Valentine’s Day: A day made for love. A day made for romance. A day that evokes in me the grief of a thousand losses.
Grief hits people differently. At any given time, on any given day, of any given week, in any situation, you can be overcome by such crippling grief that it quite literally, takes hold. The tears spill, the breathing is laboured, the nose drips. The more you try to calm down, the worse it gets. You may have been ok for 364 days of the year, but this day makes you tick differently, this day chills you to your soul.
I have been a widow for nearly 3 years – if we are being specific, the Death-a-versary falls on Valentine’s Day. It is a day made for love, it is a day made for romance, roses and perfume and chocolates, the whole kit and kaboodle of love rolled into a day. Not now, now it is a day that evokes in me the grief of a thousand losses. I pine for the father my children lost, the memories they never got to make, the words he never got to hear them say, the things he never saw them do. I lose myself in the wonderment of where 16 years of togetherness went in the blink of an eye. I ponder the possibilities of his life; what would he have become? How would he have aged? What would we have done together when our children were grown and living their own lives?
Unanswered, always unanswered.
The People around Me
The people around me grow increasingly edgy as the day draws near. If ‘Oh my fucking God’ was an expression, the people around me would be the emoji. They don’t know what to say to me or do for me to make it better. Sadly, they can’t make it better. The Death-a-versary will always be there, no less sad, just more manageable. I will cry involuntarily, I will shower the grave with the petals of white roses in the hope he is watching down on us and likes what we have done. I will clean the headstone and make sure it looks beautiful. I will talk our children through our visit; Where did he go? Why he died? How does he still love us? Can we talk to him in our dreams? Just a few of the questions I have had to answer in the three years since he died.
It’ll happen – Valentine’s Day – it’ll happen and I will be a little numb and a lot sad and lost in the wash out of emotions that flow in, around and over me for the day. I don’t let the sadness take over my entire life. I have for all intents and purposes, built a happy little world for the children and an amazing life for us all. We have an amazing family, we are surrounded by more love than our hearts could absorb in a lifetime of hugs. I hate that the day is spoilt for those closest to me. I hate that they cancel it, they rally around me and they refuse (thankfully) to leave me alone. They come for lunch, they arrive for dinner, they send flowers, they send messages, they cancel the love day and instead choose to give me their time and I won’t ever be able to say a thanks that shows them how thankful I am for them all.
Fight the good battle
Happiness, that’s the good battle and you have to fight for it. Happiness is the key in life. I believe it. I believed it before I was widowed, I believe it now, I believe it when I see it reflected in the eyes of the partner who changed my whole world after the unimaginable happened. Sadness has a place in our lives, however, happiness is so much nicer. I wake up thankful, loved and happy and although the Death-a-versary will taint the World on that day forever, it doesn’t define the happiness that is our chosen state of being.
Feature pic: Riccardo Bresciani