Suncoast Hospice Bereavement Counselor Dwight Douglass, LCSW

It’s that time of year again for Cupid to strike and chocolate and roses to delight – Valentine’s Day. Countless sweethearts and families will show their love and celebrate the occasion.

What happens when the one you loved has died? You never forget the feelings you once shared. How can you still express that love on a day that may lead to sadness?

We invite the community to come together on February 6 at Empath Health for a new workshop on how to honor and celebrate loved ones on Valentine’s Day. This event is free-of-charge and open to anyone who has lost a loved one.

Dwight Douglass, LCSW, a Suncoast Hospice bereavement counselor, designed and will lead the workshop. Previous workshops have focused on other holidays.

“We have never done anything like this before. It is the elephant in the room. It is something that people avoid, but are aware of,” explained Douglass.

He plans to explore popular notions of love with the group.

“If you think of love song lyrics or movies, they may say that love never dies. No matter who your loved one is that you grieve, there is still love that you have for that person,” he said.

Many individuals really miss their past Valentine’s Day traditions, he said.

“People will not get the flowers and physical things that they once did. While others might have chosen to stay home and relax with their loved ones, and now they may feel

abandoned and emptiness without the choice to do that. What can they do now to keep their loved ones in their hearts?”

Everyone will be encouraged to talk and contribute ideas of new ways to honor and celebrate their loved ones.

“This will be a safe place for discussion and sharing. We will get through it together with humor and problem-solving. Hopefully, people will have an “a-ha” moment that works for them,” Douglass noted.

Loving and caring for oneself will be one important lesson that Douglass will address.

He added, “It is like that old song that says the greatest gift is to love yourself. Valentine’s is not just romantic love but is also self-love – be your own valentine. We have to learn how to love ourselves again.”


The Honoring Our Loved Ones on Valentine’s Day workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 6 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Empath Health service center in the Garden House. Call (727) 523-3455 to reserve your seat.