Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Each Friday, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.
For me, today marks the start of anniversary week. For some of you, this February 14th marks something different. I don’t have anything special to say about that holiday. For me, Valentine’s Day – the event – is something I liked as a kid. Heart shaped cards, treats from my mom. I think I still get little boxes from her on February 14th. Sometimes. But as a romance holiday – meh. It’s really not my thing.
February 14th stands out for me because it was the official start of our life together. That it fell on Valentine’s day, that it fell there completely unintentionally, only adds to it for me.
9 years ago today, Matt came in to our coffee shop, and very nervously invited me to dinner. Not because it was Valentine’s Day – he had no idea. He was so nervous, when I said “yes,” he ran out without his keys, saying, “Okay, I have to go start cooking right now then.”
We had been “courting” for over three months, first just sitting together when we were both there for tea, then short walks around the block, then gradually, a few trips to the art museum, some longer walks, long talks in the parked truck after he had driven me home.
By the time he ran into the coffee shop, breathless and nervous, I had pretty much given up on our relationship moving forward anytime soon.
That night, he cooked. We ate. Played Scrabble (a game which was still in contention when we were well past our 4th anniversary). He went out to start my car in the snow. Then we stood, in the doorway, close but not touching, one of us on each side of the threshold. Someone turned away, and I headed home. Confused, but happy.
We repeated the same scene on Friday, with me cooking at his house, another game of Scrabble, and another close but no touching goodnight.
The next day, Saturday the 19th, he invited me to a movie. An early afternoon matinee. Around 10 minutes in to the movie, he quietly reached over the arm-rest and picked up my hand. He laid our held hands in his lap, but his eyes never left the screen, and he said nothing. I missed the first half hour of that movie.
I had so completely let go of the outcome of us by that point, after all of the “signals,” and all of the “not yets.”
I let him lead then, as I let him lead all through our life together, and I let him lead now, still.
Your lead my love. 9 years, and I would do every frustrating, surprising, no touching, touching, beautiful moment all over again.
How about you? How did you and your partner meet? Let us know in the comments, or send me an email.