I think I have figured out why this Valentine's Day has been so trying for me. During most days of the year I keep it together. Meaning I appear composed and all that grief buried inside me stays there. But that inside grief doesn't just vanish with the passage of time. It remains. A fact that we have to learn to live with. And for the most part, with the exception of self-pitying blog posts where I can release some of my agony, I do manage to keep my chin up and trudge forward.
But on holidays and observations like Valentine's Day, I am visually assaulted from every direction. And this year's visualizations seemed bigger and that there were more of them for sale. Maybe it is because of the stilted economy. But there was a balloon at the store that had to be five feet long. I'm not sure how it would fit in a vehicle to get home! Cute singing stuffed animals - huge flower arrangements - giant chocolate covered strawberries. All kinds of goodies brought out just for this occasion.
I do not begrudge anyone lucky enough to have love in their life. Love has been a major part of my consciousness since my husband's death. I believe love is the most important thing in the world and that the world needs more of it. Like Christmas, this is a day that receives a lot of focus and attention that is forgotten soon afterward. Instead of rushing to the gas station to pick up that 19.95 bouquet of roses to present to your sweetie, we all need to concentrate on demonstrating our love in kindness and actions, not objects, every day of the year.
So I'm surely not resentful of the fortunate people out there receiving valentines today. I suppose a little bitter and jealous. But I don't want to begrudge others their happiness or take that away from anyone.
Being bombarded every which way by reminders of love, lovers, romance, togetherness, marriage, commitment and the whole nine yards is like the world rubbing my nose into what I don't have and most want right now. To be in love and remarried. As a result of my childhood issues and probably my personality makeup in general, I have great difficulty living on my own. I want to be married and not just in a committed relationship. Sam moving away and my decision to remain here for the boys to finish high school has hit hard right now. Because I have given up the security and safety of being able to live with someone. And that is big for me.
The tokens and symbols of this day - the cards. hearts, candy, champagne, flowers and other pretties end up representing far more than mere gestures of love and affection. They are reminders of the pain I feel from having lost a husband too soon and having a marriage end before its time. I think also having the new losses of moving from my home and then Sam's departure are still very close to the surface and fresh. As a result, this year's day of love was harder to face.
I finished the large pink heart hanging I crocheted for the front door this morning and have hung it up (taking my giant mittens down for now). I want this heart to symbolize my hope for more love in this household and the entire world! This was a rough Valentine's for me. I wish it wasn't because there is enough hardship as it is. Tomorrow some of the red and pink will thankfully come down in the stores and windows. I am already planning on my next door display to be a rainbow and pot of gold. That will be fun to work on. But I'll leave the pink heart up another week or so. And tonight I'll celebrate love of family with the boys. We will feast on our little heart-shaped cakes, and Twizzlers.
Before this day ends, here are words of Danielle Steel. They appear in the beginning of one of her recent books, "One Day At A Time." I found them lovely, touching and inspiring.
"Whatever happens, has happened, or will happen,
I still believe in Love, whatever orthodox,
unorthodox, ordinary, or extraordinary form it takes.
Never give up Hope.
Today I am grateful:
1. For the "free" cake I ended up receiving since the package was priced incorrectly.
2. That there is a day devoted to the demonstration and reflection of love - we need more.
3. For the power of love because I firmly believe it is the most powerful force in the world.
4. For snowmen.
5. For the gift card my son's track coach gave him that allowed the purchase of new track shoes and compression shorts.