Sunday, February 3, 2008
RECENTLY a friend asked me if I celebrated Valentine’s Day. It gave me pause to think. Valentine’s Day, when my husband was alive, was a week-long event and one we both enjoyed sharing. As years pass Valentine’s Day holds less and less meaning for me. Oh I still help my daughter put together her Valentine’s day gifts for her friends from school and dance and I usually bake something special, but as a single woman, not in the throws of an intimate relationship at present, Valentine’s Day has kind of lost it’s luster.
I’d written a blog of sorts on the second Valentine’s Day after his death and as I searched for it this week I found a letter I’d written to him during that time. Myfirst Valentine’s Day as a widow came only six days after his death. I couldn’t write anything at that time. Writing came later as I came to realize, and accept, that life goes on and me with it.
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Sometimes I miss you so much I can barely breathe. For the most part though, it is just the tender missing, the gentle tugging at my heart, the longing to tell you of the feelings saved there, held for you for another day, or another lifetime. To share with you the thoughts running around in my head, or even of the simple things of a lazy afternoon, a hectic week, or the colors of the changing leaves that surround me.
I can’t think of a day that I don’t consider you. The memory of your face surrounding me—your eyes, the clarity of color, the intensity… the millions of stories they’ve told me and the millions more to see… the sunlight shining in the blonde of your hair… your fingers pulling on your ear lobe when you are deep in thought. I see you often walking, a slight limp, sometimes turning your head in my direction and looking into my eyes. What a complexity of things I see in that instant… the love, the passion, the hurt, the struggle, the humility, the long-suffering, the patience, the impatience, the frustration, the forgiving, the longing, the gratitude, the struggle, the surrender, the fear, the anger, the affection… the story. I stand still and observe you… your stance, your gait, your shy and humble manner, and your gentle spirit.
I see you in the blue of the Pacific Ocean on a clear sunny day. I see you under the light of a full moon, or in the colors of the sunsets that fill the evening skies. I see you in the hundreds of hand cut prisms that make the glass atop the lighthouse that shines out across the deep blue waters of the ocean. I see you in the round pen on a small ranch across the canyon and in the eyes of the horse I visit more often than not. I feel you in the thick of the redwoods, their ancient wisdom, gentle ways, quiet strength… all serve to remind me of you. I see you in the red dirt at the top of a ridge I found one afternoon. As I sat pulling heat from a massive granite rock that gripped the side of the high slope, I watched as an eagle, which had been perched in an old tree not twenty feet from my head, float quietly, effortlessly down and across the gorge and river below. I wanted to follow him. I wanted to float, to fly away, and to find you once again… or was that you?
I see you in the eyes of our children and in that way your love and beauty never escapes me. I see you in their looks, the turn of their head, and the twinkle in their eyes. I see you too in the kindness of their hearts… each one of them. I see you in Michal’s face and in his hands, strong wide hands like yours—he has them too. I see you in Tyler’s ears, and in Clinton’s smile, and in Rachel’s quickness to laugh, and in the slight tiny twist of the pinky fingers of Rebecca, I see you. I see you when I watch Clinton with baby Becca, the love he has for her like the love you had for all our children… it runs deep. I see you when I watch Tyler open doors for ladies at the market and the gentle way he cares for Rebecca… the way you always did for me. I see you in Rachel, maybe the most… in her gentle but strong ways… in the respect she has earned from all who know her, just by her being… just like you did with all who knew you.
Sometimes I hear your voice, the deep resonance that flows like a melody through my ears and into my heart. I see you at the foot of my bed on an early summer afternoon, smiling with that smile of yours that reaches the ends of the universe and the depth of my soul. I see your hands, hands that seem have a magic healing power… and I remember the feel of their touch. I feel you in the saddle shop as the smell of leather fills me up. I feel the comfort of your offerings as I seek your understanding or vision of a world I can’t see. I feel your presence all around me, especially at the end of a day when the sun is throwing long right angles across the back yard, last light dancing through the leaves of the trees, holding together a story of its own with a connection that neither time, nor absence can break. I feel the swelling in my heart as it fills with light and prayers for you, wherever you may be… for your comfort, your peace.
And I feel the warmth and love that my heart contains when I think of all these things and so, so much more.
And so it is for me, my love.