“When I think about my Dad, I think about how I always had a Valentine. Every year, since I was born, he did something to remind me that I was loved, whether I had a Valentine or not.”
Those were the first words I spoke at my Dad’s celebration of life last July. They are the words I woke up to this morning in my head. The rain was loud outside, but those words were louder as I slowly pulled myself out of bed to walk to the bathroom that would not have the card and some type of small gift sitting on the counter from him.
Somewhere in the piles of boxes that are in our garage and storage, there are pictures of me as a toddler propped up on our fireplace sitting next to a rose for every year I was alive. At some point, it changed to a card expressing his love for me and a small token of his affection. As I got older, it was sometimes an email or text when I no longer lived under the same roof. But when I moved back in a few years ago, the card on my bathroom sink with a $20 bill was there every Valentine’s morning.
It stung for a minute. The pangs of grief were all the way real this morning. And it wasn’t because I didn’t have a Valentine. It’s because I no longer have the man who reminded me every year that I was loved no matter what on this day. As I’ve grown up and grown older, I have become SO aware of what a Father’s love (or lack thereof) can do.
I had been thinking about today for the last week. Every “first” without my Dad has been an interesting thing. The days I thought would really be hard, sometimes aren’t. And sometimes there are days that sneak up on me out of nowhere. But I knew that walk from my bedroom to the bathroom was going to be hard. And maybe today is hard for you for very different reasons than me, but here’s some things I did to help me through the day:
- Made a Plan: I didn’t act like it wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t pretend it wasn’t a big deal. I allowed myself to think about it, cry about it, and process it, even a week before it happened. So much so, I asked for today off, a month ago.
- Spread the Love: I started asking God a week ago who I could share a little love with. He put people on my heart and I shared love with them the way my Dad taught me to. I left a little note and a small token of my affection letting them know I see them, I feel for them, and that I am believing with them on matters of the heart.
- Spend some time with God: I took some time to let my Heavenly Father speak to me and comfort me. It’s times like these that Psalm 3:3 becomes so real. I envision my Heavenly Father actually taking my face in His hands and lifting it towards Him, letting me know He is near and He sees the pain.
Today’s Forecast: Another Valentine’s day without the “one.”
Silver Lining: Grateful for the “one” I’ll always have in my heart, and the “One” who comforts my heart.