My sweet and spunky mom died in January and I’m about to experience my first Valentine’s Day without her.
I’ve had moments where I can’t help but wonder why it hurts so much. After all, it’s normal for a parent to go first. It’s the natural order of things. It happens all of the time.
So, why is it so painful?
One of the sympathy cards I received explained it best. “Your mom was your first love." I hadn’t thought of it this way before, but it is true. She was my first love and she was my first valentine.
No matter what Valentine’s Day brought, or didn’t bring, my mom loved me through it.
Growing up, there was never any doubt about whether I’d receive a valentine or not because my mom was a “sure thing”. Even if the little shoebox I’d converted into a Pink and red heart-covered-mailbox came up disappointedly empty, my mom had something sweet for me at home. If a boy broke my heart, or if it was a year without a special guy at all, my mom made me smile with a humorous card and a little See's chocolate.
If the day just didn’t live up to the Hallmark hype, my mom simply reassured me with a hug that I was loved.
My mom was my best friend and my rock in each of the stages of my life. Through every devastating heartbreak and joyous celebration, she was by my side. She loved my children and me in a way that no one else could. She was our number one fan and she wasn’t afraid to brag about us to the world!
How will I get through this first holiday without her?
The fact of the matter is, this is a turning point in my life where I have to question myself, “Do I fall to pieces or pick up the pieces and turn them into something beautiful?” Despite the moments that I wonder how possible it might be, I am choosing to do the latter. I have to and I want to.
I’m a mom myself. My own mom taught me how to be one. She loved her role as mom, and perhaps even more, her title of “Grammie”. She would not want me to use Valentine’s Day, or any day, for that matter, as an excuse to shut down or to give up. Instead, she would want me to make the most of the day and remember what really counts.
So, this Valentine’s Day, I will lead my family in celebrating the love we had with their Grammie and the precious memories we share. I will use the opportunity to remind my teenagers that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers; it’s a day for anyone who loves someone. It’s a day to cherish family and friends, as if it were the last.
We didn't know that Christmas Day would be my mom's final day at home. We didn’t expect her to pass away as soon as she did, and we certainly didn’t have the chance to do or say all of the things that we would have liked to. It all happened very fast.
Unfortunately, this is the way it often works in life. We don’t know when our last day together will be and so each moment is precious. Every day is a gift, not just on Valentine’s Day.