I always loved Valentine’s Day. I have hand-made Valentine cards for as long as I can remember. My great-aunts and great-uncles, and of course my parents, aunt and grandma, saved all of them. As they’ve passed on, their collections of the cards I made for them made their way back to me so I would know that they were kept and treasured. I see them as testaments to the love we all had for each other. But, I miss all of these people.
Now, Valentine’s Day is bittersweet. My dad passed away the day before Valentine’s Day in 2014. I spent Valentine’s Day that year making his funeral arrangements. My dad’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s Day. I remember the simple and sweet Valentine’s Days spent with Ben where we danced in the living room. Dancing was an important part of our relationship and I miss that, too. He always knew that after I put him to bed, I would make a card and decorate the apartment, and he looked forward to his Valentine’s Day surprise. It added some whimsy to his homebound life. Last week, my cat, Disney, died. Valentine’s Day is now also the one week anniversary of that devastating event. There is certainly a melancholy that pervades these days.
All of the people for whom I made my cards are gone, except for my aunt Eleanor, who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s Disease. She doesn’t remember the cards or me, and in more recent months she does not really relate to me or even notice my presence.
It seems an appropriate day to spotlight these people whom I miss and treasured so much. We all had a very special love for each other.
Life has changed without all of these people, and although I lost many people that I loved and who loved me so much, I am fortunate and grateful to have had them in my life. I am also grateful to still be surrounded by much love. Crafts projects give me peace and inspiration, and I realized how important making Valentine cards was to me once I lost those closest to me. It was a way of showing and feeling so much love. I decided to continue to tap my inner child with my card-making tradition, giving them to special people in my life. Disney was the star of my cards. The weekend before I lost her, I took her Valentine’s Day photo. I suspected that it would be her last card because she has been so ill. I was not sure if I should send the cards, if they would make people sad or if they would find it strange. However, I decided that since Valentine’s Day is a day of love, I would share a special and loving memory of my sweet Disney.
The holiday is different now, and, honestly, not as happy, but it does give me joy to show my love and appreciation for special people, in my craftsy way, and to share a special tradition that keeps Ben, my parents, grandma and great-aunts and great-uncles close.
I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with love and friendship, and a sprinkling of pixie dust!