Managing those Difficult Days

Many if not most of us find some days more difficult than others. For some it may be a birthday, or an anniversary, yet for others it may be a song or even the house you live in that can be the basis of these feelings.

For me, the most complex day of the year is Valentine’s Day. During my marriage I found Valentine’s Day the most stressful day of the year. You see Valentine’s Day was the day you did not want to get wrong if you were married to Robyn Street. Full disclosure, my wife was not an overly materialistic person, however she made a very good living and one of the great exercises in our marriage was picking out a gift for Robyn that she had not already given herself!

So, this brings me to the yearly challenge of picking the right gift for this “day of love”. Or as I referred to it” the day my blood pressure increased 15 points”! Get it right and you saw her eyes light up I that way I miss so very much, get it ok, and receive that thank you Terrell, this is nice. Dang! Note to self, on your next business trip come home with something special.

On Sunday I experienced my sixth Valentine’s day with my Robyn. It was a very long day, but a day that has a mixed history with me anyway. Let me give you the background on why I feel this way.

It was on Valentine’s Day of 2014 while taking a stress test that we discovered what would become quadruple bypass surgery that my wife would need to undergo. Despite positive checkups, I now know that she would never fully recover from that surgery. The following year on Valentine’s Day Robyn and I would have our last date, dinner at a French restaurant that she loved. You see Valentine Day and I have a bit of history together.

As the years have gone by and love has not found its way into my life to date, Valentine’s day can sometimes feel like it takes a week for the day to go by. To combat the sadness that comes with it, I have begun to focus on the irony that this day has recently brought into my life. For it was on Valentine’s Day two years ago that my son got engaged to his wife. On that same day two years ago, I accepted a new job and had the first conversation with someone that has become a good friend. No, that friendship has not become love, but she is a widow and we both have come to appreciate the familiarity we have with how difficult it is to lose someone you love. So, could it be brothers, that Valentine’s Day is not so bad after all? Time will tell.

No matter what your difficult day is, let me offer a bit of encouragement to you, push through the uncomfortable feelings. Denial is seldom, if ever progress. While recalling the emptiness, remember the special memories and muster up a smile. Remind yourself if you must that it is just a day and not a lifetime you are felling at that moment.

There are times that I lean on one of the countless words of wisdom my great-grandmother used to remind me of when she would say “remember Terry, trouble do not last always. My brothers, we will carry grief with us the rest of our days, but remember while doing so, we also carry love. This is where you find the strength to carry on. This is where you find the strength to manage those difficult days.


Terrell Whitener is an author, motivational speaker, and coach. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell is the author of The First 365, Learning to Live After Loss. Terrell can be reached at my newly redesigned, there you will find all my social media contacts or through the Widowers Support Network.

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