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February 2023

Valentine’s On My Mind

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I’m not a Valentine’s Day hater by any stretch, I love the idea of it, I’ve just never found Mr. Right to share it with or grew up with people close to me who make it a special day, so it’s not really a big deal to me.  But recently I’ve found some cards from my parents from my childhood, which has caused me to reflect on my journey through grief over my mom.

I have been spending time going through the old letters I received from my mom during her lifetime for The Silent Goldens documentary.  It brings up mostly good memories as the birthday, Valentine’s Day, and other holiday cards have notes of love and pride written alongside the printed greetings.  It definitely makes me nostalgic for my childhood!

Because she died when I was 19, I have a very limited stash.  The letters were sent to me either at camp or at college. Mostly they were as I remember them, very newsy about what she and my dad were doing while the kids were away, weather reports, and admonitions to study hard and write more frequently.

What makes me sad is how limited they are and how much I missed by not having a mother while going through my adulthood – so many milestones, accomplishments, and trials she was never a part of and how much I wished over the years I had her to turn to.  The letters weren’t very personal and I never got to know her as an adult or learn much about her life with the appreciation that comes with my own maturing.  

They also make me think about the life I thought I’d have similar to the one she expected for me with a career, marriage, and kids.  It decidedly didn’t turn out that way, something that Valentine’s Day specifically makes me think about.

For a long time looking at things like these letters was more hurtful, reminding me of how my mother died and how alone I felt.  But over the years the edges of the grief have softened and doing The Silent Goldens has made my mother come alive again in my mind.  Once again I can smile at memories of her and remember how much I was loved.