A Valentine’s Day Tribute to Love

Posted by Kathy on Feb 13, 2015 in Thoughts from ME |

DSC_0153They say that the “firsts” are the most significant. I don’t know if that’s true, and I don’t know who “they” are – that nebulous group that seems to make vague rules we accept.

In the arena of love, I suggest that firsts are often not the stuff of which great novels or memories are made. Oh, maybe that first taste of soft ice cream, or the first thrill of falling in love at age thirteen, yes. Or that kiss, in a darkened gym at the school dance. Those were good firsts. But sometimes it’s an experience or a person that comes into your life later that feels so much better than the first. And that was how it was for me to meet Ted, back in 2001, who quickly became my friend, and later, much more.

This has been a bittersweet week for me. I watch my lovely teenaged grandchildren go through the normal angst of crushing loads of schoolwork, offset by my grandson cheerfully playing out “Happy Birthday” over the phone to his great-uncle Steve, who turned 65 two days ago and seeing my granddaughter dance her little heart out in the school musical. In the scheme of things, those are great moments in history for our family, among a near-daily plethora of firsts.

But I also have gone about the business of Valentine’s Day this week. Something is off. And I know what it is. I peruse the half-empty card sections looking for the right card for my daughter and her husband who have been gently housing me in North Carolina for the past month, an arrangement that gives me relief from the Maine blizzards and shields me ever so slightly from the reminders of what is lost back home.

When Ted died at the end of September, I knew that the firsts would be hard. But, man, they do creep up. No matter how one prepares, they grab you like a feisty mosquito in the middle of a laugh at a summer barbeque. Ouch.

And so there was the ouch in the card section of the drug store.

I thought back to previous Valentine’s Days when Ted and I would have a dinner-out plan, usually with our dear cousins who stood up for us at our wedding. And we would leave cards for each other all over the house. I usually put one in the cereal cabinet for him to find. He would hide them in dresser drawers for me to discover, or tape one to the bathroom mirror. In the years before he became ill and disabled, there would be a gift. Flowers. And always, so many kisses and “I-love-you”s to each other.

I looked through the cards that said “To My Husband” and decided on one. There were two I liked, but let’s face it – the one for $3.99 seemed better than the one for $7.99. I mean, he might not really see it from Heaven. But I’ll leave it out for him anyway.

Because one thing I’ve learned about firsts and seconds and all events…is that love never dies.

 

13 Comments

kathy Polletto
Feb 14, 2015 at 12:13 am

Love is forever, regardless where they are.

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Kathy Reply:

Right. It can be held for always.

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Sandy
Feb 14, 2015 at 1:36 am

Love is what life is all about…….

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Kathy Reply:

Yes. From above, and from each other.

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Doug Wieboldt
Feb 14, 2015 at 7:02 am

Ah Kathy. Yes. All the bad firsts, juxtaposed with the memories of the great times of the past. They seem to have so much power. Do we really find anything great or fun about that first Birthday or Valentines day afterwards? What could possibly be fulfilling, empowering or intimate about these various days that were previously celebrations of life between two loving people?

These memories are nothing more than ephemeral echoes of those days – now cloaked in the sense of loss and the hope that there is still that powerful connection between you – which you know you feel. If you haven’t yet, you’ll feel Ted’s presence in your life fully.

My life has been one loss after another. When I was 4, my mother flew the coop. My father had no choice but to put me up for adoption. In the meantime I spent 4 years (4 to 8) in various state and foster homes in Illinois. I was molested, and eventually violently raped. My foster parents didn’t seek medical care for me for fear of losing those wonderful government payments that meant that they had a better life without me.

I was adopted into a wealthy family. 4 months later, they relocated us from Illinois to Arizona. After a couple of years, I was paying the price of living in an alcoholic household.

Abuse ran at about the same rate as in foster care (no comparison however to being in a state home).

Later on, all that nonsense ended. We all slowly, very slowly moved towards the other. One day, my tormentor became my confidant. It only got better and better between all of us. However Cancer killed my adopted Mom and Leukemia my adopted Dad. My brother had died of Diabetes at 20, and my sister committed permanent family divorce at 28.

With all that cognitive dissonance as a major part of my and my families life, I hear more clearly than ever that voice of Mom and sometimes my adopted Dad. They are the still the steadying part of my life that keeps me sane and on an even keel. I don’t believe in religion, but I do believe in the power of our relationships to help us evolve and learn those lessons that make being a part of mankind into a joy rather than a burden!

Kathy – you and Ted are no where near done in your lives. He’s in your head – and over time – you will find that you will understand so much about him.

You and your family, and your dedication to Ted have been so wonderful to be a part of. Keep moving forward, live life to the fullest as you know that he would want you to do.

Most of all, enjoy your beautiful family. My family is now gone. I have some cousins that I haven’t seen in ages since their weddings. I’m slowing trying to build some contact with them. However, my wonderful Guy’s family has been my real family since my Mom died in ’91. I’m lucky, your lucky. Be well enjoy that which you have – and try to help others see that loss isn’t loss if they’re a part of your life forever!

Miss you,

miss making your mocha!

Hugz,

doug (rambling forever on and on)

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Kathy Reply:

Oh, Doug – so powerful! Thank you so much for that level of sharing and wisdom. Bless you – always. You are part of a good, big family. I’m in there with you – related by soul! Hugs to you & Guy. xo

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Chris Freinberg
Feb 14, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Just think of all those unfortunate souls who have never known love at all. You have and will always know a great love. Your faith in God will carry you through. All your treasured memories of love will be with you always. Rejoice and be glad on this day of love!

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Kathy Reply:

Yes, Chris. I am very grateful in spite of the pain of losing him. xo

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Alice Goldsmith
Feb 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

As I miss my dear husband I think how lucky I was to have 56 years of love……<3

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Kathy Reply:

Yes. But it never feels long enough, right, Alice? Big hugs!

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Sally
Feb 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Love you mom!

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Kathy Reply:

Love you, too, sweetie!!!!

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Lynn Centa
Feb 14, 2015 at 7:35 pm

very well said, when I think of “firsts” it’s always about my children.
When I think of” love” it is first, middle and last
Your Valentine tradition is wonderful, and yes Ted will see it.
I think of heaven this way. An hour to them is a 100 years to us,
in a blink of an eye to them we are with them. For us time is either
to long or to short.

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