From a remarried widow, to the widow or widower alone on Valentine’s Day. This is my letter to you…

AAll “holidays” are hard, but that first Valentine’s Day (without your love) is the one day that feels as though the world is SCREAMING at you that you lost your ‘one and only’. That your heart is irreparably broken and feels as if it will never repair. And it feels as if there is no way to escape this haunting, except to stay in bed in total silence. No work, no live TV, no radio, no trips to a store, restaurant or any other place that has Valentine’s Day decor or cheery workers dressed in red, and absolutely NO SOCIAL MEDIA!! It’s not as if you don’t already feel isolated and alone…on this day…it is even more compounded and even more real!!!

It seems that no matter how hard you try to insulate yourself from all the sadness you are carrying – there is no way to mentally retreat from the reminder of your own unrelenting heartache.

Please understand, I know it’s not that you aren’t happy for all the people who still have their special someone – you just want YOUR SOMEONE BACK and you don’t want to be reminded of this loss every freaking place you look, or radio station you turn on, or place you go, on February 14.

Let’s add to this pain, that it’s usually cold as SHIT outside and often cloudy too – and that really doesn’t help the dread you are already experiencing.

I know because I felt all those feelings after loosing Greg and then Don.

Yet, in between those deaths and remarriage, I dated, fell in love and received flowers on Valentine’s Day, and I was excited. I felt love had found me again, but I also felt a heavy heart for those who were either in those early grief days, or hadn’t found anyone special and desperately wanted too – and I felt guilty. Guilty for being happy and slightly guilty for sharing photos of those flowers on FB and Instagram or Snapchat – because I knew what it was like to be on the other side of that joy and I felt so incredibly conflicted.

To be honest, I still fee a bit guilty about sharing my joy on social media, because I don’t ever want it to feel like sandpaper to those who are experiencing the intense loss of their loved one.

So to quell some of these conflicted feelings, I would like to say to those who are alone, whose hearts are torn into a million painful pieces and who feel like life will never be anything but dreaded, especially on days like this, that I feel your pain.

And as I post my good things, I want you to know that I realize I run the risk of causing you pain. And I’m sorry – I’m truly so very sorry. If I could come sit with you and hold your hand and take your mind off of your pain I would (and I hope you have people in your life who will do that with you). I acknowledge that when you are alone on this day – be it from grief or not having a special love – it hurts! And seeing others sharing in love can hurt even more. And I hope you can forgive me for the pain I might elicit within your heart and wounded soul.

I really just want those of you who are hurting to know your pain is real and to feel ‘known’. I want you to know that I’m sorry you’re experiencing sorrow on a day where the whole world feels like it’s on romance overdrive, and I hope you are able to find some solace from the burden your grief has thrust upon you.

I also hope you don’t hate me or others (for potentially adding to your deep pain) by sharing our current joys publicly. I want you to know that I don’t share my happiness not acknowledging and respecting your sorrow. I want you to know that I think about you. I think about you today, and on so many other days. I want you to know that my heart literally hurts for you. That I have not forgotten the tide of emotions grief wreaks upon us, and that at times, I’m not sure whether to share my joys because I don’t want to shoot more arrows at your already tattered heart.

Know I struggle too – though it’s different than your struggle, it’s still a challenge on this side of grief. It’s a challenge to share my own joy without feeling like it’s a resounding gong reminding you of your tremendous loss. I guess I’m trying to say that you are not forgotten or ignored, and that your pain is valid.

I do hope you find a healthy way to make it through this day, and the next, until life isn’t so heavy. I promise that day will come – but until it does -please remember that you are loved, you are wonderful and you are seen and remembered – on Valentine’s Day and every other normal and not so normal day.

For those of us who share the similarity of loosing their person, I hope we can respect the contradicting feelings we each have on this day. I hope you don’t want to shoot daggers at my smiling face on social media, but if you do – it’s ok! I was in that place too.

I just really want you to know that as you look around and see love, even from those who have walked a similar path, that you are thought about, and that even as I’m happy for myself, my heart breaks for you. Because no matter how exquisite life becomes after loss – that undoing that death does to those of us left to live in its aftermath, NEVER forget what it’s like to be where you are today. And on a day so focused on love, I think it’s worth sharing that YOU are loved and that the love you’ve lost is not forgotten. And even when it feels as if the world is immune to your shattered soul, there are those of us who know those same feelings, and we want nothing more than to give you hope for your future and to ease your burden, not to add to it. So in case no one else tells you this – I know today is hard and I think about you and acknowledge the brokenness you feel on Valentine’s Day. And if I could take it away I would. Period!

I do hope you know life will go forward and it won’t always hurt as is does today. But today – it probably really sucks and it’s totally ok to be mad and sad and anything else you feel. You don’t have to hide your pain – those who love you know it’s there. They probably just don’t know how to express it to you. So if you are feeling alone, please know you’re not. There are far too many who also understand your deep sorrow and overwhelming loneliness – because we have experienced it too, and today, we send our love and support to you!

May peace find you, and may you feel held in the hearts of those who love you, as you experience your deepest sorrow.

From my broken and reassembled heart to yours, much love – today and everyday.

Berkley