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Valentine's Day Is Going to Make Dad Sad



"Valentine’s Day is coming, and my mother died a year ago this month. Mom lived a long, healthy life to age 95, and then she passed suddenly. My father is still living.

I know that Dad is going to be sad this month; he really misses Mom. She was a lovely lady and wonderful mother. There is a lot to miss.

To some, this may not seem important, but it’s on my mind. What do I do about Valentine’s Day as it relates to my father? It was a special day for him and my Mom. I guess I just hope that he won’t remember the day and avoid possible sadness. The problem with that is how sharp Dad is. He watches news, reads papers, etc. I doubt the day will go by without him realizing it is Valentine’s Day. If I recognize it in any way, will I make him feel worse or better?"



Valentine’s Day is such an emotional holiday in this country. We all hope for the best and fear the worst, but somehow manage to survive it. It’s all tied to how much we are loved, which is a basic human need. Due to advertising, we’ve come to associate red hearts, flowers, candy, and romantic dinners with desire and love on this occasion.

It starts in grade school, with the boxes of valentines we purchase for children. Nowadays, school makes the day quite inclusive, and children are required to give everyone a valentine, though they do weigh the messages on them and the potential meaning for each classmate. So, we teach our young ones at an early age to expect varying messages of affection on this holiday each year.

As we become adolescents, Valentine’s Day becomes tied to physical attraction, though the valentine trappings remain the same.

Fast forward to mature relationships. In popular culture, shame befalls the man who dares forget Valentine’s Day and showering his partner with affection. Your father has experienced many of these days over his long life. When you have recognized a holiday for all of your conscious life, you are going to remember it always, and miss a spouse that died as recent as one year ago. I don’t see how that can be avoided. 

I believe that any thoughtful gesture on your part would make the day a bit less difficult. Valentines from the grandkids, heart-shaped cookies, chocolate candies, or a quick lunch would likely be appreciated by your father. It will not take away the loss of your mother, his wife, though it will remind him of what he does have and who is in life right now. It’s not necessary to fill every moment of the day with hearts and flowers, as you cannot replace your mother or his feeling of loss. You can, though, let him know that he is loved. After all, that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.


About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

RN / CEO - Emeritus

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