I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, though I’d hardly admit it to anyone. I love doing things for the people I love, and I also appreciate a good sappy movie with some accompanying chocolate. When I was young my dad would bring me back some small trinket for Valentine’s, of which I loved immensely, probably beginning my love of the holiday. Even as an adult I prefer smaller presents. My favorite Christmas present was a box cutter, in all honesty (it’s so convenient!).
Presents aside, Valentine’s is also a holiday of reflection. I take a moment to consider all of the ones I love, and how I could be a better person to them. Self-reflection is a valuable part of my life, and always has been. I’ve kept a consistent diary since I was 11 years old, and looked over the pages to remind myself we all grow and change. Writing things down has also given me the ability not to lie to myself… It’s easy to throw aside what an old friend or family member says you did, not so easy to throw it aside when it’s written in your own handwriting. Usually, I’ll take a moment and look over the pages, just to keep myself humble.
This year I didn’t look over my diary.
When a loved one goes through their first family death, I’m reminded of all my loved ones that have passed, or that I’ve watched wither away.
Unfortunately, the worst part about being the youngest of your generation on both sides of the family is that you see death much younger than anyone else. I’m awkwardly old enough to know the meaning, awkwardly young enough to live my adult life without them. Now in my friend group, I’m usually the only one to have seen someone close to them die. Usually, someone would say I should use this to help someone else, but that’s just not how death works. You can’t warn someone. You can’t show them. All you can do is nod and promise to be there.
Even sharing my experience becomes too much for me sometimes. I have a terrible time letting go of anyone I love, let alone something as permanent and long lasting as death. What hurts me more than anything is my memory of them fading, and forgetting what life feels like with that person in your life. Every time I lose someone, I immediately sit down and write everything about them. I don’t want to forget a single detail of their life. Not everyone else is so connected to that idea, thus making it hard for me to console people who aren’t like me.
These emotions and memories have left me in a strange place. As a result, my nonstop song this year was The Hunter.
“All the love I’ve shown, given to the ones I’ve known. All the love I make, is equal to the love I take.”