I am not a romantic. I never have been. I have always felt that the actions and emotions showed each day are more important than what is shown on days meant for emotions. My husband was a romantic. He liked all the romantic holidays like Valentine’s Day. To be honest some of why he liked these holidays were in hopes of nice gifts for himself. But his main reason was he thought it was nice to have a day that was meant to be romantic. He liked to give nice gifts to me. He would spend countless hours just picking out the perfect card. I would rather have skipped the whole holiday. And many other days that people put so much significance on.
When we were younger my husband did not like to eat out, so with any holiday I would tell him I wanted to go out to dinner as my gift. He would take me where ever I wanted to go, but after a while it became obvious that while I could get him to bring me out to dinner, it would not be enjoyed as he looked pained throughout each dinner. Sometimes we even argued through these dinners. After a while I no longer wanted to eat out as much, so it was not much of a problem until he decided he wanted to eat out sometimes. Then I was the one stuck with a painful look on my face or arguing about not wanting to eat out. So we stopped eating out, unless a restaurant had carry out, then we would order ahead and pick the food up to eat at home.
Also when we were fist married it seemed the only time my husband brought me flowers were if he had been out too late or thought I was mad about something. After my throwing roses with thorns at him and the thorns scratching his face he rethought both doing anything he would have to apologize for as well as staying out late. Though the flowers would still be given there was a different significance to them.
I come from a quirky family. When I was young, when we visited my mother’s father, my grandfather would have my father take us all to the cemetery. He always had a beautiful bouquet of roses. He did not put them on my grandmother’s grave, he put them next to his tombstone where he would be buried when he died. After several visits to the cemetery I asked him why he put them there. His response was that when he was dead he would not see the flowers on his grave so he wanted to see them when he was alive. He would then add that no one lived close by anyway so there probably would be no flowers put on his grave. He was correct about that. This practice continued for most of his life until be became to ill and moved in with us, far from the cemetery. But while we went to the cemetery he would look at the flowers by his tombstone and smile, liking what he saw. Sometimes we spent a lot of time there so he could enjoy the flowers as long as possible. As I said it is quirky but I can relate to what he did.
One day after my husband and I no longer argued over his reasons for bringing flowers, I told my husband of what my grandfather did and how I did not want flowers when I was dead, rather I wanted flowers when I was alive. Soon after, he started to stop at roadside stands that had roses cheap every Friday and would bring me flowers. Not because he had done anything wrong, rather he wanted me to have the flowers while I was alive to enjoy them. While he thought the reason was quirky, he was romantic and loved bringing flowers to me. The only time he did not and I would not allow any were on Valentines Day and some other holidays that it seems were created for the sole purpose of selling cards, candy and flowers. I told him to wait until the holiday was over and buy what was left over, on clearance. At first he argued he did not care how much something cost, after a few times of my being angry with him, he started to do what I asked. Not long after, he agreed that the cost during the holidays for flowers was not worth it. Most of my friends would tell him how nice he was to bring me flowers. He always smiled happily that it was noticed, at the same time he said he would bring flowers every day but I would not want that. That he loved to bring flowers to me and see the joy on my face when he gave them to me. After he became sick it became impossible for him to bring me flowers. I told him I no longer needed them as I had a life time full of flowers that meant so much that I would always remember and treasure. He accepted the explanation, but I could see he wished there were some way for him to get to the store to buy me flowers.
By this time, I was bringing him flowers and balloons. He was in the hospital so much, I decorated his room with decorations for whatever holiday was coming up, brought flowers to cheer him and candy he liked. Our roles it seemed were reversed, but that was not really the case. He enjoyed everything I brought him and he was going through so much, it took very little effort for me to bring him flowers or balloons. I mention balloons because when he first became sick it was a few weeks before Valentine’s Day. He was in ICU, flowers and even balloons are not allowed, but they let me bring him a balloon. It was a monkey with a heart. He was moved a lot the first few weeks to different rooms, each time he made sure they brought the balloon. One night they needed an ICU room and he was well enough to go to a step down room for a few days and the balloon was lost. He was upset about it. I could not find another just like it, but found another that was a monkey. He loved it, he loved his flowers and the candy I brought him. It brings a smile to my face, even if it is bittersweet to remember that monkey balloon and how happy it made him. He spoke of the monkey balloon often through his remaining time. I think he thought I may have been becoming romantic, but that was not the case, I was trying to brighten his days as he had it tough. I let him think I was doing it to be romantic as he never asked if that was the reason.
So while today is a holiday for romance and love. It does not make me sad that my husband is not here. Though I am sad a lot, the holiday is not the cause. If he were alive we would most likely not celebrate it. For some who have a spouse who died today is a bad day, they miss the romance. For me it is just another day without my husband. No need to miss romance when I never liked it much to begin with. While some probably felt their worst today, missing their spouse, I felt no different than any other day. Maybe I am lucky I am not romantic. This makes it easier to get through these holidays. Thinking of my husband’s monkey balloon brings a smile to my face, even though I know he has died. I say it is the moments that count, the monkey was a moment that counted.