My Valentine’s Wish for You

purple_heart_by_crazykitten1998-d5b77keAs Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m thinking of all of my widowed friends. Valentine’s Day has got to be the cruelest of all holidays to someone who has had the love of their life unexpectedly ripped out of their life! For days (sometimes weeks) leading up to it, there are commercials, aisles in every store and radio advertisements for gifts, cards, candy, flowers, even jewelry to buy for the one you love. There’s one thing they don’t advertise, however: flower arrangements for the cemetery! What about those of us whose loves are in the ground? What are we supposed to do on this day for lovers? It’s as if we don’t exist. We’re not surprised by this, though, since we’re often the forgotten ones as the world continues to exist around us and our world feels so broken.

A widowed friend of mine once told me that she wears purple for Valentine’s Day because everywhere she looks there is pink and red but PURPLE is the color for those of us who know better! We KNOW that love is more than chocolates and flowers. We KNOW that love lasts much longer than a silly holiday. We KNOW the pain of losing the one we love and we KNOW the STRENGTH it takes to get out of bed and face another day without him.

While everyone else gets to “prove” their love to their significant other on this ONE day, we KNOW it happens every single day because life is so short. In the blink of an eye, life changes. Since we have suffered a life altering, heart wrenching, soul tearing loss, we will never again take love for granted. This is the gift of loss. Yes, I said it: the GIFT of loss. In the midst of this heartache and pain, there is a gift. When love comes knocking on our door again, we can love deeper and more appreciatively than before our loss. I know it’s hard to ever imagine loving again if you are new in your loss but when your heart heals, if you open it up again, there is room for more love. It’s like having more than one child. You don’t stop loving your first child, you just love the second child AND the first child. This is how we love more than one man in this long life of ours.

Now that I am remarried, Valentine’s Day is just another day for me. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy chocolate, a loving card and a nice dinner as much as anyone! However, if my husband is working or we are too busy to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s ok by me. I love him so much more each and every day because I KNOW that every day could be my last day with him. I take every chance I can to let him know how much he is appreciated and loved so that Valentine’s Day has lost it’s power over us – it’s just another day on the calendar. So what will I do on February 14th? I will wear PURPLE, I will get my children some chocolates, I will get my husband a card and I might even take some flowers to the cemetery to thank Steve for teaching me the true meaning of love. I encourage you to spend the day taking care of you and celebrating the love you have for those in your life. If I see you in PURPLE, I will know that we are sisters in widowhood too.Best-Valentines-Day-iPhone-Apps

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The Meaning of Roses

Close-up View of a Pink RoseAs I sit here on this snowy Eve of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share with you my first Valentine’s Day with Steve. I was 14 years old and he was 16 years old. His parents let him cook me a candlelit dinner at their house & they went out for the evening (isn’t that crazy?! I would never leave my teenage son alone with his girlfriend! LOL). In any case, I remember EXACTLY what he made for me: spaghetti! He cooked me a spaghetti dinner and lit candles & everything. I knew then that I was in LOVE. My first love. Only God could know that was going to be the first of many Valentine’s Days we would have together. 19 to be exact. Not enough if you ask me.

One of the things I loved the most about Steve was how romantic he was. That Valentine’s Day was only the beginning. There were roses of every color, for every occasion for 19 years. They weren’t ordinary roses, though. For example, for our 5 year wedding anniversary, I received a bouquet of FIVE long stemmed roses with a card that said, “One rose for every year you’ve given me.”

Another time, he went to Michigan to visit his mother in Michigan for Mother’s Day while I was pregnant with our oldest child (we lived in Georgia). He had roses delivered to me for Mother’s Day with a card that said, “I can’t wait to meet you. Love, Cameron (the name of our baby).” It was a family joke that out of the three boys in his family, I got the romantic one!

For many Valentine’s Days after he died, I longed for the romance and flowers. I felt lonely and unloved. I had to learn how to love myself and my life. The life God gave me, not the life I had with Steve, because that one was gone. A big part of my healing was accepting that I couldn’t remake (even with a remarriage) the life I had with Steve.  Once I accepted my life as a widow with children, I could move on and start living again.

The older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve healed from losing , the less I care about days like Valentine’s Day at all. Everyday things like drinking a hot cup of coffee in front of the fire on an icy morning bring me so much pleasure and contentment. I know how short life really is and how quickly it can all change. I kissed him good bye for work and then he was gone. I will not spend another day, not even Valentine’s Day, missing what’s right in front of me. JOY. LIFE. LOVE. I know it can be gone in a second.62973

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