Share Your Valentine Story . . . ___________________________
Yep, that blank line is intentionally there. In fact, I wish I could put those blinking text dots that happen when someone is messaging, because my first response is that - an empty blank or thinking bubbles. It's hard to know where to start or which answers to give.
My valentine story is both past and present.
It is what was and what is.
It is absolutely amazing, yet tragic and tinder.
It is fun and adventuresome, yet new and complex.
As I write this post, two items are visible, a homemade Valentine Card from 2014 and silly valentine windows stickers gifted to me in 2021. It strikes me as funny in a way that these very different valentine treasures come seven years apart. Although it has not yet been two years since my first valentine passed - we did typically celebrate sevens because we dated for seven years before getting married.
In 2014 - Josh and I lived in Nevada and I could not have imagined what 2021 would look like. I definitely would not have pictured myself with another guy in my life. I would not have pictured it without Josh.
This is my reality. And while I do indeed still miss my first valentine, I hope to not focus on this so much that I miss out on my present valentine. Balancing these emotions is no cupcake. Even with the joys that come with enjoying the good moments, plus trusting, hoping and believing in today’s storyline and valentine - the dull ache in my heart still causes worry and doubt. Sorrow creeps in, a sorrow than can try and sideswipe my happiness.
I have to choose to take the next step - to believe that love can be rich and full once again. I have to remind myself that a new relationship doesn’t need to be compared to the last. It’s not a replacement. It is indeed its own thing. There are pieces and parts I enjoy more, there are pieces and parts that make me crazy and are hard to navigate.
I recently read a post from the Young, Widowed and Dating site that seemed perfectly timed. Author, Kerry Phillips, shared this of her own experience as a 32-year-old widow:
“The truth is, we’ve changed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. Our new guy is perfect for who we currently are and might not have been the right match for us pre-loss. . . . It’s truly an insult to refer to the man we’ve chosen for this phase of our life as a replacement. It dishonors our late spouses as well. Our new guy – who some lovingly refer to as “Chapter 2”– comes with his own set of unique qualifications.”
Yes, this year’s valentine, is quite different - and holds many unique qualifications, including having the grace to let me talk about all of this openly and be a bit messy - and the one who cries most.*
Last year, I bought a house on Valentine’s Day and celebrated with friends. Little did I know that this year my valentine would live only 10 minutes from this home.
On this Valentine’s Day 2021, my heart is a bit like one of those heart-shaped cactus plants. Different, maybe a little sticky but still lovely.
So, here’s to the both of my valentine’s - who each hold delicately my heart. ❤️
And for fun, here are a few answers for the new chapter:
Where's we meet: On a dating app
First Date: A waterfall adventure (photo below)
Most Stubborn: Both
Did you go to the same college: Yes
Who cries more: Me**
Who is taller: Him (by a lot!)
Photos below include a snowy 2021 Valentine's Day and my house on the year anniversary
And a photo from our first date and a most recent one.
I could blame the dip in emotions on a football team loss, but admit I don’t get that emotionally invested in football. I cheer for KC, of course, but basketball is really my sport.
Therefore, I can’t really blame this week's funky feelings on a Sunday night game result, but rather outlying issues. These include great memories of cheering on or lamenting the Chiefs seasons with Josh, friends and family over many years, new efforts at unboxing, and recent convos about Josh's life.
This week, especially, I’ve been resorting boxes of clothes and books that were set aside but not gotten rid of when I moved. The time has come to start really figuring out space and sorting forgotten boxes that have made their way to the surface. It’s still hard to look at these and to know what to do.
Items bring a smile and a sting and I find myself at a loss of what to do or how to feel about it all. So instead, I’m in a funky mood, sad, downtrodden seems like a good word. Is it a season of lament surfacing again?
Even as I give myself permission to feel this - I don’t like it. Should I like feeling sad though? No.
I acknowledge it. I share it and I continue on living in the knowledge.
For some reason the line from Moulin Rouge pops in my mind and even in the sorrow I smile, because it’s true and life giving.
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.”
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.