Buy Yourself Flowers for Valentine’s Day


RosePhil always brought me a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day. Brought. They weren’t delivered. He thought that was too extravagant. Every Valentine’s Day he would stop by the grocery store on his way home and pick up a dozen roses. I’d make dinner. We’d exchange cards and have a romantic evening at home.

The first Valentine’s Day after he passed I still felt surrounded with love. I missed him but chose to focus on the love of my friends and family and the happy memories of Valentine’s Days past. (Note: I’m not saying it was easy!)

My sister gave me a single rose and a card. My nephew brought a sweet card and box of candy. What surprised me most was that three of Phil’s buddies called me. Two gave lame excuses for calling but I knew they just wanted to know that I was okay. The other was upfront. “It’s Valentine’s Day and I wanted to check on you,” Mike called before taking his wife to dinner. ”Do something fun and don’t be sad,” he said.

Of course I missed my husband and grieved that he was no longer with me. Valentine’s Day is for couples and I was no longer part of a couple. Still, I was surrounded by love. Not romance. Love. Caring. Friendship. I gave thanks for those types of love that are especially important in the absence of romantic love!

That day I decided to always celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers. I could choose to be sad because I was alone or I could choose to celebrate the happy marriage I’d had and the love of family and friends that is still in my life.

I’ve found that buying myself flowers spreads joy to others too. The first Valentine’s Day that I put a dozen roses on the grocery checkout counter, the cashier said cheerfully, “You’re about to make someone happy!”

“They’re for me,” I laughed.

“Good for you!” she said enthusiastically. The lady in line behind me agreed. They shared a smile and loved my story about buying flowers for myself now that my husband is gone. I posted a photo of the flowers on Facebook and friends made happy comments. Maybe it gives others permission to give themselves flowers too.

Many single, divorced, and widowed friends confess that Valentine’s Day is difficult for them. Some openly hate it. Sometimes they stress over it and refuse to go out and face restaurants filled with couples. Would I like to have romance? Sure. But I do have love. Why not celebrate that on Valentine’s Day? It sure beats sitting home feeling blue.

In the years that I’ve been widowed I’ve celebrated at home with my flowers, a movie, and chocolates. I’ve gone with a friend to a casual restaurant for early dinner around 5:30 and sat at the bar. (By the way, that’s where you find single guys on February 14th.) One year I went to a play with a girlfriend. Another year I went with a group of gals to see a movie that released on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be sad. Find someone else who may be feeling unloved and do something fun with them. Look around and see all the love in your life and celebrate that. Love of your children and family. Love of friends. Love of your pets. Love of Chunky Monkey. (Hey, it’s a one-time splurge, OK?) Love of what brings you joy.

(NOTE: This is an excerpt from “Building A Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life” published by Myra McElhaney, 2016. Available on or by emailing

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