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Valentine' Day

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Valentine' Day has always been a big celebration in our house.  It was never just about me and Michael.  We always included the children in a big way.  When they were younger, we would go out on a double date with my sister, Jerri, and her husband, Ralph.  We did this during the years that we needed a babysitter. But, as soon as they were old enough, I started cooking a very special meal for the whole family.  Our Valentine's Day started at breakfast.  I would set the table the night before and place the gifts and cards at each person's plate.  Usually, there was a pretty table cloth and an upgrade in dishes from the daily ones.  We would eat our breakfast together and read all of the cards aloud to one another.(After breakfast, we kept the cards on the table by leaning them on the vase of flowers to remind us of our love as a family and for each other.)  The whole day felt special and joyful. My gifts from Michael would always be too big to put on the table, or it would be a continual stack of gifts that he would keep bringing from another room. Often times, we would just write poetry for each other.  This year, he decided to spread the gifts out throughout the day. He was full of joy when he was giving gifts to me or the children.  He would smile all through breakfast.

Valentine's Day this year was just 8 days before his wreck.  It seems like it was an eternity ago.  This year was a little different because of the children's evening activities.  The breakfast and the day went the same, but for dinner, the kids ate together when they were all home, and Michael and I ordered out later and watched a movie together in the den.  The kids were instructed that it was a date and they were to stay upstairs. He said I could choose the movie and it could be any romantic comedy I wanted.  I chose, "Some Thing's Gotta Give".  We had seen it several times, but it is always worth seeing again.  This time we laughed harder than we had ever laughed.  The kids said they heard Dad laughing all the way upstairs.  We loved the fact that the lead female, Diane Keaton, is a writer.  We seemed to both appreciate the direction in which her creative mind would go in her dialogue.  One of her lines, which is really just a spoken thought during a conversation she is having, with a man for which she is trying not to have feelings, is this.  She stops in the middle of what she is doing and says, "Did one of us just say something interesting?"  We would often say things then turn to each other and say, "That would be a great line in a movie!"  One night last month, after an intimate moment in our bedroom, he sat completely still for a moment then whispered to me, "Is that someone coming up the stairs...... or is that my heart beating?"  He paused and then we both laughed and he said, "That would be a great line in a movie!"  I wholeheartedly agreed. What was most amazing about this past Valentine's Day,  was that he stayed awake through an entire movie.  He was always falling asleep during movies at home and sometimes at the theatre.  It was because he had stopped moving, thinking, and creating.  He and our son had two gears, on or off, awake or asleep, first gear or full throttle.  Michael Anthony has been like that since he was old enough to walk.  We would always laugh while watching him fall asleep, even up until now.  He asks a few questions,  yawns in a loud, sighing way, and then he is asleep.  Like father like son.

This year, without him realizing it, he gave me gifts that represent him and will continue to keep my thoughts on him.  The first gift was two great gardening books for us to peruse through together and get some ideas about garden combinations and garden projects.  We always discussed every little detail of the garden.  We dreamed, got dirty, and sweat in the garden together.  Later that day, he gave me a little framed piece of embroidery that reads, "Any time, any place, any where... I will be there for you."  I discovered this still sitting in the den on the day I found out about the accident.  What a precious gift.  What a thoughtful man.  What a simple, small, yet huge gift. The final gift came that night right as we were about to drift off to sleep.  He said, "I also paid for you to have a two hour massage with Marion Carpenter.  You need that. Be sure and do that soon for yourself."  A two hour massage.  I have had an hour or an hour and a half massage but never a two hour one. That was Michael.  He loved to give gifts that were over the top. I am looking forward to the massage and dreading it all at the same time.  To feel the touch of a human hand on my skin will be overwhelming.  I will possibly cry all the way through the two hours.  Without my mate, physical touch will drop to an all time low.  Michael knew my needs and planned ahead.

We always preferred to give one another cards which were blank on the inside so that we could write our own words.  When all of Michael's things from his car were brought back to me, I noticed the Valentine's card that I had just given him was slipped into the outside pocket of his computer case.  He would always carry around with him the most recent card he had received from me.  He would pull it out  and read it over and over when he needed a momentary retreat from the daily grind.  It would transport him to the safety, peace, and love of me, the children, and our home.  This year, on the outside of his card to me , it read, "I want to hold your hand", then in his written words on the inside it read, "and talk less, listen more, hold you, know you like never before, learn with you, laugh with you, cry with you, pray with you, be with you and love you."   On the outside of my card to him, it read, "Together", and on the inside were the printed words, "forever.  Happy Valentine's Day to my husband, the love of my life."  Following, I had written, "There never has been and there never will be another love of my life besides you.  I only always want the best of us."

That was less than a month ago.  I have not opened the gardening books, the embroidery is laying next to me, and I have yet to schedule my massage.  I will get around to all of it someday.  Sometimes I feel like I need to stay in this place where everything is suspended, neutral, a frozen frame, time standing still.  The more days that pass, the further I am leaving him behind... like we are walking down a road and he has paused, but I have to keep looking back to see that he is not coming with me. He is just standing there, and I don't want the distance between us to get any greater.  I know I must and will keep walking, but the distance feels safe right now and it is an empty, lost feeling to keep walking without him.


Anonymous Says:
March 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

With tears running down my cheeks, all I can say is I needed that. Thank you

In His Grip

K Spong

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