Valentine’s Day and Grief

Valentine’s Day and grief can be a very tender combination. This is a commercialized holiday, and it has a strong presence in the stores, social media, and advertising. There is an emphasis on romance. If you have lost a romantic relationship, this may be an extra painful time.

I have also heard from many parents and grandparents that this day brings up pain as their kiddo will not be participating in the Valentine exchange at school. Truly any loss can get activated by this day because there is such an emphasis on being together and celebrating.

People can get into judging themselves regarding their feelings around this holiday, feeling they are foolish for letting the day bother them. This is always an unfair use of energy I see with the bereaved. Spending the energy to criticize, verses comfort, ourselves makes the grief even more complicated.

Mourning and Holidays Go Together

One thing I often tell the bereaved is that if grief is felt, it is real. It is not to be justified or explained to anyone. We must believe emotions are valid. Sometimes they will not make sense, yet it is still important to embrace them with tender hands. Even if you did not care about Valentine’s Day when your person was alive, it is ok if it has become a difficult day. When we grieve, the focus very much becomes about what we have lost.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, create some time to honor the love you continue to have for your person. The love will always live, and although it has changed forms, it will be your continued bond. When honored and acknowledged, this love can become the soft landing that is so needed during the pain in grief.

Make Plans for Valentine’s Day to Honor Grief

Days like Valentine’s Day can create sharp edges in our grieving, acknowledging love remains, lighting a candle, saying their name, donating in their memory and gentle self-care moments create soft landings for healing. When we allow others to share our grief on Valentine’s Day, it creates opportunities for us to feel less alone.

Plan something that brings you comfort. In grief, we learn what feels supportive and what doesn’t. Lean into what feels comforting. Some days, our friends or family may not connect Valentine’s Day to grief. If you are struggling with the day, let them in.

Remember, on Valentine’s Day, and all days in grief, love remains. Your love and grief are mirrors for each other. May the reflection of your love be seen in profoundly soft ways this Valentine’s Day. You are loved and will love them fiercely, forever.

Kelly Grosklags

Kelly Grosklags, LICSW BCD FAAGC is author of “A Comforted Heart: An oncology psychotherapist’s perspective on finding meaning and hope during grief and loss.” In her 25 years of experience, Kelly has helped patients, families, caregivers, and clinicians understand and cope with grief, loss, and traumatic illness. Kelly founded an online forum of hope and healing, called “Conversations with Kelly .” She is also the award-winning filmmaker behind a ground-breaking educational documentary titled “Dying Is Not Giving Up ” which aims to teach compassion and empathy to future medical providers. Kelly is an international speaker, podcast host and social media blogger. For more information on Kelly, her work, and her healing community visit

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