A Valentine’s Day Dirge

valentines dirge

Valentine’s Day sucks. Which may sound odd coming from someone who ceaselessly praises love and sex, but it is true. I am not a fan.

My mother and father were married in a small Baptist Church on Valentine’s Day in 1959. They are no longer together. They are still technically married but my father now lives in a residential care home for dementia patients and my mother lives alone. My father’s disease makes him angry and aggressive leaving my mother with blurred and fading memories of his kindness. It is a sad day for all those whose partners are transformed into strangers by illnesses.

Some things aren’t fair.

It is my step(ish) daughter’s birthday on Valentine’s Day (I am not married to my boyfriend so I can’t claim to be a step-mum and there is no other term for it). The end of my boyfriend’s marriage has put continents between him and his children. When he hangs up the phone after talking to his daughter, his eyes are dark with pain. It is a sad day for all those whose love is diluted by oceans.

Some things can’t be changed.

I remember the last Valentine’s Day I spent with my ex-husband. I was a couple of weeks away from moving out but I hadn’t told him yet. I felt sick and scared and heartbroken. My husband and I passed the entire day without speaking. As I stood on the edge of the cliff summoning up the courage to jump, I felt entirely alone. It is a sad day for all those whose love has withered away.

Some things can’t be fixed.

I want to believe that “love is all you need” because it feels as though it could almost be true, but then I remember, on days like this, that for as many hearts that sing, there are equally as many that struggle to beat.

I see your brave face, and I hear your aching heart. On this Valentine’s Day, I stand with those of you who has found love challenging and sometimes brutal. You are the ones we should be celebrating.

I give all my Valentine’s love to you.

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

12 thoughts on “A Valentine’s Day Dirge

  1. All in life comes in duality, so does love; you have shared beautifully tender account of that fact! Thank you for sharing!

  2. And that is the absolute truth. Because life and love are not a Hallmark card that is romantic and perfect just for V-Day. If life worked like that for even one day everyone would sign up. Alas, the harsh reality are the truths you just outlined. Sigh. Double sigh.

  3. Valentine’s Day is not enough, and oftentimes, love isn’t either. We sometimes need much much more determination or special forces for something to work. Great piece.

  4. Being a counselor I see many people in various levels of pain during this “holiday”. Even though I have been married to my very patient wife for 35 years I do get the emotional and sometimes even physical pain associated. The one thing I have counseled my clients to do it celebrate those people in our lives who love us. It doesn’t make up for those who have abused us or dumped us, but it does remind us we are lovable, even if we have not found our partner yet.
    My heart aches for your mother. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are the cruelest neurological conditions because it turns someone we love into a confused and abusive shadow. I would recommend that you and your mother write a journal of your good memories of your father while you still have them. Just because he is not the same doesn’t discount who he was, if he was kind an loving. I don’t know if you have heard of the book (and movie by the same name) but “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks is a very good example of doing this. If you read or watch it it does induce tears, but it is a reminder that even though the end of life can be cruel, the good things in life should be celebrated.
    Many blessings, Katie.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jerry.
      I’ve watched the Notebook a few times and always end up in floods of tears.
      And I agree – the good things should be celebrated x

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