Love Grieved on Valentine’s Day

There are so many people who long for a love to share Valentine’s Day with. There are hopes and fantasies about spending a day of love with the one that you love. Dinner by candlelight, a long walk under the moonlight, roses with breakfast in bed, and little tiny hearts that scatter the doorway. For some of us, this is a dream for Valentine’s Day. For others, this is a long distant memory of a love that once was but is no more.

In many ways, we were never really told how to grieve love on Valentine’s Day. We were never told how to cope with the idea that the person we believed we would spend the rest of our lives with is no longer part of our reality. On Valentine’s Day, a day of love and corporate cuteness, we are forced to confront the absence of Love. We can find love in our friends and families and even our furry friends but we have to wrestle with the reckoning of a love long lost.

For some of us, we had to watch the person who took our breath away at first glance wither and waste away because of inadequate and homophobic healthcare policy initiatives. We had to watch the love of our lives lose themselves as they sought to find a place in the world that was not designed to recognize who they are and how they existed. For some of us, Valentine’s Day is a reminder of the love that we have to mourn instead of celebrate.

But as there is pain, there is also joy.

There is a comfort that comes in having a memory with someone you loved, with someone you shared your most intimate being with. There are no rules to grief. There are no right ways of grieving or remembering someone, especially on a holiday designed for you to remember that you are not alone.

On Valentine’s Day it is OK to grieve. It is normal to grieve. It is beautiful to grieve. Even if you already moved on, it is OK to grieve love that is no longer around. It is fine to remember what once was but will never be again. To love is to remember. To celebrate a memory is how you’re able to honor your departed love on Valentine’s Day.

There is an infamous quote: “What is grief but love persevering.” I disagree. Love does not have to persevere; it just has to exist and manifest within us. The time we had was given for a reason. The laugh we had a while ago is forever in our minds. The moments we shared will last a lifetime. There will always be random moments that cause us to flashback to a time we shared with our love. There will always be little reminders of our love that once was. And not even death can take that away.

However, the warmth of those memories can not block the reality of the possibility of finding love again. Shrouded in fear and trepidation, our ability to love again and to be loved again still exists. Whether it’s from scrolling on an app or from meeting someone at the local bookstore or from creating ongoing memories from a temporary meet-up, the ability to find an endless love always remains. So while on Valentine’s Day we can take a moment to feel our feelings and savor the memory of a great love we once had, we must also remain vulnerable enough to let love find us where we are now.

I hope this Valentine’s Day you take a moment to honor the love that you had in your life and when you’re done remembering and grieving your love, I pray that you open yourself up to finding love again.

Miracle Jones is a community organizer and queer activist who works in the Pittsburgh area to advocate for equity along the intersections of gender, race, and class.Her work focuses on implementing abolition based principles and transformative justice through writing, policy, and advocacy.  Headshot by Emmai Alaquiva.