Love and Loss

Posted on: Wed, 02/09/2022 - 11:12
By: Amy Romaine, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, ATCS, BC-TMH , Clinical Supervisor, Grief and Traumatic Loss Services


Walking into stores during the month of February, we are bombarded with images of flowers, chocolate and hearts in celebration of Valentine’s Day. These images can often be grief triggers, symbolizing love that was lost, love that will never be felt again, relationships that have permanently been altered and can’t be experienced in person. It can stop us in our tracks. How do we move from being frozen and stuck? One way is to use that very same imagery to transform the experience. We can shift these images to take on additional or new meanings, helping us to integrate our grief experiences.

Flowers: Roses are often a symbol used to express love. Let’s shift that symbol for a moment, and look at the rose as a way to check-in with ourselves, identifying a thorn and a petal of our grief experience. The thorn will represent a challenge or a difficulty we have experienced while grieving. The petal will represent a strength, a gratitude or something new we have experienced while grieving. What is your thorn and your petal today? If it feels comfortable for you, share your thorn and petal with a trusted grief ally.

Chocolate: We can also shift our relationships to objects, songs, and experiences. How did your loved one express their love to you while they were alive? Is there something that represents that love? Perhaps you shared cupcakes with your brother on special occasions. Maybe for the month of February, you try out a new cupcake recipe or a new cupcake flavor at your favorite bakery. Perhaps your grandmother inspired your love of art and there is a drawing pencil or a piece of artwork that reminds you of her. Maybe for the month, you place that pencil or that artwork in a prominent place at home, or maybe you make that gallery painting your wallpaper on your phone. Perhaps your father sung you the same lullaby at night when you were a child. Maybe for the month, you challenge yourself to learn that song.

Hearts: Community is a protective factor when grieving. When we feel more connected and less alone, it creates space for integration. We welcome you to participate in a virtual community art project. We will be creating a collage of hearts with names of those who have died. Contact Amy Romaine,, for details on how to participate.

So next time you head into the supermarket, see a commercial or hear a radio ad that directs your mind and heart towards love that has been lost take these imagery transformative ideas into consideration. The shift in what these images can mean to you may help you navigate your grief experience in a new light and maybe even introduce a new tradition to honor one that has passed.

If you or someone you know is experiencing challenges in your everyday life, including grief, loss, or depression, we’re here to help. Private, confidential services specialized for adults, children, teens, and families are available. Call 877.922.2377 or email to schedule an appointment.