It’s that time of year again. The Christmas decorations are gone, and in their place the stores have stocked hundreds of boxes of chocolate and overpriced Hallmark cards for people to declare their undying love for one another. I used to be excited for Valentine’s Day, even back when I was a single gal. My single Valentine’s Day’s were always a treat because my younger cousin was my Valentine, and we would go out to eat together and see the Hannah Montana movie, as one does. Then when I got together with Eric we would have romantic dinners and I would love the flowers and chocolate. But now I can’t seem to look at the cards or the candy the same way, and I’m not sure I ever will.
As most of you know by now, my grandpa died on Valentine’s Day 2015 very early in the morning after spending 9 days in the hospital after having a heart attack, and just 13 days before my Charlie girl entered my life and changed it in more ways than I can count. The irony that a heart attack took the life of such a special man on Valentine’s Day of all days was never lost on me. He suffered from heart disease a large part of his life, so it’s oddly fitting that his death is now cemented on the day when hearts run rampant.
Grief is a funny thing. I feel like after the initial first few months of losing someone has passed, the majority of the world just goes on with their lives and expects you to do the same. Nobody wants to keep talking about the same thing over and over again. This was especially true for me because I welcomed my first baby. Everything revolved around her, as it should, and she was a welcome distraction. But in this past year, sometimes when people ask me how I am, I respond with “oh I’m great! Tired with the baby, but great!” when in reality I wanted to scream that I miss my grandpa to the very depths of my soul. I have NOT gotten over it, and just because a year has gone by does not mean every day has been a step towards healing and getting better. Of course there are days when I only think happy thoughts of him, but I still have days where I’ll call my grandma’s house and unexpectedly hear his voice on the machine and it feels like a punch to my gut and the sadness overwhelms me to the point where I feel like I’m drowning. But nobody wants to hear these things. Time heals all wounds and all that shit. Time does nothing except remind you of the life you’re living without your loved ones.
Since my grandpa passed I’ve attended three more funerals. My Aunt Louise passed a few months after my grandpa, my Uncle Marty, my grandpa’s older brother, passed away just a few weeks ago, and my husband’s grandfather died as well. I guess this is the price you pay for a life lived well into your adult years with the older generation. It is a blessing beyond measure, but the pain is extra sharp.
This post really is nothing more than putting my feelings to paper in case there are others out there like me. Sure, it gets easier, but then something happens and you’re reminded they’re no longer here. Grief doesn’t have to end. It’s something that changes you. It is the price of loving.
So this Valentine’s Day, my daughter’s first, I will shower her with love like I do every day. I will dress her in red as a memory to my grandpa. I will tell her stories about him and I will choose to celebrate this day from now on as a day to remember him and remember how much he loved me and all of us. It is the day of love after all.