February 14th. A day to celebrate love with flowers, chocolate, romance. Sounds wonderful if you have someone to love, or even the hope of finding your true love, but if you are one of the many bereft whose beloved has died, the day brings not romance but tears. You remember that once you were loved, that once you loved. Of course, you still do love — love doesn’t die — but loving the eternal essence of someone who is dead is not exactly the same thing as loving someone who is present in body and mind and heart and voice.
We bereft are no longer whole-hearted. Our poor hearts still beat the same, but not with the same intensity they once did. Where once joy (or at least contentment) coursed through our veins, sorrow now flows. Sorrow doesn’t always flow, of course. We do heal . . . sort of. We piece our hearts together the best we can and go on living. But then comes Valentine’s Day, reminding us once again that we are broken-hearted.
My life mate/soul mate and I did nothing on Valentine’s Day. For us, it was just another meaningless day given significance only because we were together. Most of my fellow bereft are dreading tomorrow, knowing it will bring an upsurge in grief. They are planning lunches with friends and special outings to keep from thinking of what they have lost. I too am planning to go to lunch with friends, and this very effort underlines my problem. I can find people to do things with, but I no longer have someone to do nothing with.
My mate and I did nothing on Valentine’s Day, but we did it together. And now tomorrow I will have one more irreplaceable thing to mourn — nothing.
February 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm
A friend emailed me today to remind me of Valentine’s, as if I needed to be reminded. She said I should celebrate and remember the love Dan and I had. My friend has not suffered loss like I did. She tries to understand, but until you walk this road you don’t know how grief turns your life around. I told her I remember our love every day. The reciprocating love isn’t there and holidays and events focusing on couples make the loss more poignant, the sorrow sadder. Tomorrow, I’ll miss the cards, DeMet’s Turtles and special dinner, but most of all, I will miss Dan.
February 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm
Been thinking of you all day, Jan, and hoping you found a bit of peace in the midst of sorrow.
February 14, 2012 at 12:13 am
I became my own Valentine today – it is the 14th here in New Zealand – and cooked myself some yummy things and had a great day. It is hard being smacked in the head with all the commercialism of it all and being reminded that I am on my own but today it ended up being ok after all.
February 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm
Sounds lovely. My lunch went well, so today ended up being okay for me, too.
February 14, 2012 at 8:23 am
I mailed my stepmother a Valentine Card and wrote: A Day to Cherish Beautiful Memories. My Dad has been dead since 2003 and I know she still talks to him and I feel for her, but they did have 42 years together and looking at my two beautiful, intelligent and compassionate daughters who are alone and probably always will be (except for the animals they rescue) I have to think that having memories of having been loved must be a wonderful thing. Cherish the memories.
February 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm
Thank you for the reminder. We had so many bad years due to his health and financial problems, so I haven’t felt as if I’d had many memories to cherish. But we were together, and that in itself is something to cherish. Thank you for the reminder, Sandy.
February 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm
My parents were married on Valentine’s Day. Thirty-seven years and three months later, my dad passed away. The following Valentine’s Day my mum was alone in the house she raised three kids in and shared with her husband. She was a quiet woman, didn’t share much about life after dad, just that bad things happen and whining about them wasn’t going to change anything. She lived through 18 more Valentine’s without him. I think she was grateful for having loved and been loved, and those memories kept her going. But I’m guessing.
February 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm
I’m going to try to focus more on what I had than what I now have not. As someone else pointed out, not everyone is priviledged to have been connected in such a significant way with another person.
Thank you for your comment, Joylene. You always brighten my day with your remarks.