Uncoupled In a Coupled World

Valentine’s Day is such a couple’s day that it is a particularly hard day for those were uncoupled by death. Too many people have been left with a broken heart that seems even more broken on February fourteenth.

All holidays are hard, of course, but this is an especially difficult one because romance, with its emphasis on love and couplehood, is the theme. Clichés about love abound: You’re nobody unless somebody loves you. Love fulfills you. Love makes the world go round. All you need is love. Love is all that matters. Two hearts beating as one. Soul mates. Everlasting love.

Wherever we go, whatever we do, we see images of happy couples. It seems as if the day is taunting us with our loss, reminding us that once we were part of a couple, and now we are not. Hence, today, more than any other holiday, we have to guard against bitterness.

I say “we,” but I truly don’t include myself. Well, the part about the songs and love clichés is a problem all year round, or at least, it was. I’m mostly okay with being uncoupled in a coupled world because the truth is, you are someone even if you are now alone, even if yours is the only heart that is still beating. But Valentine’s Day itself was never a special day for me and Jeff because we didn’t really celebrate holidays; neither of us saw the point of buying candy or a present just because someone designated a certain day for that purpose.

Still, I am aware that it is an especially difficult time for many who had to deal with the death of a life mate, soul mate, spouse, and my heart goes out to them. Mostly, though, I wanted to present a different side of the heart and flower theme, to let people know that Valentine’s Day is not a good day for everyone.

Today could have been a hard day for me for an entirely different reason: the high right now is zero, and it’s going to go down to minus fifteen tonight, with a wind chill of minus thirty-five. Yikes. That’s cold! I’ve dealt with such temperatures before, but not when I’ve been living alone, and not when I am nearing “elderly.” But so far, I’ve been fine. I even managed to go out a couple of times to clear a path on the sidewalk. I couldn’t do the whole width — as someone kindly reminded me, it’s dangerous doing physical labor in such frigid conditions.

I hope you’re doing okay, too, whatever adverse situation is you might be dealing with today. Some things change if we wait long enough, such as the weather. Even though it seems as if it’s been winter forever, chances are the days will get warmer. Other situations, such as the death of loved one, there’s nothing to do but get up each day and deal with it the best we can. Even then, sometimes things change if we wait long enough. At the very least, we get used to being uncoupled in a coupled world.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator