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Valentine’s day – how can you support the parent who’s left?

Valentine’s day – how can you support  the parent who’s left?

There are many tough aspects of losing your mum or dad.  One of these can be how to help and support the parent who is left. There can be obligation here, a feeling that you need to somehow fill the shoes of the parent you’ve lost, and a huge amount of guilt that you can’t (and often don’t really want to) do that.  Days like Valentine’s day can be particularly tough. You may have lost your dad and on V day you feel bad for your mum, worried about her, and wish you could do something to take away her hurt.

So, what can you actually do for your remaining parent on Valentine’s day?

Firstly get a bit realistic with yourself.  To save yourself guilt….know that each person’s journey is their own. There is great strength to be found and lessons to be learnt for everyone going through this.  You cannot live this for your mum or dad. Nor can you save them from this.  You can do your best on your own journey, support them in whatever way works best for you, and know that they are strong enough.  I often tell clients that we usually have no idea how strong our mums are until our dads die.  I always thought I was the tough one. My dad’s death showed me that my mum had a core strength that none of us, including Mum, had ever realised.  She probably hadn’t had the opportunity to find it and use it before then.  In her G.R.I.E.F  she found it.

 Do something different for them for V day

You might like to mark the occasion with flowers or chocolates or a card for them.  Whatever would be a natural gesture for you.  And that’s the important thing – a natural gesture from you.  You don’t need to do what the mum or dad you lost used to do….if they always bought a certain type of flower you don’t need to do the same.  The reason for this is that you are not trying to be the person you and they have lost.   Share your own love for them with them – now more than ever.  And the way to do that is with a gesture from your heart, not someone else’s.  Valentine’s day can still be celebrated but in a different way – you don’t need to create it the way it has always been.

If you reeeeaaally want to then ok…do what your mum or dad would have done.  But be sure to make your own gesture of love to them as well.  Something uniquely you.

So…what kind of thing might you do for them (if you are going to ‘Valentine’ them) that shows your love for them?