Heart in the clouds

Lamentations On Lost Love

Valentine’s Day doesn’t usually get to me. It’s not even the day itself that’s a problem this year. Though today does tend to be relentlessly aimed at making many feel as if they don’t measure up because they haven’t got a mate, per societal dictates.

Being single and going solo in life is a choice that many do not understand. But there are far worse things than loneliness, or not having a true love to spend Valentine’s Day with.

Perhaps it’s more about how one thinks about love. All the little words of wisdom. Love conquers all. Love is all you need. Love is the answer.

The reason these statements don’t ring true for me these days is because, more than ever, I am intensely aware of varying and vastly different kinds of love, including ways to express and show this sentiment, making blanket statements about love itself seem trite.

Besides, who really can say what love is for anyone else? Women who’ve been told I love you by an absolute monster become all too aware that there are some who are incapable of the kind of love that’s deemed “all you need.” Loving, or trying to love someone doesn’t necessarily conquer their demons.

I have a dish towel currently displayed that says, My True Love Has Four Paws. Anyone with pets knows that unconditional love is more likely to be bestowed by their furry friends as opposed to humans.

My sister sent me what I consider to be the best and cleverest of cards this year. It depicts a glass of rosy-red wine betwixt two wine bottles with the message, Will you be my Valen-wine? I’ve been thinking about ways to use that when I make my Valentine’s cards next year.

Yes, I make Valentines, because I’m a paper crafter. I create cards for friends and family, so they aren’t gushy expressions of romantic love, they are a whimsical way to show others that I’m thinking of them and sending love, whether they have a personal Valentine kind of love or not.

But the real reason this year is ultimately difficult is that within the space of 48 hours this month I learned I’d lost two people I loved, and that meant there were also two less people on this planet who had loved me.

My Aunt Bonnie, my mother’s baby sister. She had been in ailing health, so her passing was not unexpected. But I loved her and have so many fond memories of visiting her and my uncle and cousins as a kid—and an adult—in Texas. It was therefore a painful loss coming on the heels of a very tragic loss of love for me.

The boy I fell in love with at 16 years of age and never stopped loving, even when perhaps I should have. The kind of love that makes me refer to this man as the love of my life, because I don’t know any other way to describe a love that lasted so long and yet was never meant to be in terms of the Valentine’s Day concept of love.

His celebration of life is tomorrow in Virginia, and I won’t be there. We spoke for the last time last winter. Though phone calls were few, we’d kept in touch for all the decades since teen angst consumed me. I still loved to hear the sound of his voice.

It still mattered that he wished me a happy birthday every year on Facebook, using his nickname for me, telling me I was his special one in his own special way. When he told me he loved me, I knew he meant it, even if it wasn’t the kind of love that others seek, the kind where one feels they must live with someone, marry someone, be with that person, and only that person, forever.

After 47 years I have lost the kind of love that made life okay just to know he existed, this person I loved so deeply and passionately. No matter how many thousands of miles we might be apart, as long as he was there I knew I was capable of loving someone in the way that others write songs about.

For so long, I didn’t understand why I loved him the way I did. But, as philosopher Pascal said, The heart has its own reasons of which reason knows nothing.

On this day, at least I know my heart has been capable of love. This is for Peter, who I loved despite all the trials and tribulations of a life spent loving at a distance.

Doubt the stars are fine

Doubt the sun move

Doubt truth to be a liar

But never doubt I love.

— William Shakespeare

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