On this Valentine’s Day, those who have recently lost loved ones may want to use the occasion to honor and remember. At TRU Community Care, we find that holidays can be an especially tough time for our Boulder County hospice families.
Feb. 14 is a holiday designed to celebrate love. If your special person has died and you are going to celebrate this holiday, often kids will need to include their special person in the festivities. The relationship your child has with their special person may continue through all of their developmental stages as they integrate that loss.
The need to remember that special person may come and go as time passes, and depending on the nature of that relationship (e.g. the death of a teacher may be experienced differently than say, a death of a parent). They can choose to remember their person that day or not depending on how they are feeling. Grief looks different for each person, and it is different over time. Just taking a moment to pause and acknowledge the loss and how things have changed allows kids to process. Remind them of what helps them and that they can make themselves safe.
A simple remembering activity you can with your kids is to have each of you draw two hearts and cut them out. The first heart the child colors will represent who s/he is now and the second heart will represent the special person who died. After both hearts are colored, attach them together, symbolically representing the connection. If everyone in the family does it and attaches them all together, it is a visual reminder of each person’s link to the special person. Kids process loss through art and play, and creating time for that can create a meaningful holiday.
Be gentle with yourself in grief during holidays. Find out more about TRU’s Grief Services for adults and children here.