February 14 . . . .

Ahhhh, the day of hearts and romance.

Or, a Hallmark holiday?

Perhaps a little of both?

This year, it was a day of conflicting emotions.  
An “emotional roller-coaster” if you will.  

For those of you who don’t know,
February 14 is not only Valentine’s Day, but mine and Rickey’s
anniversary.  It seemed the PERFECT day to be married 21+ years ago.
Romance was in the air.  Forever stretched out before us.  We would
grow old together, and he would not have to remember 2 special days,
we’d “kill 2 birds with one stone”.  So sweet.  Except that our
forever was cut way too short and we never got the chance to grow old together.  

So our anniversary, a day which is usually celebrated
mostly by the couple who has reason to celebrate, is also shared with
a day that receives much attention . . . in the candy aisle in any
store, in the card section of any store, on T.V., almost everywhere
you look.  Facebook {at least mine} was filled with pictures of the
flowers, and candies, and balloons and stuffed animals and jewelry
that everyone got from their Valentine . . . constant reminders that
this Valentine’s Day, Rickey and I would have been celebrating 21
years of being married.

But, we weren’t celebrating, because he is not here to celebrate with me.
He celebrated his 2nd Valentine’s Day in the place filled with more
love than any of us can ever imagine!  That’s the “To live is Christ
and to die is gain” truth . . . Valentine’s Day in Heaven has to be
the picture of perfect LOVE!

And therein lie the conflicting emotions.  

Rickey died on November 5, 2011. 
I did not {though I certainly felt like I might for weeks and
months afterwards}.  

Rickey was buried on November 9, 2011.  
I was not {though part of me was buried with him}.  

I did not stop loving Rickey on November 5, 2011, or on November 9, 2011, 
or even in July 2012 when God brought Rick into my life.  
And as hard as it is to believe or understand {unless you have ever “been there},
I did not stop loving Rickey on October 1 when Rick and I were married.  
If you have more than one child, 
you know that when the 2nd {or 3rd, or 10th} child comes along, 
your heart just somehow makes room for more.
That is the only way I can describe the work that God did in my heart when he
brought Rick to me.  God brought beauty from ashes and allowed me
happiness and love again.  He did not erase the memories of love and
laughter and a wonderful life with Rickey, He just opened my heart to allow for more.

In the weeks leading up to this Valentine’s Day, Rick and I agreed, 
“It’s just a Hallmark holiday”, 
“We love each other every day, we don’t need a special day to show it”, 
"We agree, let’s not do anything special for Valentine’s Day”. 
We didn’t verbalize the fact that it was a day
of “other” importance, we just let that be left unsaid, the proverbial elephant in the room.

All was fine, up until Feburary 14.  Actually, I woke up still
thinking all was fine {though my sweet Mama had sent me a Facebook
message the night before loving on me a little and acknowledging the
conflicting emotions that were sure to exist}.  I put out the dogs,
fed and watered them, the cats and the ferret.  I cleaned litter boxes
and bagged up garbage – reminding myself the whole time to “Do small
things with great love” – the lesson I had been working on the past
couple of weeks.  I started the coffee and brought a cup to Rick.  I
used the leftover Christmas “snow” to put a heart on the patio doors.
It was all good.  Until Rick took his cup of coffee and sat down at
the kitchen table and asked me to join him. 
And I lost it.

I sat down with him and we talked and I cried.  
I knew then that I’d be “on edge” for most of the day . . .
just because.  
I got a couple of text/Facebook messages from some friends who were so very
understanding of the mixed emotions of the day.  It is a day that I
described as having one foot in the past and one foot in the present.

The marriage that I had to Rickey did not end in a bitter divorce with
nasty fights over money and possessions and child custody.  Rather, it
ended sadly, with 6 words from a Dr. in the hospital E.R.  Because of
that, my memories of our anniversary and our marriage are tender and
loving, laced with happiness and sorrow all at the same time.

I was told that if I were to ever remarry, the person who I married
would have to be very special, because they would have to understand
those dynamics.  Rick is very special as he does understand those
dynamics, sometimes better than I understand them myself.  He is very
tender to the dance that I sometimes dance with the past and the present.

The day continued on, rather uneventfully.  I had work to do for the
township, Rick had a client at the gym in the morning and then CPR at the hospital.
He came home with his hands full of teddy bears and flowers – for the
girls and then he and the girls helped with supper as I continued to
work on my township business.  After supper, he and the girls headed
to town, he to soccer and the girls to a movie and I went to my township meeting.

When we were all back home again, and the girls were settled in bed,
we had a chance to talk . . . I said that he was more quiet than
usual, to which he responded, “Today was weird.  
And the more it went on, the weirder it got.”  
How’s that for honesty?  But, he was right.
It was weird – one foot in the past and one in the present.  And
subconsciously, we tried to ignore the day.  In all ways.  In
retrospect, probably not the best idea.  We’ll probably do it
differently next year. 

"He will give . . . praise instead of despair"  Isaiah 61:3

You learn as you go in this journey to a new normal . . .

1 comment:

  1. I read blogs from widows that are remarried and just can't imagine dealing with these emotions. But I agree that "you learn as you go along". I do hope to have a partner again, but I think I need more time.


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