I feel “weird” this Valentine’s Day.
It’s nothing that some Reese’s Peanut Cups can’t fix.
Because…well, Reese’s Peanut Cups.
I assembled 20 candy bags for my 3 year old’s class. That’s right. Gone are the days of cheap paper Valentine’s. We are living in a Pinterest World and I am a Pinterest Mom. And all us Suburban Moms must keep up with each other.
Then add in the fact that I am a widowed mother and that means I feel the need to work harder to ensure my child has a happy childhood since her father is dead.
Now I get to sit back and be bombarded by the emotions that accompany the fact that I don’t have anyone special to love today.
Of course, this is where well-intentioned people remind me that I have a daughter. As if by missing her father, I somehow love her less. Of course I love her. She is my sunshine. But it’s not the same and we all know it. Plus, it’s also not fair for my daughter to have to take up the slack of her deceased father. It’s her job to be a kid.
So today is the second Valentine’s Day without Bryon. And honestly, he and I never did much on Valentine’s Day. He thought the holiday was stupid and I pretended to agree.
Because I knew he loved me 365 days a year.
In fact Bryon usually posted this meme on his Facebook every Valentine’s Day.
I was expecting to have a grief wave and I was ready to go along with it (because I have learned that it is better to swim with the current than go against it.) I was prepared to do all my grief activities. I was going to watch Sleepless in Seattle, P.S. I Love You, Top Gun and the last 15 minutes of the How I Met Your Mother Finale. I was prepared to blast my sad songs Spotify playlist (yes I have one and it is oddly therapeutic at times). I was prepared for waterworks.
I just didn’t feel like it.
Don’t get me wrong.
I still get sad.
But I don’t usually get THAT sad. I was THAT sad for 15 months. Being THAT sad is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.
Maybe I am getting used to Bryon being gone.
Or maybe I am just learning to cope.
But I decided that this Valentine’s Day, Bryon doesn’t want me to be sad.
He has sent me a sign.
Let me tell a story. Sophia Petrillo-style.
Picture it- A Suburban Target, 2014ish
Bryon and I would walk into Target.
Bryon: Hey, didn’t you need some Vagisil?
Me: *laughs* no
Bryon (loudly): Weren’t you just telling me that you needed Vagisil?
Me (embarassed): No, I don’t.
Bryon: Don’t be embarrassed because you need Vagisil.
Me: I don’t need Vagisil. Stop it!
Bryon (even louder): I think the Vagisil is over there, Honey.
People would look at us. I would get so embarrassed but I also would start laughing. When I was pregnant I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants because anyone who has carried a child knows what that does to your bladder.
I was also pissed because there was no male equivalent for me to get revenge.
Well all day yesterday, this is the ad that would show up on my spotify. Thanks Bryon. Of all the ways you could send a sign from Heaven, thank for doing it through Vagisil.
I don’t put this past Bryon sending me a sign that he doesn’t want me to be sad.
But it’s hard not to get sad. Or really discouraged trying to figure out my future while surrounded by people who have a life similar to what I used to have (i.e. marriage).
But I often wonder what is in the cards for me for the future.
Will I ever love again?
Will I ever marry again?
I hope I get love again. I know that I still have a lot of love in my heart.
I am not done yet.
But while I want it, I am not sure it is going to happen. I have limiting beliefs about this subject. I will share the two biggest limiting beliefs.
The first is that I feel that I am viewed as damaged. I know I have come out of this experience a stronger person. I know I am a better person now. I have also come out of this situation with a very different perspective of life. While I am not completely immune to having feelings like annoyance and anger now, I don’t get worked up about small things anymore. When Bryon was teetering between life and death, I wasn’t angry about the fact that he left his disposable contact lens wrappers all over the nightstand or that he hogged the remote or the fact that he would embarrass me in Target by publicly declaring that I needed Vagisil when I didn’t.
At the time when Bryon was sick, I was running on adrenaline and functioning in complete survival mode. I would cling onto any shred of hope I could find. After he passed, I was in numbing, raw grief and for the first year of widowhood, I could barely remember what those months sitting next to Bryon in ICU felt like emotionally. Sure I could rattle off doctors names, medicines and procedures but I couldn’t bring myself to even think about the emotions- the fear, the anxiety, the frustration, the anger, the sadness, the desperation. I honestly believe it was my brains way of protecting me emotionally.
But now I look back with a clearer mind at what I lived through and think “Holy F*ck!” because I survived something that no one should ever live through. I wish I could give 2016 Kerry a hug.
If get married again, there is a 50% chance I would have to relive it, hopefully on a less intense scale. I mean, because we can’t all marry Ryan Gosling and die peacefully in bed at the same time as our spouse in our old age. Though we can all dream…
The reality is that I turn 40 this year. And at my age, everyone has some sort baggage. There was a whole episode of How I Met Your Mother on this concept where Ted is dating a girl that he thinks has no baggage and he discovers his ex’s husband wrote a hit movie called The Wedding Bride where the character that is based on Ted is not flattering. (And for the record- I am so not a Stella fan.)
It’s just that widowhood baggage is less common in this age group. And people are afraid of what they don’t know or don’t understand. Most single people are divorced or never married. Divorced people have baggage too but since it is common, people are not afraid of it.
The second limiting thought is that in the town I live in, I will always be considered Bryon’s widow and no one will go near me. I am honored to be Bryon’s widow. I also know I will get judged should I start dating again because Bryon was a well liked guy and so many people miss him. I appreciate the fact that Bryon leaves a hole in so many people’s life. It’s just frustrating that after two years of my life being in complete turmoil, I might be ready to start living my life again and I am hesitant to do that because it may upset those closest to me.
I am not too worried about it at the moment. Even if I wanted to date, I don’t know how people meet. Organically that is. I just can’t bring myself to do the “swipe right, swipe left” thing. I know many people have had success with that but I am just not feeling it.
And lastly I will be spending some time loving myself today. While I do hope to love again, I am actually enjoying getting the know the person I am now. She is strong, interesting, smart and kind of funny. I need to tend to my needs first because I can’t give myself to another person until I have taken care of myself.
So while everyone is enjoying being loved (romantically) today, I will be spending time with my little Valentine.
I will continue to feel “weird”.
And I will be eating a lot of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Because…Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
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For the record, Reese’s did not sponsor this post. All the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were purchased by me and my opinions of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my own.