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FEATURES Feb 14 2013 11:26PM

Valentines Day: The Special Meaning it Holds for Lisa Price

Valentine's Day is an interesting holiday for me.  When I was a little girl, my daddy was my valentine.  He would buy me carnations and I would make him a valentine at school out of construction paper.  When I was older and dating and even while married to my first husband, I unfortunately, had to learn to celebrate Valentine's Day on my own or with family and friends, as I had not yet attracted to me the person who would celebrate that day with me appropriately.  Hence, my standards and desires for this day shifted greatly from the norm.  It became a day where I wanted simply for someone to say, "I love you," but they also had to really mean it.  I wanted flowers because I love flowers so much and there isn't a day of the week, ever, when fresh flowers will not send me over the moon.  They are never dull or boring and are always the perfect gift for just about any occasion.  Chocolates would be nice but not required and jewelry, well that was just too much to even think about.  Let's get that "I love you," first.
I waited a long time for the "I love you." So long, that I learned to tell it to myself.  A couple of years there, I sent myself a card and put it up as an affirmation and a promise that I am loved and I will be loved.  Then in April of 1989, I met Gordon and I had the perfect Valentine's days, that I always wanted.  Gordon found ways to make flowers even more special on Valentine's Day by giving me flowers just because it was Thursday, or because it was raining or because I had a cold. My husband is the King of "just because." "I love you," is also something we hear and say to each other everyday.  So, on Valentine's Day, it is even better because I can celebrate on that one day that I have it everyday.  Then we had babies and my babies added to my valentine list.  Red construction paper hearts, glue and barely recognizable letters spelling out " I love you, Mommy," well, it doesn't get any better than that.
Then on February 14th, 2003, Valentine's Day changed forever.  That was the day Mommy died. The flowers I saw that year were the ones that bathed the funeral parlor and the ones that draped her casket and the ones that were sent to me from loved ones.  It was the largest amount of flowers I have ever had in my home ever in my life.  The candles that year were the pink, geranium scented candles that burned on the altar next to Mommy's ashes and her pictures and where I would sit and talk to her and cry.  There were no chocolates.  Mommy loved chocolate.  I could not eat it or smell it without her.  But, through it all, I had love.  I had hugs and I had kisses and though I felt alone, I knew that I was not.
A year later, on the eve of Valentine's Day, I would not go to sleep.  Gordon came downstairs to find me pacing at three in the morning.  He asked me what was wrong, telling me to come to bed and I said "No." I felt that if I did not sleep, it would keep the 14th from coming.  I would not have to wake up and remember what day it was and play back the year before.  How I woke up a year ago to the sound of a telephone and the caller gave me the news that my mother had died suddenly of a heart attack.  I simply could not face that pain again.  No, I will not go to sleep because February 14th cannot come.  My husband held me, let me cry, told me what I already knew - tomorrow is going to come.  You can't stop it.  And, I went upstairs and I slept.
For several years, Gordon respected my wishes and we did low-key, kind of non- romantic Valentine's Days.  It took time to feel better about that day.  I realized that as painful as it was, there was something magical about my mother passing on a day when we all celebrate love.  She oozed love and showered everyone in her life with it. I am drenched with it still and she has been gone for 11 years.  Now I can enjoy the day of love, the flowers, the chocolates, everything.  I love you, Mommy, always.  Happy Valentine's Day.


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