A heavenly reminder on a widow's first Valentine's Day alone.
Jan 12, 2011
All day at work I watched faces light up as bouquets were delivered, boxes of chocolates opened, cards read. Everyone in the office seemed to get something special. Everyone but me.
Not once in 40 years of marriage had my husband forgotten Valentine’s Day. Gilbert always brought me roses and chocolates. But eight months earlier he’d died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Losing him was a complete shock. Gilbert never got sick. We’d recently retired and were looking forward to spending our golden years together traveling, seeing our kids and grandkids.
I’d taken this job to distract myself from my grief. But now I wished I’d taken the day off. I left as soon as I could and drove home. I had no appetite for dinner so I sat out back on the patio listening to the wind chimes, remembering all the barbecues Gilbert and I had had out here. I’d never felt so alone. How could Gilbert be gone?
The doorbell rang. Probably some salesperson. It rang again. I sighed, got up and peeked out the front window. The kids from across the street, six-year-old Bridget and her nine-year-old brother, Aaron, stood on the porch.
I opened the door. Bridget’s freckled face smiled up at me. “Miss Lupe, we made these in school today. We wanted you to have them.” She and Aaron each held up a long, slender, crooked shape. Roses. The buds were chocolate kisses covered in red cellophane. The stems were wire wrapped in green floral tape.
“Thank you,” I said. My voice broke.
“We didn’t mean to make you cry, Miss Lupe,” Aaron said worriedly.
“Oh, sweetheart, these are happy tears. Thank you so much.”
The kids left and I cradled the flowers. Roses and chocolate. On my first Valentine’s Day without my husband, they were a heavenly reminder that I would always be loved.