Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Red hearts, chocolates and roses dance in the air. For those who don’t really celebrate, there is still that optimistic feeling that, if February 14th is already upon us, Memorial Day must be just around the corner.
But I am not thinking of chocolates or red hearts. December has come and gone, and even though the bitter cold remains, thoughts of the holidays are gone from everyone’s minds.
Except mine. I dream of spring, the smell of flowers, the absence of the biting cold, and the promise of warmth once again. But still, the Christmas cards, they dance in my head.
The first came via snail mail and was simply signed “Love, Mom.” The second was via e-card and was obviously not just sent to me, but to an unknown list of friends and family.
The third made me pause and reflect. “Surely, this one will be different.” I imagined an apology and quickly erased the thought. I’ve been known to get my hopes up, and the crashing-down-feeling has helped keep those hopes at a reasonable, attainable level.
But maybe it would be a start. Maybe it would open a door. Or even a small window. I was caught between a mixture of dread, anxiety, hope, fear and longing.
It carried no apology. Instead it was a poem, reminding us to live each day to the fullest. It advised to never live in the past. It spoke of hugging and kissing one’s children. It was a slap in my face.
It also carried a picture, one that should have made me smile. I felt a small smile on the inside, because above all else, I have only wished for her happiness. I have only wished for her to be okay. And now, it seemed she was.
The fourth and final card came a few days later in the mail. Before I opened it, I felt that familiar rush of emotions. I envisioned a tiny window, creaking itself open, rusty from months (years?) of neglect.
It was a paper replica of the third card, complete with poem and picture. There was no apology, no closure, no validation, and no peace. Just the sting left on my face.
And now? Now, I am needed in the midst of a health scare. There is new communication but no speak of issues past. There was the offer of meeting for a drink, from which I firmly (and without apology) sprinted away.
I should be thinking of love. But the love in my head, the love in my heart, the unconditional kind that I haven’t always felt, is the love on which I want to dwell. Instead, on the eve of celebrating Saint Valentine, I am left with a feeling of loss.
And just the memory of the Christmas cards.