Today is Valentine’s Day! A day of love, hugs, kisses and gifts and for some, a day of tears. Not because the person you are dating didn’t buy you a gift. Not because your spouse forgot to tell you Happy Valentine’s Day. Not because your children didn’t show appreciation for what you do for them. In my case, today is a day of tears because a very special Valentine will not arrive from my Mom.
It’s been 5 1/2 years since my mom died of cancer. My grief for her is not as debilitating as it used to be. I can go a month or so without missing her to the point of tears. But on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, I miss her so much. My mom always had some special Valentine’s gift for my siblings and I. It could be something simple like a coloring book or just a box of chocolates, but no matter what, she always had a gift for us. Even when I moved away, she would send me a care package at Valentine’s with a bag of my favorite candy bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
When I would call and thank her for remembering, she would tell me that she had to make sure her kids had a special Valentine’s gift from her. (Yes, she would send care packages to all of her kids.) Which explains my Valentine’s Day tears. Memories of her love and care flood me with grief over the fact that she is not on this earth anymore. Yes, I am an adult and a mother of four, I can go and buy as many Reese’s and I want for myself. But that’s not the point, the point is that my mom took every opportunity to show me how much I meant to her and I miss the fact that I can’t hear her voice or read a special note that she’s written to me in a card.
I miss my mom today more than others, because it reminds me of how great of a mom she was. I try my best to be that kind of mom for my kids, but I don’t know if I do it as well as she did. Yes, I have bought some Valentine chocolates for my kiddos to receive tonight. Yes, I purchased and helped them make out Valentine cards for their classmates. And yes, I will most likely pop in during their Valentine’s Day party at school today. But for some reason, that doesn’t seem like as much as my mom had done for me. I’m afraid my grief for my mom makes my efforts a little less special for my kids. But maybe that’s just the Devil trying to pull me down when he knows that I am weak.
So now that I have shared with you the love I have for my mom and the pain and tears that come with Valentine’s Day, I will wipe away the tears and do my best to make this day as special as I can for my kiddos. So that one day, they too can have fond memories of me on Valentine’s Day. To all those who find it hard to put aside their grief during this Valentine’s Day, I give you my own words of advice. Spend a few minutes thinking of the one you lost and remember the great things they did for you. Then get up and make this day a special day for someone special in your life. Spread the love that you would have shown to your deceased loved one with someone that needs it most today. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!