Sunday, February 8, 2009

Embracing Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day, a day for love, a day to celebrate with those you love. Valentine’s Day, another holiday to remember your child, who can no longer celebrate with you. It is a difficult day for all of us who grieve the loss of our child or children.

So I say, embrace Valentine’s Day as a special day to commemorate your child and celebrate your love for him or her. Death may end our child’s life, but it does not end the relationship we had and still have. Bonds of love are never severed by death, and the love we shared with our child will never die either.

What can we do to celebrate this day? I am a writer and what better thing to do but write about my child. I can do a poem, an anecdote, a letter, a song, or a story about something memorable she did for me on Valentine’s Day.

My daughter Marcy never forgot to give me a card. Nor did she ever let her Dad forget. She then had to check out not only the card he bought but also the gift as well. A stamp of approval meant we could all go out for dinner to celebrate. I wish I had kept all the cards she gave me. I only have a few. Usually they were cute cards with a touch of humor, while her father’s cards were more on the romantic side.

Another thing you can do is to go on a short trip to a special location you both loved. I remember one year Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend, as it does this year, so we all went to romantic Sedona, AZ, to celebrate with Marcy and her boyfriend at the time. I have gone back to Sedona on special occasions and immerse myself in the healing power of remembrance.

This Valentine’s Day, light a special candle for your child. Perhaps do it every Valentine’s Day and continue that tradition as you remember the good times you shared. Or make it a holiday where you decide since it is February and arbor day is around the corner, why not plant a tree at your child’s school this year and why not every year.

Talk about your child to anyone who will listen. You will find that people do care and do remember him or her. They may even contribute to the conversation as to something they, too, remember about the child. It will not only surprise you but also please you as well that your child is not forgotten. Recently, I have had that experience and it lifts my day every time.

Volunteer some time to an organization that could use your help. Do it in honor of your child. It could be a child-related organization, a pet organization (if your child had special pets), or any local hospice group. Doing something good for others can help ease your pain.

Creating and practicing personal grief traditions are good for you, particularly if your memories are all positive ones and leave you with a smile or laugh or giggle. These rituals do not mean you have not moved on with your life. They are part of your life as you now live it…without your child.