This time of year, it’s impossible to walk through a flower shop, candy store, or supermarket in Milwaukee, New Berlin, or Brookfield without seeing Valentine’s Day decorations and advertisements at every turn. But these images of togetherness, love, and romance can serve as painful reminders for those who have lost a loved one.
Here at Krause Funeral Homes, we want to remind you that if you’ve recently attended a funeral for a loved one, or if it’s been years since you said goodbye, you are never alone. We are here for you long after the funeral is over, ready to help any way we can.
We also want to remind you that Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about celebrating romantic love. You can turn this day into an opportunity to celebrate all the different kinds of love you have in your life. Read on for three examples of how you can take an emotionally challenging day and turn it into something bright and beautiful.
The Love of Friends and Family
When George’s wife, Gloria, died following a long battle with cancer, he almost lost the ability to make it through the days the followed. He had especially been dreading Valentine’s Day. They had celebrated 57 Valentine’s Days together, and he had tried to outdo himself each year with the gifts, romance, and the surprises. He didn’t know what he was going to do this year. His children and grandchildren were aware George was having a hard time, so they hosted a special Valentine’s dinner in Gloria’s honor. George was delighted when they told him about it, and he brought along Gloria’s go-to cocktail (cranberry juice and champagne). His son and daughter prepared Gloria’s favorite meal, complete with cherry chocolate cake for dessert. The family shared memories of the ways Gloria made Valentine’s Day special over the years. As the evening came to a close, they all agreed that Gloria would have loved their dinner party. Keeping her memory alive gave George comfort when he needed it most.
The Love of Pets
If there was one passion Nancy’s partner, Mark, had in life, it was animals. Mark and Nancy had two dogs, two cats, and a bird of their own, and at Mark’s insistence, they also fostered animals through their local animal rescue group. Once a month, he volunteered at a no-kill animal shelter. Nancy remembered watching Mark toss giant bags of animal food and mountains of blankets into his car and lugging them down to the shelter every month. Mark died of heart failure in November, and as Valentine’s Day began to approach that following spring, Nancy started to feel her heart sink with dread. But then – suddenly – she knew the perfect way to spend this romantic holiday. Nancy held a pet food drive through her local women’s group and ended up with a trunk filled with food, treats, toys, and other supplies. She hauled it down to the shelter Mark loved so much. She found her heart was filled to the brim as the other volunteers and staff told her stories of Mark’s compassionate touch with the animals. She poured all her love into caring for those animals, just as she knew Mark would have and felt his presence closer than she had since he had been gone.
Love for Yourself
When her husband, Vince, was killed in a tragic car accident right before Thanksgiving, Dana was in shock. She threw herself into holiday preparations to try to distract herself from her grief. Now, it was over and in addition to feeling sad, she was exhausted. She felt a pit in her stomach when she spotted her first Valentine’s Day advertisement. Vince had always made a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, even though it wasn’t really her thing. But she loved him, so she appreciatively sniffed the red roses he gave her and took her red dress to the cleaner’s a week before Valentine’s Day – she knew he’d have made reservations at their favorite French restaurant. As she contemplated how empty the day would feel without him, she felt a new sense of determination rising up in her. Without a second thought, she booked herself a few appointments for the holiday at her local day spa. Pampered and relaxed, she grabbed her favorite take-out on the way home and curled up on the couch to indulge in her favorite movie. As she ended the day, cuddled in bed with a glass of wine and her wedding album, she suddenly didn’t feel so alone. She felt a new inner strength and realized that if she took care of herself and processed her grief in a healthy way – she was going to be just fine. Just as Vince would have wanted.
We hope these stories spark some thought for you – especially if you’re facing the holiday without your love for the first time. Remember that our Krause team is here for you when you need us. We have years of experience caring for grieving families, and we know the best resources and support groups Milwaukee County has to offer. Never hesitate to reach out to us for added support and encouragement.