It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m thinking about my first Valentine, my dad. He was such a romantic! Mom would get a large heart shaped box of chocolates, flowers, and – in the ‘good years’ – jewelry. ‘The Girls’ always got a small heart shaped box of chocolates and when we were teens, some flowers, too. Dad would gather us together present his gifts, tell us how much he loved us, and end with the biggest and best hug ever! I miss him so much!
My fortieth wedding anniversary is this year. Where did the time go? There are times when I look into my husband’s eyes and think about a future when one of us is no longer here. He’s been my Valentine for so many years. When I was a very young nurse, listening to a patient talk about the loss of a spouse made me feel uncomfortable. Finding the words to give them solace didn’t come easily. I also worried that my words wouldn’t help much anyway; that my youth would make these words seem insincere. During home visits, the subject always seemed to come up. I’d nod my head and listen to their heartbreak, feeling helpless and frustrated knowing that I couldn’t bring back their spouse. As an older nurse, words of comfort roll off my tongue now. Many years of experience with love and loss, personally and professionally, have helped. But, deep down I know that I’m rehearsing for the day when I may be alone on Valentine’s Day. I joke with my husband that I’m going to die first and he’ll be dating someone younger than our kids before I’m cold in the ground. My husband says that he hopes that I die in the winter <guffaw>! He’s rehearsing too, I guess.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Debra Bertrand, CHAMP Facilitator