When my children were young we visited my mom on Valentine’s Day. My mom lived in a retirement community and I knew many of her neighbors probably wouldn’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day so I thought we’d do something thoughtful. I had my daughters help bake and decorate valentine cookies and we packed them with ribbons. While visiting my mom, the girls walked door to door and delivered the cookies. It was a wonderful way to teach my children how to think of others who may be lonely or in need of some companionship.
Over the years I’ve found that Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity not only to let your loved ones know that you care but to reach out to others who may be going through a tough time and may be feeling alone or isolated. If a friend, family member, neighbor, colleague, or community member is bereaved, ill, or dealing with personal difficulties, this is a good time and a good day to reach out.
Recently a friend shared some challenging things that were happening in her life. I listened and was deeply touched by the problems that she and her family are facing. As we ended the conversation, I spent some time thinking about her and her family and what I could possibly do to help. There really was nothing I could do to remedy the situation and the best way for me to be supportive was to listen. But I wanted to do something more to help her as she has always helped me. And then I remembered that Valentine’s Day was coming and I could do something thoughtful for Valentine’s Day.
The greeting card section of my local store was stocked with valentines and there were cards for every kind of relationship. I selected one for a special friend and took the time to write a personal note. I was so happy to have a thoughtful way to connect with my friend.
I don’t look at Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday but as a bright spot in the midst of a dismal month. I like to think about the people in my life who could use some care and select a way to bring them cheer. Whether it is home-baked cookies, a card, a helium heart balloon, or a pot of primroses from the grocery store, any gesture on your part is sure to brighten someone’s day.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons/karen horton