A Crafter's Life


A little less than a week ago I began having quite a bit of anxiety over how I was going to face my first Valentine’s Day without my Valentine. In December 2018 my husband Terry suddenly passed away. I’ve been with Terry more than 1/2 my life and we’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day.

I was anticipating a painful day on February 14th, completely stricken my grief, perhaps not even able to get out of bed.

In the middle of my anticipatory grieving anxiety, I suddenly realized that doing something for others might be the solution to dealing with Valentine’s Day.

For the past 5 weeks I’ve been in a difficult but awesome Spousal Loss Grief Support Group that meets weekly. It suddenly hit me that all the widows and widowers in the grief support group with me were facing the same dilemma of their first Valentine’s Day without their Valentines.

So why don’t I invite them all the be my Valentines?

And that is just what I did.

For My Valentines

For the men in my grief support group:

Terry’s favorite cookies were the Molasses Crinkle Cookies that I loved to make. I’ve done little cooking and no baking since he passed so it was a pretty big thing to open my cookbook and actually bake something.

I made a huge batch of these cookies and it felt good to bake again, so good that I actually experienced a sweet moment of joy as I assembled the ingredients.


I put the cookies in a basket and included little sandwich bags for them to take as many as they wanted home.

For the women in my grief support group:

I gave them each little wallets. If you are new to my blog here is a post about the little wallets I made a zillion of since I first became obsessed with them – “Little Wallet Madness” . If you are not new to my blog then you know all about little wallets and some of you own some of my little wallets you won in my blog anniversary drawings!

For the group facilitator:

I gave her a set of my little heart pillows, as she has been helping us heal our hearts.


I then made “Oregon Healing Hearts” valentines using my circle punch and heart punch from my card marking supplies with Oregon/outdoor themed colored papers:


People had the option of an “Oregon Healing Heart” with a dog in the middle of the heart (as I consider dogs healing) or a plain heart:


Here is the whole set up I surprised them with earlier this week at our weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group:


I think it went over pretty well. The facilitator let me present them at the start of our support group meeting.

The men were willing to share their cookies and both the men and women got to take home some cookies if they wanted. There was laughter, smiles and hugs despite the difficult topics we discussed at that support group session.

Feeling at Peace

Today is Valentine’s Day and I feel at peace. I think it is because I stepped outside of myself and my grief and thought of others for a moment.

Day and night wallowing in my grief was not working for me, even if everyone expected and supported it. I had to try something else. That’s where my grief group came in, my unexpected valentines.

Grieving is hard work, maybe the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s definitely a hobby I don’t recommend for anybody.  But, if you’re suddenly find yourself a member of the club that no one ever wants to join, find a grief group. Part of what I have learned from this experience is, don’t try to go it alone.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

79 thoughts on “Valentines”

  1. Tierney, I am so incredibly impressed by your decision to celebrate LOVE by caring for others! You honored yours and Terry’s love in such an amazing way! Way to go woman! I am seriously so proud of you! Much love today and everyday! Xo

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  2. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Yay to you for being a compassionate, forward thinker! The best way to help ourselves out of a difficult time is to help others. I continue to keep you in my prayers. A fellow Bendite and quilter, Corni Q

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  3. Wow this post is amazing. You are such a strong person, and so compassionate that you’re bringing joy to others through your talents. You go girl! And I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your husband, but no doubt he was right in the kitchen with you when you were baking those cookies for others!

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  4. Tierney, you are amazing! I just printed off your Ralph Emerson quote, which i will no doubt post in my room along with many other inspirational quotes. You have made a difference in so many lives, including mine. -Mary

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  5. “I made a huge batch of these cookies and it felt good to bake again, so good that I actually experienced a sweet moment of joy as I assembled the ingredients.”

    I love this description of being in the moment, regardless of icky circumstances…’experiencing a sweet moment of joy’
    Plus you shared a bit of ‘him’ with those in your group by sharing those cookies.
    Your post gave me a ‘sweet moment of joy’ reading of your journey through a first Valentine’s without your valentine…

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  6. Oh Tierney, I had no idea! I saw a post that said you were moving and I wondered if something was wrong, but I had no idea that you had been through such a traumatic event. I’ve been in and out at work for various reasons…which will be briefly mentioned in the addendum of the next Dewey Hop post…and I too have been grieving since the Mister passed away April 2, 2018…8 months before your husband.

    My heart just goes out to you because this is also my first Valentine’s Day since losing my husband. Although I could never presume to understand your own struggle, I wanted to say that I do think it’s a good thing to focus on others while finding new ways to enjoy holidays and other important events.

    I have another friend who lost her husband after a fight against brain cancer. Her husband and mine were good friends who often visited and encouraged each other in the hospital. He died just a few months after my husband. Even though I am hurting myself, it’s helpful to think about her and what I can do to ease her transition. We’ve discovered that the two of us can do things together–such as going out tonight on Valentine’s Day as a support for each other. We are moving on but if either of us has a weak moment we are there for each other and we feel we can talk about our husbands. Very similar to a support group. I’ve said all of this to say that you are doing the right thing to have surrounded yourself with people who understand and can support you while also trying to make their pain a little easier to deal with. When we give back we are blessed many times over.

    I will be praying for you. Please feel free to contact me if you need to talk…or anything at all!

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    1. I am so sorry I did not realize Mister passed away. If you mentioned it on your blog and I missed it, I am so sorry. Hugs to you. That is beautiful that you and your friend are helping each other through the difficult time and going out tonight. I am going out post Valentines Day with a couple of girlfriends. Thanks for having me in your prayers – virtual hugs to you!

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  7. what a wonderful idea – may you continue to use this idea and others for festive periods as way to help others and of course yourself, changing the way a certain time period…is definitely a starter. Great for other reasons, I’m struggling with a certain issue, that is actually no longer a problem…my headspace is still in rattle mode, so now back to baby steps…

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  8. You are an amazing person! What a thoughtful way to help yourself and others through one of many “firsts” this coming year 💓.

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  9. Well done. You are a true blessing to that group and your community. I have walked down that path and it is by helping others that we truly help ourselves. This is not like a surgery that you heal from or the flu that will pass, you find that there is a piece of your heart that will never be the same, but you do learn to live and walk and care again. Keep baking those cookies and sharing them with the universe. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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  10. Once again your generous and loving nature rises to comfort and bring joy to others.  You honor this world we live in.  Peace and love, mj

    ⁣Sent from BlueMail ​

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  11. Dearest Tierney,
    What a sweetheart. I am a recipient of your love/cookies and wallet. Thank you for following your heart and sharing your love, with us, your grieving friends. You have forever touched my heart with your kindness, generosity and love. May you be blessed today!

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  12. The other commentators speak so eloquently of your compassion, wisdom and strength, which is so true. This was a wonderful thing to do, and I love how you have included the things you love ~ baking, quilting, making, giving. The other side is that you have found a pathway through difficult a moment that honours your love for Terry. I hope it gives you strength to find other pathways for other difficult days in the year. xox

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  13. I think that is a positive way of getting through this day. Sharing, giving and remembering the joys and taste of Terry’s favorite cookies. Blessings to you and your friends in your support group. Hugs to my quilting sister. ❤

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  14. Love continues, even when life does not. Bless you for sharing the love you feel for Terry with others. I am sure it helped make the week easier for all of you.

    I have wondered how Mike is doing without Terry. I know they were very close.

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  15. Oh Tierney, that is an amazingly sweet idea! I can only imagine how you’ve inspired the group to continue sharing their love with others, and I am once again impressed by your ingenuity and resourcefulness. Turning your concerns into positive actions is truly wise.

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  16. Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. You will come thru this because you have a generous spirit. Thinking good thoughts for you.

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  17. This is such a beautiful post, Tierney. It was so kind and thoughtful of you to respond to others’ grief and extend yourself to your group members with bakes and makes on Valentine’s Day. The cookies look delicious (I love molasses, and even cook with it), you know that I’m a lover of your marvelous wallets, and I’m sure your group members were very comforted by your generous and compassionate actions. ❤

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