Eights Years Later

A close friend asked me this weekend if Valentine’s Day was any easier eight years after losing my husband. Without much thought, I answered “No.” After some thought, I think I will amend or at least explain my answer.

Valentine’s Day (although very commercial) is the day we celebrate love. In my ideal world, it’s the day of hand-written notes and super gooey expressions of love. It’s an excuse to go all out to tell someone that they’re special and loved. Now, Terry was not a super romantic. He tried, and he had his moments, but it was work for him. He was under the (mistaken) impression that one box of cheap candy from Wal-greens was enough for the whole family on Valentine’s Day. He did find ways to make it a day of special remembrances. I still have the last Valentine’s card he gave me. It’s silly and I cherish it.

The first few years after Terry died, I HATED February 14. It was a reminder of everything I had lost, the life that was stolen from me. Terry made me laugh and cry. He made me angry and helped me to calm down. He loved me deeply and completely. He was my confidante and my co-conspirator. He was always there, always ready. We shared our biggest dreams, our deepest fears, our greatest hopes. How do I “get over” losing that one person that was such a huge part of my world? I never will.

This year, eight years later, I don’t say that “I Hate” February 14. The day is not as crippling to me as it has been in the past. But, I still mourn what I’ve lost. I confess that I look around at the roses being delivered to the office and I am envious. I miss being special and having a special someone to shower with love and silly gifts and cards. I would like to have one of those special Valentine’s Day dinners with someone other than one of my kids. I wonder as I look at couples if they really understand how wonderful it is to be a couple. Do they just take it all for granted?

So, my answer is remains “No.” I close my eyes and try to return to those days when I was cherished. I try to remember feeling safe and loved and special. I give thanks for the love I did know. And, on those dark days that still overtake me on occasion, I ask “Why?” No, it’s not any easier after eight years.

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