It’s 7:45pm and I survived my third Valentine’s Day without Pete. Aside from the fact that I really can’t believe it’s the third one, I also didn’t want to be someone who counted every single catastrophic anniversary. I seriously should not have watched “Great Expectations” (1946 version with John Mills) so many times. Every time I catch myself being morbid in my reminiscing I just picture Miss Havisham sitting in her room, in her wedding dress draped in cobwebs, and it snaps me out of it. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t spend the whole day thinking about past Valentine’s Days.
Our first one was my favorite. It was long before Pete was the wonderful cook that he eventually became. He invited me over to his house for lunch and served me Campbell’s tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. We sat in the kitchen and he played me some new songs he’d written. That was always my favorite thing to do, and his as well—the serenader and serenadee.
We were never huge Valentine’s Day partakers. I always felt that it was forced and put much too much pressure on men. Each year was supposed to be more amazing than the last. More flowers, more expensive dinners, more jewelry. I’m just not that kind of girl. Pete and I always exchanged cards and we’d go out to lunch—something easy and less stressful than making reservations in a packed restaurant. Mostly, I just wanted Pete’s time, which he always gave generously. Plus, we had anniversaries of other events that meant more to us. Our first kiss, first “I love you,” anniversary of a stroke, anniversary of a life-flight. Valentine’s Day, as a holiday, pales in comparison to the anniversary of the day you were life-flighted across the country, or the anniversary of the day you had a stroke and didn’t die. I’m kind of joking here. We didn’t celebrate those anniversaries, but we certainly acknowledged them every year with the deepest of gratitude. That seemed more important than Valentine’s Day.
Regardless, there was still a gaping hole today. Gratefully, it was filled with abundant generosity from some people I know, and some I don’t know. Flowers from good friends were delivered early this afternoon. I received a sweet text from my neighbor, cookies from my best pal, a digital card from a friend across the country, kind private messages on Facebook, and calls from my kids. As always, I am overwhelmed by people’s kindnesses.
From the album The Need available for download at www.petehuttlinger.com