Valentine’s Day draws near and I know that many of us anticipate a day filled with reminders of how our person isn’t here with us, and the pain that gets all twisted up with his or her absence.
I get it, and I feel it too. My and Chuck’s anniversary is just a few days later. Double whammy in the gut.
But, yeah, Valentine’s Day. As cheesy as it can be, as overblown as it often is, still, for me, it’s one more day to celebrate Love. And I’m all about the Love, as most of you know. Love. Love. Love.
Ain’t none of this shit easy…this widowhood. It sucks big time and godalmighty do I miss Chuck into the very cells of my body and my sinews and DNA and more.
But I also hold grief and Love together. In my heart. In my soul. In my body. In everything I do each day. The duality of loss, right?
Chuck and Alison. Valentine’s Day and our anniversary. Life and Death. Grief and Love.
I love the Love story Chuck and I shared. And I love hearing other Love stories. Year round, not just on Valentine’s Day. I love seeing couples holding hands out in public. Even though it hurts my insides.
What I truly love hearing about is not just the beginnings of Love stories but what makes the Love story remain a Love story. That’s where the real meat is, for me.
Our marriage was strong and sure.
It was a second marriage for both of us, and we knew that if we didn’t pay attention to our marriage and to each other, that our kids would have to suffer through another broken family. So, we paid attention. To each other, daily. To our marriage, daily.
Because we brought 4 kids to our marriage, we decided that we needed to set boundaries for ourselves as a couple and the first place we did that was with our bedroom.
It became our sanctuary. A place where we weren’t mom and dad to those 4 kids but a man and a woman in love. Chuck and Alison.
Around our bedroom we placed pictures of the two of us, or favored pictures of one another, to remind us of our history together. No pictures of our kids; they were everywhere else in the house. I put soft and restful linens on our bed. We didn’t allow a TV because it took attention away from one another. We went to bed at the same time so that we could have wild sex and so that we could fall asleep together. Depending on the last person to write in it, our Love notes journal rested on one or the other of our bedside tables, next to oils and lotion for backrubs and massages and foot rubs. Early in our marriage we decided to write to each other in that journal instead of exchanging cards…though Chuck cheated and gave me cards anyways. Our kids knew to knock at our bedroom door whether the door was open or not. We didn’t invite them to snuggle with us on weekend mornings in our bed; it was our marriage bed, for us. They had the entirety of the house, with us as their mom and dad. Our bedroom was our sanctuary where Chuck and I met at the end of the day to be who we were to each other.
We danced, too. In the kitchen and the living room and outside in our flower strewn yard…we danced. We kissed too. Somewhere early in our marriage I read a book that suggested that a good way for a couple to connect was to kiss, when kissing, for at least 30 seconds. Conscious kissing. And, hey, Chuck was all for it. So, we never just pecked each other on the cheek when he left for work or when he came home from wherever he had been. He’d pull me into him and frame my face or put his hand behind my head, and kiss me like he meant it. I kissed him the same way. And we both meant it.
The best compliment ever was a friend of our kids writing to me a few years ago and sharing her remembrance of our kids groaning to her about how their mom and dad were kissing all the time. Our kids remember that to me now, minus the groaning. They remember us dancing. They remember Chuck loving me and me loving him. I love that.
Our Love story.
To help me get through Valentine’s Day and our anniversary without losing my sanity, I’ve decided to collect Love stories from everyone I know. Not Love story beginnings, but Love story middles. What made each Love story stay a Love story, how people fed their Love story in order to maintain it, tricks of the trade, so to speak. And I’m going to share those middle Love stories on my Happily Homeless is MoonStruck face book page.
If you’d like to be part of this Love story collection, I’d love to hear your middles. The end sucks for all of us here, but there were a whole bunch of chapters before the ending, a whole lot of middles where we loved.
You can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, to each and every one of you, my widow sisters and brothers, I send you nothin’ but Love~