Valentines Shmalentines

(Exquisite homemade cards given to me from my mom....)

The lobby at Bob Evans was hopping. We were not terribly hungry, but needed to eat and did not care to do it at home. She still was not familiar with this new, unwanted companion called Grief...and being unfamiliar with it myself, I was at a loss as to how to help her with the harshness of her new constant reality. All I knew to do was go along with her to dinner, prepared in a kitchen we couldn't see, served to us in a place that did not force us to ignore the empty seat that should have been filled. Every single last night of the week. (Quite honestly, by the end of my tenure as her live-in companion, I longed for homemade food. She probably did too. But I knew "homemade" equaled the thought "meals for one"-or maybe two, but it wasn't the two she knew for 45+ years). The downside to eating out, was the glaring fact that this is a 'couples' world. Some nights, such as the one at Bob Evan's, I recall how painfully aware, but how purposefully hard we tried to ignore that we were surrounded on every side by a booth or table containing a Mr. and Mrs.

My grandfather passed suddenly in 1997. The older I get the younger I realize they were. At the time, I was freshly graduated from a school in upstate New York, and it made sense for me to move into her now-hollow condominium with her. Since she is not sitting here next to me as I write, I can say we would both look at that time as unique (and for her, unthinkably sad) time in our lives. It left me forever aware.

Which leads me to Valentines Day.
I'm not bitter. I like it. I like the color red, so that helps.
So does having a good man who loves me well.
I like to decorate with hearts, God is love, and so it gives deeper meaning to me.


There is a deeply ingrained truth that cannot be ignored that holidays such as this, which are pounced upon by the likes of Hallmark and 1-800-Flowers, are akin to a slap in the face, or, at the very least, a painful breeze wafting by the soul who has experienced a death. I'm not just talking physical death, either. I know those whose living husbands or significant others might just as well be dead--and in fact, if they had died it would have been an easier burden to bear than the death of trust that they must reckon with.

Hmmm....a tad heavy. But it is a reality for so many and I feel to ignore it, is to be slipping on my rose-colored glasses and taking a ignorant pass to the pain felt by those who need it acknowledged, even if has been chipped away at through the years. It's still there.

If you are one of those women, whether I know you or not, consider yourself acknowledged.
And prayed for.

On a significantly lighter note....

Take a look at this darling little faux-fudgy creation my mom (who has always made Valentines Day special for her girls) gave to me...

No calories for this dishtowel masterpiece!

By the way...
my 200th post is coming up. I've decided, even though I'm a teeny little homemade blog among the millions of polished and professional whose giveaways are of great magnitude, I am going to hold a GIVEAWAY soon.
One for one who has commented in the past and one for the first timer. I'll show you what I'm giving away in a post or two from now. (Hint: It's vintage and it's imported from England).
With love,


Michelle said…
Ooooo, I so wish I was a first timer! {or the frequent one!}.

I enjoyed this post, yes it was deep, but I've had those thoughts myself about people I know who have lost a spouse. I like the way you write :)
Jeane` said…
I changed the wording to reflect what I meant. YOU will be in the running!!! :)
(However, I wouldn't get TOOOO excited.)
ajwatson722 said…
I am commenting because I liked this post, and also I am thinking maybe another comment may increase my chances of winning the giveaway.:) I do love Valentine's Day...that was a great reminder though of how hard it must be for a lot of people...and how we need to be sensitive to that! Love you!
Wanda said…
Jeane!!! I loved your blog post...I'm going to pass it along to a special lady friend of mine who has to deal with the empty spot at the table, too. You worded it SO well, too! THANKS!!!

Much love to you and the sensitivity you exude to those who are hurting!

Mandy Hoober said…
I always enjoy reading your posts. They always make me smile.
Debbie said…
Jeane, I came over from you mom's blog to visit you. She is such a nice lady. I enjoyed your post and am a new follower. Your post was very touching and I agree. Please visit me if you have time.
This post brought tears to my eyes as I was reminded again of the pain and lonliness so many face on this weekend. You worded it so well. Sometimes I forget what you went through with her as you stepped into the companion role. At your young age, it must have been so different for you. I do see though that it gave you a sensitivity toward others that I am so thankful you have.

As for a giveaway, whatever it is I know others will want to win because you do have a way of giving special gifts.
Marilou said…
Well said, Jeane! That brought pain just reading it and recalling those painful days. Thank you for honoring her with your kindness! Happy Valentine's Day, my dear neice! <3
Anonymous said…
your words are touching. your compassion for others who are hurting is quite encouraging to me! you have a deep deep soul with a deep deep love to give.

also, i have been thinking of you throughout this week, knowing that it was (perhaps is exactly) around the time you gave birth to baby hope and your life was forever changed. know that your pain is not forgotten and i am so blessed at how the lord has brought redemption & certainly restored JOY into your heart.
Dale said…
What a beautifully worded post about so many who have suffered loss - of all types.You are such a sensitive soul, giving voice to those emotions, and honoring such an amazing lady. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
I recently have gone through this with my mom. My dad passed one month before they were to celebrate their 50th. I could feel the pain of your grandmother...because I have so recently lived through it and yes, you are right. For those who have lost for whatever reason...days like these can be painful a reminder of what they no longer have.

Thanks for thinking of all these ladies (and men).

Your such a blessing,
Joyce Marie
Jen said…
Beautiful words written with such compassion Jeane`. Those painful days make joyful ones that much sweeter.
Hope you had a special Valentine's Day with your love...
you are an amazing woman! thank you for taking the time to share these words and thoughts with those around you. it has resonated with many, (as I am the 13th comment)....which means about 50 other people read it and decided NOT to comment!

I AM SO EXCITED for your giveaway because my FAV designer is from ENGLAND!! xoxo

If we can't schedule a face-to-face meeting perhaps a "facebook chat" meeting?? Please do share those grand ideas of yours!!!
Amazin said…
I LOVE YOU AND YOUR AMAZIN POSTS! The posts bring me to a beautiful place of family, home, smiles, reflection and renewed hope for what I want in my life...for that, thank you, esp. on yet another sleepless night. :)
Amazin said…
PS..Give away FAB idea!!! Our mothers are alike with the Vday traditions/creativity for us girls..very sweet. Your ability to capture moment via. your camera is motivating me to find my camera and start doin the same!
Jena said…
Hi Jeane'-
you and I share a very good friend-Janelle! Sometimes I feel like I know you a bit, because I slip over here every once in a while and am always glad I did... anywho...
I really appreciated this post... I am very happily married, but this Sunday at church I looked over at some single friends of mine(who I know would love to be married) and just thought, "what a slap in the face".
I KNOW a holiday is not meant to be a slap in the face, but at times I can't imagine what it would feel like to want something so desperately(marriage, a spouse back, fidelity back) and have a whole holiday- complete with commercials and happily married people all around you(or so it would seem) and not be able to do a thing about it....

I have thoroughly enjoyed this Valentine's Day, and also celebrated it with my husband and children, but this year, I was reminded to be more mindful... and not take anything for grated..
(sorry, that got to be QUITE a book of a comment)

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