Beloved, dearly beloved, esteemed. Another holiday, the last of the calendar year of the first of each holiday without her. Except Mother’s Day, we can never forget that one remains. Several cousins called, sobbing at the thought of Valentine’s Day without a card from Aunt Dot. I made a huge pot of vegetable soup with hamburger just like hers. “How many cards do you think Momma sent? How many quarts of soup did she give away?” “I don’t know, 75, 80 cards each Valentine’s Day?” he pondered. Even though I guessed 35.
Usually I revel in the love of a day to celebrate love. Chocolates, candy hearts, cookies with red and pink sprinkles, cup cakes or homemade pop tarts and soup. But this year, nothing, no red bows or packages, no baking. Nothing. I woke up grumpy, no kisses for me dear and blamed it on the cold and snow. Really, I was planning to do something fun on Friday, the actual day, but the iced over driveway prohibited.
Never thinking about her, how I missed her. No matter how many times I looked in the mail box, knowing I wasn’t getting a card this year. I might get binoculars or a text and call but my Momma was the only one in the family who stilled believed that $3.25 was not highway robbery for a greeting card. She was the only one still putting the forever stamps on her love you, love you forever, thanks being the best daughter, you make my life good in so many ways and you have my blessings and did I forget to say love?
I never even thought about it until I got this email from my daughter. The one who lived in Thailand last year and now is about to move to Norway or California. “Anywhere but here, Mom,” she opines and so do I. Not saying what I want to which is what’s wrong with Chapel Hill, instead saying, please just move somewhere I want to visit, and we laugh again together because we know that’s just about anywhere. Everywhere. All of the above.
“Hey, look what I found. Dad told me write the night Dot Dot died and I can’t believe I found it on Valentine’s Day. Don’t you think she is reaching out to touch us because this was her favorite holiday?” Then I remembered and stopped wondering why I’d been so grumpy this morning when I awakened. This time it’s the daughter being my psychiatrist. Plumber’s faucet always leaking, I never noticed I was out of sorts because she is gone and I am stuck in a Valentine without her.
I won’t post the whole story but I will post a few of the most poetic phrases. “When I left her she said I love you and I could hardly even say it back because I was crying. But I hugged her and knew she didn’t like it when you didn’t automatically say it back so I choked out an I love you too. I hope she realizes how much I really do love her. I only think that she could because I know how much she loved me. She had multiple grandchildren but I only had one DotDot to love. My whole life every day all of my love to one woman.”
“Then for the next nine hours and thirty minutes we sat. We stood around her bed, holding hands, when her breathing became more peaceful. And then it happened, and it was so sad and no one was fully ready. But this is what she wanted and needed and we were there to help her through it. I miss her already.”
Happy Day of Love Everyone!