Before we had our kids my husband and I would celebrate like most, with a date, dinner, gifts maybe a movie. When the kids came along, we had so much more love to celebrate and it became a tradition for me to make it a special day for all of us. Usually, there was school and fun activities for the kids, I was usually volunteering somewhere in the schools. Supper time was the time for our family to be together and that was when I would make a nice meal and leave special gifts at each of their place settings. One of the things I enjoyed the most was making a heart shaped chocolate cake. One year I was able to find heart shaped plates, which was perfect for the day.
When my husband passed away, Valentine’s Day was the least thing on my mind, but when that first Valentine’s Day came along, it hit me like a brick. I remember standing in the laundry room doing laundry thinking about what the kids were up to that evening, knowing they were all busy, when it dawned on me that it really was Valentine’s Day and I was going to be alone. I remember being over come with emotion. Being alone, wasn’t something I would have gotten upset about, and even in the previous few years, Valentine’s Day had taken on a different look as the kids were growing up. I think it just hit me how much I missed my husband, even though I missed him everyday, this day knocked me to my knees with the enormity of my loss. It was right then and there that I decided I didn’t like Valentine’s Day any more.
When you are going through grief there is so much in your head, and sometimes, although you are incredibly sad, it not always just about the person who is gone, it’s about everything. It has taken 8 more Valentine’s Days for me to finally feel like it’s okay. This year, remembering the love wasn’t so sad and the feeling of loss seems to have lessened. I guess that is how grief changes over the years, it stops being centre of your being, but instead it subsides and allows the memories to become sweet instead of heart wrenchingly painful.
This year, maybe because my own grief isn’t as hard to bear, I have been thinking a lot about my family and friends who have lost their own Valentine this past year. The day before last year’s Valentine’s Day, my Dad lost his girlfriend unexpectedly, it’s hard to believe a year has past and I know he is still reeling from it. My friend lost his wife only 8 days after Valentine’s Day and my sister in law lost her husband, one of my dear friends who had been there for me at the worst of times, just a month later. Other friends have lost their spouses recently and my heart is breaking for all of them. I know there is no words of comfort that will actually bring comfort, and telling someone it will just take time doesn’t really help either. But time is what it takes.
Valentine’s Day may never be the same for many of us who have lost our Valentine, some will move forward and find a new Valentine to share their life with, others will move forward on their own in their own way. For me, Valentine’s Day is not so much about the love of my husband, that will always be there, it’s more about, plain and simple, love. The love of my kids, family and friends, just having people in my life makes a day of love worth celebrating.
I hope for those reeling from loss will find that in the not to distance future, that the love and memories become sweeter, and the loss lessens.
The Bleeding Heart: A deep and passionate love between two people, A connection that goes beyond life and death.