Candle and a red rose

Coping with Valentine’s Day as a widowed parent

Valentine’s Day can be tough when you’ve been bereaved, particularly when you’ve lost your life partner.

We asked our friends at the charity WAY Widowed and Young to share some tips from their members – who’ve all been widowed before their 51st birthday – to suggest ways of coping with this difficult date. Here’s what they said:

This will be the third Valentine’s Day without my husband. We never made a big deal of it, but we did buy cards and I’ve continued to do that. I display it initially and then put it in my memory box. My daughters and I make cards for each other and we turn it into a day of love for each other. I also send myself flowers and buy some chocolates or something.

Nikki, WAY member

I have bought cards made from paper containing seeds for Valentine’s Day and my husband’s birthday. The idea is that they can be planted afterwards and flowers will grow from the cards I cannot give him.

Jane, WAY member

I am going to buy a card like I always would and write everything I’d like to say to him in it. For my own sake, I am also going to go for a coffee or lunch somewhere with a friend so I have something to look forward to on that date, even though it’ll be difficult.

Charlotte, WAY member

Here are some other tips from young widowed people who are part of WAY Widowed and Young’s peer support network:

We light a candle and I give some Valentine’s chocolates for our sons.

I now see Valentine’s Day as a day to remember the love we had and will forever hold in my heart. My son and I will make a card to put in Daddy’s memory box. I will also cook his favourite meal and buy a few boxes of chocolate to enjoy.

Now I’m widowed, I use the day to reflect on and think about love in all its different forms. I celebrate our love.

We can still remember and celebrate the love we shared in other ways by connecting with our partner on the day – in whatever way feels right for us.

Take each day as it comes. Bad day, good day, indifferent day – just try your best to ride the waves. Never feel guilty about your feelings and let your feelings flow.

I decided last year to celebrate the love of friendship so my friend and I went out to dinner and to a show. In future years I’d love to get a group of friends together and go out for dinner rather than it all be couples.

Love isn’t just about couples and over the years I’ve celebrated with my daughter. We might have a little pamper evening. I think self-love is equally as important, especially when you no longer have that someone there to spoil. Spoil yourself!

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About WAY

The WAY Widowed and Young community offers a safe space to talk to others who understand how it feels to be widowed at a young age. Find out how WAY can support you at

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