieving People Wish You Knew at Valentine’s Day

After a loved one dies, certain days – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays – can be especially painful. Valentine’s Day is at the top of the list. It’s impossible to turn on the TV without seeing ads and images of togetherness, love, and romance. There’s no avoiding the decorations and merchandise for sale when walking through a flower shop, candy store, or supermarket.

Senior lady comforting old friend about her loss, sitting on benAt Farenga Funeral Home, we realize that many of our friends and neighbors in Queens and Astoria  face February 14th with a sense of dread. They already feel the void left by their loved one and know the loss will be even sharper when Valentine’s Day arrives.

Too often, a person who is grieving will do so in private. They don’t want to “burden” others with their hardship. They may be embarrassed that they are still struggling when everyone else seems to have moved on.

Imagine if, every Valentine’s Day, your mother would make her special cut-out cookies – and this is the first year she won’t be around to do so. Or think of the person whose spouse always went out of their way to purchase a fun gift, and now they will be alone after decades together. Valentine’s Day isn’t only a challenge for someone who has lost a husband or wife. Many families have special traditions surrounding the holiday, and the void that is left when a loved one dies may feel overwhelming.

Here’s what you need to know: Grief has no timetable and can surface in the most unexpected ways. But there are ways you can support the person in your life who has dealt with a death.

Be there.

  • Make plans with your friend well before Valentine’s Day to help reduce the anxiety that comes with anticipation.
  • Ask if you can take your friend to visit the final resting place of their loved one.
  • Offer to make a meal or join your friend for dinner. Facing a crowd of couples at a restaurant may be difficult, so dining at home is a good option.

Send a note that includes a thoughtful sentiment.

  • “I know this day must be hard for you.”
  • “We will never forget him/her.”
  • “I don’t know how you feel but I’m here for you.”
  • “You loved him/her well.”
  • “He/She was such a wonderful person.”

Share stories.

  • Whether in person or in writing, let your friend know you have not forgotten their loved one.
  • Take time to look through old photos and reminisce about what made their loved one so special.
  • Remember that couples aren’t the only people who can celebrate and have fun on Valentine’s Day!

Our Farenga Funeral Home staffs wants to remind you that grief can feel very raw, whether you’ve recently attended a funeral for a loved one, or it’s been months or years since you said goodbye. We talk with Queens and Astoria families every day who are planning a funeral, burial, or cremation, and we understand the difficult and complicated emotions that come with it.  We support families long after the funeral is over, including offering our interactive grief resources right here on our website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us for help. That’s what we’re here for.