Thank you to all of you that sent me love and positive thoughts on Valentine’s day and again to those who checked in on me to let me know that you were thinking of me on that most difficult of days for the newly bereaved. Your words meant a lot to me.
A lot of you have been asking and probably more of you wondering how my Valentine’s Day went so I will tell you: Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, was a very difficult day. I knew in advance that it would be difficult and so I made plans to make it less horrible than it needed to be.
I woke up in the morning sad, like many days without Terry. I made myself a cup of coffee and dug out the last Valentine’s Day cards that Terry and I had exchanged just one year ago when the world was perfect and right and we were able to celebrate our love together. For those of you that may not have known Terry very well, Terry LOVED Valentine’s Day. I understand those who complain about it being commercial, but deep down I knew that Valentine;s Day was created for men like Terry who loved love. Terry loved being in love with me and spoiled me rotten every single year that we were together. In the early days he would send me care packaged filled with my favourite chocolates and when we lived together he would make me breakfast in bed and shower me with love. I sobbed as I read the cards we gave each other last year. We were pretty broke last year, which was usual for us at the time, so I made Terry a card and a list of reasons that I loved him. One year later and in the wake of his death, those reasons ring even more true. He gave me a card with a button on it that read ‘Perfect Wife’ which I wore to school even though I thought it was a bit cheesy and all of my students admired it, saying how romantic my husband was. They were right, of course.
I worked last year on Valentine’s Day and after work Terry took me out to dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant in Bicester where we ordered our favourite crab cakes that tasted just like the ones we made at the cooking class we took on our honeymoon. We ate crab cakes and reminisced about our honeymoon and where we would like to celebrate our upcoming fourth wedding anniversary. We had decided on Devon last year for our fourth wedding anniversary and were undecided about where to spend our fifth, but we were constantly dreaming up places to celebrate.
Like most important dates, Valentine’s Day this year was divided between reliving every second of our last Valentine’s Day together in excruciating detail and thinking about what we would have done if he had been alive for this one. I spent hours remembering the way he smiled at me and held my hand over dinner, the look on his face as I opened and read his card and the look on his as he read the list of reasons that I love him out loud to me and then put it on the fridge using our Cheers From Belgium magnet, where it stayed for months. While sobbing and asking Terry how this could happen to us and how our love could end like this, I dreamt of what we would be doing if he were here with me. We would still be in our lovely home in Bicester and we would have paid off almost £18,000 in debt, which we would have spent most of the day talking about. I would have baked him chocolate chip cookies, his favourite, and we would have exchanged handmade cards before cooking ourselves a lovely dinner and cuddling up on the couch in front of a movie. We wouldn’t have spent any money this year, but would have talked in detail about our forthcoming weekend in Oxford when the credit cards were paid off. We would have dreamt of our future and never would it have occurred to either of us that we would ever celebrate a Valentine’s Day one without the other. That was unthinkable.
Valentine’s Day morning was emotional, as I had anticipated, but I made plans for dinner in with my housemates to give myself something to look forward to. I drove myself to Starbucks for a treat, then went grocery shopping with my housemate where we picked up steaks for dinner and then I baked pink, hearth shaped chocolate chip cookies that Terry would have loved and ate steak and drank prosecco while watching The Other Guys. We laughed and had a good time.
Valentine’s Day had it’s highs and lows but was survived this year. Like Christmas, I hope that next year I may be in a position to celebrate rather than just survive it, but only time will tell what the next Valentine’s Day will bring, for if you had asked me last year what this year’s Valentine’s Day would bring me, I could never have imagined this.