Valentine’s is a day when love, chocolate, flowers, jewelry, greeting cards, romantic movies, dinners, drinks and the color red abound. And, Valentine’s Day can trigger those who are not “coupled” to feel sad, pressured, disappointed or lonesome.
It can also be a day to have heartfelt conversations about current or future plans, passions, inspiring books, art or music; perhaps sharing dreams or experiences of traveling, contemplating relocating geographically, or discussing end-of-life wishes for yourself or those you love.
What?! Discussing end-of-life wishes? Yes, impermanence is real. Conversation might include thoughts of making changes, perhaps moving to a different climate, or moving to be closer to family or reviewing your will, trust or insurance policies. It can also be a wonderful time to write a legacy letter or an ethical will, telling family, friends or mentors who mean the most to you, how they have had a positive influence on your life. This can also be a day to honor our ancestors and our loved ones who have preceded us in death.
My work as a funeral celebrant has offered me the opportunity to be present with bereaved families and to witness many love stories in all kinds of relationships. I have known spouses or significant others who were so close, that after one person died, the other spouse died in close proximity. I have also seen spouses who were very close, but after one died, the other soldiered on alone or perhaps later engaged in other meaningful relationships. Many had a long history of companionship, caregiving or care partnering.
Valentine’s Day can be a day to open your heart. To say you are sorry or to ask forgiveness. To tell people that you love them. To enjoy family photos and stories.
May your Valentine’s Day be filled with loving-kindness and may you carry the spirit of Valentine’s Day with you throughout the year.
Marguerite O’Connor, M.Ed.
Experienced Funeral Celebrant