And every year since I left home I've received lovely, "cheesy" Valentines Day packages from Mom in the mail. Candy, hearts, books or movies. Who doesn't love packages of...love?? This year, Dad took up the torch and sent us a Valentines package for Mom to be proud of. The kids got their own boxes of chocolate. Even Henry :) Stuffed animals, cards, stickers - it was such a joyful package! And of course the package is only part of the magic - I was so touched by Dad's thoughtfulness. I know he is missing his sweetheart beyond words, but somehow he still thinks of others. Tomorrow will be our first Valentines Day without her. Typing that kind of hurts. It also happens to be the six-month anniversary of the day she died. Typing that really hurts. I wish I could be with Dad tomorrow. Mom and Dad are hopeless romantics and, kind, hard-working, friendly people that they are, they are the stars of a truly epic romance. I can think of no love story with more devotion and loyalty than what they had for each other.
It is very humbling to be the child of my parents.
I really didn't mean for this post to go this way but I'm going to go ahead and share one more thing that's kind of wonderful/awful; an excerpt of a book called "Sunset", written by S. Michael Wilcox after the death of his wife:
"There is healing in the flow and ripple of words. Both grief and love must be expressed somehow, someway - grief that it may lessen or at least become endurable, and love because to speak it, to share it, to open the heart, intensifies it and increases it, lets it grow out in the open air and lights. Unexpressed love dies, suffocating in the confining, restricted space of the self. One thing I believe above all else: Laurie's early death has taught me a great deal about loving and being loved. All of love's expressions - affection and romance, the spiritual and the physical, the emotional and the familial, its quiet acceptance and its passionate yearning for otherness, learning and sharing, forgiving and sacrificing, woman and wife, intimate lover and devoted friend, the the needed and searched for help - meet for all dimensions of a joined life. Did she realize how much she took with her in her passing? Do I yet realize it? Do we feel how much life was filled until the emptiness left teaches us its volume? Yet the loving remains and grows and is itself a kind of filling. Death breaks the heart, but in living, most of the deepest sorrow seeps out through the cracks until love can seal them and replenish the hollowed-out spaces. But the heart remains touch-tender-and oh, the little things the magnet of our longing is drawn toward.If I could I'd just type out the whole book. I am so grateful that the author felt driven to share his experience and insights. We don't talk about death much in our culture, but when it visits our loved one, well it helps to relate to others who have been down the same path. And all of us sooner or later will be on that path.
"Someone asked me, "What do you miss the most?
"Holding hands while walking; feeling her fingers on my arm; her insistence that I always stand one step down to compensate for our difference in height; calling her 'little one'; her voice singing Mary's Lullaby; sensing her smile on my face when I'm not looking; seeing love in her eyes," I answered, and then turned away as a hundred other tiny "everythings" flooded back."
Happy Valentines Day, right?
I will always love Valentines Day. I love celebrating the love between souls, romantic and otherwise. Love is the warmth in the cold, the light in the dark, the answer to your your most important questions! "Love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!" (Moulin Rouge. Thank you Ewan McGregor)
So. I made the shortbread cookies with my little ones tonight! They are divine. You should make them.
3/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar together, work in flour, press it together in a roll-able ball (if its too crumbly add a little more butter - I think I added 2 Tbs tonight to our dough). Roll out 1/3-1/2 inch thick, cut out hearts, place on cookie sheet 1/4-1/2 inch apart (they barely rise at all) and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or till they are slightly golden on bottom. Immediately remove from pan and glaze! (powdered sugar, milk, pink food coloring). If you like sprinkles, hit em with sprinkles immediately after glazed as they dry fast.
I love you.
Happy Valentines Day!
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16