“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
A Keeping It Real Post
Even for those of us who never really celebrated this made-up holiday, Valentine’s Day is tough for the bereaved to endure. It’s all kinds of in-your-face-pink-hearts-and-teddy-bear-coupley reminders that our love stories ended way too early.
I don’t resent happy couples anymore. But on behalf of my fellow bereaved, who are at different stages in the process, do us all a favor and tone it down just a titch. At least in front of us. Especially you, ladies. Coming at us with your insensitive complaints about how your man didn’t do Valentine’s Day the way you wanted him to is likely to get you bitch-slapped from those of us that would be happy to hear ours breathe again. And droning on and on about how perfect it was, is equally painful. A simple, it was a perfect day would suffice.
But this isn’t a What Not To Say post, and I digress. This post is about a love story.
Dan and I shared a mindset that if you needed to be reminded to show someone you loved them just one day a year, you weren’t doing it right. But this day still kicks my ass. Not for the commercial obligatory-prove-I-love-you holiday, but because of the real day of love we honored. My parents got married on Valentine’s Day.
Once Upon A Time
When Dad first asked Mom out on a date, it was Valentine’s Day. He’d wanted to get her roses, but they were sold out everywhere. So he got her long-stemmed white imperial chrysanthemums instead. Growing up, every year on their anniversary, Mom would get a ginormous heart-shaped box of chocolates and a dozen long-stemmed white mums. When my sisters and I showed up on the scene later, we each got a smaller bunch of those mums and a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Every Valentine’s Day. Until we were married. Our badass samurai Daddy was quite romantic and showed his daughters how it was done.
When I went off to college, Dad still showed up at my dorm with those flowers and my chocolates. My first year of living abroad as an expat, I didn’t get the flowers but did come home from work to find that box of chocolates in my mailbox, all the way from the US.
PRO-TIP: Guys, if you think you aren’t setting the example for what your daughters deserve, think again.
So that’s how Dan and I celebrated, with my parents, a day all about love. We celebrated together at home because Dad had advanced Parkinson’s Disease and going out was a big struggle. Don’t worry. I did it right, and it was an evening of candlelight, steak and lobster, and of course, the white imperial chrysanthemums special ordered to make it to Idaho.
Valentine’s Day After Loss
I lost my Dad a month after Dan’s diagnosis (Dan followed just eight months later). My first Valentine’s Day without my Daddy was awful. From the bedside of my dying husband I watched my mom, a new Widow, face these painful milestones and knew I’d be right behind her in joining this awful club. That year there were no flowers or chocolates. Trust me, no amount of chocolate can help in that situation.
Fast forward to V-Day 2019. I can look back and see the growth and healing that has occurred. Yes, this day is a reminder of that epic love and those special moments that I’ll never have again with the two men I loved most in this universe. And that hurts a little. But I’m also reminded of how lucky I was to have had the chance to be part of two lifetimes of love and commitment. If grief is the price we pay for love, then I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t need chocolates or flowers to remind me of that.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
Friends and Family of W’s
While you don’t need a milestone or holiday, it’s a good time to check in on your W’s. A simple call or text to let them know you’re thinking about them means a lot. XO, L
Where Do I Begin (Theme From Love Story), Andy Williams
Where do I begin
To tell the story of how great a love can be
The sweet love story that is older than the sea
The simple truth about the love she brings to me
Where do I start
With her first hello
She gave new meaning to this empty world of mine
There’ll never be another love, another time
She came into my life and made the living fine
She fills my heart with very special things
With angels’ songs, with wild imaginings
She fills my soul with so much love
That anywhere I go I’m never lonely
With her around, who could be lonely
I reach for her hand, it’s always there
How long does it last?
Can love be measured by the hours in a day?
I have no answers now but this much I can say
I know I’ll need her till the stars all burn away
And she’ll be there
Songwriters: Carl Sigman / Francis Lai
Where Do I Begin (Love Theme from “Love Story”) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, Music Sales Corporation
*You guys, I remember my Dad singing this song on his guitar.