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.