Ken always scoffed at the idea of Valentine's Day. A Hallmark Holiday, he'd call it. But the truth is, he just didn't believe it should be relegated to one day a year. He was always presenting me or surprising me with beautiful cards he designed and filled with sweet nothings. I have collected some of them, but haven't had the wherewithal to centralize all of them. A task for 'someday'.
I have to say my subconscious did a superb job and constantly making me forget it was the Day of Lovers. When I got to work this morning, I held the elevator for a stranger I saw rounding the corner. When I exited the elevator on my floor she said, "Happy Valentine's Day." It was sort of puzzling to me (maybe it was a better hair day than I thought?), but as the day wore on and I received Valentine's greetings from people I actually knew I realized today was a recognized day of love--ideally and selfishly not from the one person I'd love it be from--and there was no denying it.
It seems when you love or have loved as much as I have, there is a wake of sorts that washes up on you--sometimes when you're not expecting it or even wanting it. Of course, not wanting love is ludicrous. We all want it. We're not always ready for it. I'm becoming an expert at not being ready for feelings I'm not ready for. As I left the office this afternoon, it was like a replay of leaving work the first day I returned to work after Ken died. The elevator ride and walk to the car was a shocking realization that my emotions were about to explode. After they did the ride home was quiet. I realized it on Lake Shore Drive. No music. No talking (I talk to myself a lot--or, really, I do "scenes"). Nothing. Quiet. Solemn.
When I got home I went to my computer and pulled last year's blog from Valentine's Day. It was dedicated to him, and it's the only comment he ever made on my blog, though he was a reader of it as long as he was able. It's as special as it is difficult to have words he wrote frozen in time and accessible whenever I feel the urge to connect with him or punish myself. His words are so present and sweet. So very him.
Love comes at you. You can't always predict from where or when it will happen. And it won't always be from a desired source. But if you're as lucky as I am, it comes from all around. Friends and loved ones reaching out and loving me. And that reminder was confirmed when I opened my front door and found a box of chocolate covered strawberries, courtesy of my LA family, with a sweet note.
The box of goodies came with explicit instructions--which I followed to the letter: