Today, 14th February, is Valentine’s Day and the shops are filled with red roses, romantic cards and cuddly toys. If your loved one has died from cancer, these may all be painful reminders of your loss.
In this blog, Content Developer Azmina suggests possible ways of coping on Valentine’s Day if you
have lost a loved one or partner. 

No matter how much time has passed since your bereavement, special dates can trigger strong emotions. If you have treasured memories of celebrating Valentine’s Day with a loved one, today may seem particularly hard.

You can spend the day doing whatever feels right for you, but here are some suggestions that may help you to cope:

Do something to honour your loved one’s memory
You may find it comforting to create a new Valentine’s Day tradition and do something to commemorate your loved one.

For example, you could visit a place that has special memories for you as a couple. If you have a garden or a balcony, you could plant a rose bush in their honour. Macmillan has a memorial candle, which you could light to show that your loved one is always in your heart. It has the scent of an ocean breeze.

Allow yourself to grieve
There is no right or wrong way to feel and you may even find that your emotions change from hour to hour. Whether you experience intense sadness, a longing to see your loved one again or joyful memories, this is all part of the grieving process. Allow yourself to express your grief openly on this emotional day.

Join the Macmillan Online Community
There is a group for bereaved spouses and partners on Macmillan’s Online Community. You may find it helpful to connect with others who have lost a loved one to cancer. Every year, members of this group share how they are feeling and coping on Valentine’s Day.

This image is a quote from Lynee, a member of our online community. It reads This has been the hardest day for me in a while. My partner died last October, and we always used to celebrate Valentine’s Day. He would buy me red roses, teddies, champagne and chocolates and if we did not go out, he would cook a lovely meal. I feel so lucky remembering those 17 years we spent together. I am in pieces today and feel as if my heart has been ripped out, but hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Hugs to everyone who finds themselves here.

Reach out for support
If you are struggling today, you may wish to contact family and friends. Having their love and support may make the day more bearable, and you could share favourite stories about your loved one.

You can also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 for a free confidential chat (7 days a week, 8am to 8pm). Our trained advisers can offer a listening ear or emotional support and are ready to talk about whatever matters to you.

To find local one-to-one or group support, you can visit our In your area tool on our website.

This image is a quote from Northernlass, a member of our Online Community. It reads as follows, The heavy heart will get a bit lighter, but in the meantime, go easy on yourself and try not to panic about the future. The scariness of it all improves as we begin to deal with day to day life on our own. Dont get me wrong, I still have times when I wonder how I will cope with different things, but not as much or as often as in the beginning.

Take care of yourself
Grief can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. On Valentine’s Day, why not show yourself some loving kindness?

It is important to look after yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthily and keeping active.

To boost your mood today, you could:

  • have a nutritious and tasty meal
  • go for a short walk in the fresh air
  • set aside time for a relaxing activity, such as having a bath, listening to music or stroking your pet
  • try our simple relaxation exercise, which can calm your body and mind at an emotional time.

For more information, you can order a free copy of our booklet After someone dies: Coping with bereavement.

Valentine’s Day is bound to be very different after the loss of a loved one or partner. Yet, the love that you shared lives on, and you can still celebrate this today or on any other day.

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Whatever cancer throws your way, we're right there with you. 

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

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