4 Steps for Surviving Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day can be hard, especially if you’ve lost someone.

I used to think the whole Valentine’s affair was silly. Candy, chocolates, cards, and flowers. Growing up, I saw a lot of show, but little substance.

Now, I see the day differently. “Be my Valentine” has a new meaning.


“Be My Valentine”

There’s a lot encompassed in those three words:

  • You are loved.
  • You are wanted.
  • You matter to me.
  • You are special.
  • I’m thinking of you.
  • I’m grateful for you.
  • You are not alone.

No wonder this phrase is powerful. We’re hot-wired to love and be loved. We’re relational creatures who thrive on meaningful and safe connection. When our relational needs are met, it trickles down into the rest of life. Our hearts are more settled and content. We worry and strive less. Peace and joy come with knowing we are loved.

That’s why grief hurts. We dared to love. When hearts have been joined, separation of any kind is painful. A person’s presence is so powerful that when someone is missing it leaves a tangible void. Their absence is palpable. It’s like a shortage of oxygen.

The loneliness can be smothering. It’s like trying to walk through waist-deep mud. Slow-going. Exhausting. It can feel impossible.

Let’s face it. Valentine’s is tough for those enduring loss. It should be.

So what can we do?


4 Steps to Help Survive the Day

Here are 4 tips to help make it through February 14:


Step 1: Meet the day head-on and make a plan.

Valentine’s Day will not be stopped. Sitting back and dreading its approach isn’t loving to ourselves or anyone else. What if we took the bull by the horns, and leaned into the Day instead?

Make a plan. What do you want to do? When? How? With whom?

As you make your plan, consider the triggers out there. Couples everywhere, holding hands, smiling, laughing, and having a good time. Romantic music and messages will fill the speakers and airwaves. How much can you handle? How much do you want to handle?

Make a plan. Keep it simple.


Step 2: Honor your loved one. 

As you make your plan, is there a way you can honor the loved one you lost? Write a letter. Buy a card. Release a balloon. Give a gift in his or her name. Honor a Valentine’s tradition he or she liked.

Some might not want to honor the person – especially if they left or you parted on less than good terms. That’s okay. Move on to Step 3.


Step 3: Be nice to you.

Whatever plan you come up with, please be nice to yourself. Your loved one would want that.

Again, what do you want to do?

If you’re angry at the one who left, consider doing yourself a favor by forgiving them. This could be your Valentine’s gift to yourself. If you can’t forgive now, put it on your radar screen for the future. You don’t need that extra emotional weight on top of everything else.


Step 4: Reach out to someone you appreciate

Use the Day. Reach out to someone you respect, appreciate, or admire. Valentine’s Day is about expressing love. Share some. You’ll encourage them, and it will help your hurting heart too.


Here we go…

February 14 will come and go. You can make it count. Take your heart seriously. Make a plan. Honor your loved one, if you can. Be nice to yourself. Reach out and encourage someone.

Breathe deeply. This too shall pass.

P.S. The HEARTBROKEN Valentine’s 2-for-1 Event is underway! Purchase one copy, and we’ll send you two. Get two, we’ll send four. You get the idea. No quantity limits, and free shipping on the free copies. This is great time to grab gifts for those you care about.

(Heartbroken: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse was a 2015 Amazon Top 10 Bestseller, USA Best Book Awards Finalist, and National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist)

Happy New Year?


Well, it’s 2016.

“Happy New Year!” they say.

Because of heavy losses, some of us might take exception to the happy part. We might hope it’s better than last, but we can’t quite imagine what happy would be yet.

Others of us are barely scraping by. We’re exhausted, and wondering where the energy for life is going to come from. Perhaps we’re numb, and unable to enter in to any kind of thinking about the future.

Some of us are cautiously peering ahead, wondering if there’s more loss waiting around the bend. We’ve been hit hard, and need time to heal.

What will this year be like? We don’t know. One thing is certain – it will be different than the last.

When I think about what I’m hoping for this year, several words come to mind.



I would like to experience more peace in my life.

My history of loss is heavy, and I still deal trauma as far back as childhood. Anxiety and fear used to be as natural as breathing for me.  I’ve learned over the decades that peace isn’t about circumstances, but rather about how secure my heart is. Peace in the midst of great storms is possible.

I want more of this kind of peace. More safety of the heart sounds wonderful.



I would like to let go more, and travel lighter.

For example, when I sense something amiss, I jump and try to fix it. I reach out and try to control things before they get out of hand. Sounds like I’m trying to protect myself, and those I love, from another loss.

This is kind of hyper-vigilant, try-to-be-in-control kind of living destroy the peace I long to experience. Ugh.

Do what I can. Live more in the present moment. Let go of more. Release things more quickly. Trust. 

For me, trust seems to lead to peace, and peace in turn facilitates more trust.

What do you want for your heart this year? What does your heart need the most?

Take this seriously, my friend.

You’re not alone. You’re not crazy. Together, we can make it.


P.S. Two quick news items:

  1. Heartbroken Valentine’s Day campaign – Valentine’s Day is coming, and it’s not fun for everyone – especially those who’ve lost spouses. From mid-January until Valentine’s Day, we’ll be sharing the Heartbroken video on social media and offering a BOGO event (buy one, get one free) on this award-winning bestseller. You can help us spread the word by sharing upcoming social media posts and emails.
  2. New e-bookThe Hole in My Heart is a free e-book we’ll be offering beginning in mid-February. This easy-to-read volume is designed to connect with hurting hearts by addressing some of the powerful question grief stirs within us. We’ll keep you posted!
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