Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine’s Day Memories: good, bad, and ugly

As a caregiver spouse Valentine’s Day is at best a one sided exercise. Yet marketing drives society and well look around the annual emotional ‘carpet bombing’ has begun.

Progression of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms both physical and cognitive long ago eliminated ever receiving any Valentine’s Day gift, gesture or even remembrance.  It’s such a ‘healthy couple only’ media blitz it only leaves me feeling more isolated and alone than usual. The caregiver perspective is expressed well in “Valentine's Day - Fleeting Fluff” by Terri Corcoran.

Maybe it always was illusion? As a college student I double dated with a friend on Valentine’s Day. Splurging on the memorable kind of restaurant it seemed a night and place framed for romantic love. Until my buddy decided to seize the moment to announce he was breaking up with his girlfriend.  

Also long ago in my years on the road I knew someone who falling head over heels in love with a woman drove hours with that seething passion and imagination of romantics to surprise her and ask her to “be mine” forever on Valentine’s Day. She instead surprised him, having settled down with her ‘true love’ and asked him to leave her alone before he ever opened his mouth.

Maybe romantic love isn’t an illusion but a delusion?

Valentine’s Day also is not really even a holiday. Companies, schools, and governments go about business as usual. My Mom’s body was cremated on Feb 14th. There’s a figurative coffin nail in Valentine’s Day memories.

In all fairness there are some good memories. My Aunt and Uncle were married on Valentine’s Day. They celebrated over 60 wedding anniversaries on Valentine’s Day before death interupted the romance.

For almost two decades I’ve been involved with a Special Olympics Valentine’s dance for high school age special needs students unlikely to experience traditional school dances. no diagnosis on the dance floor

And for whatever reason snow storms and blizzards enjoy visiting around Valentine’s Day and I could not be happier. Snow is nature’s “hug me”!

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. Patrick, it's also one-sided when your spouse isn't into gift giving. I used to make a big deal for Valentine's Day, as I would for a birthday: cook a special meal, buy a card, give a gift. He feels awkward in these moments because, as he puts it, "I don't do gifts." I've come to accept that. We do exchange cards, so he is compromising with me. The way I see it, if you don't do it the rest of the year, why do it only one day a year (treat your spouse special)? I think it's a commercialized day, profiting mostly the candy and card companies. My favorite people to remember on Valentine's Day are my son and my mother, because they appreciate being remembered thusly.
    Think you'll get any snow for V Day this year? Big hug for you, Patrick... and an early Happy Valentine's Day wish for you.

    1. Bea! A Valentine's Day Grinch in the house :) obviously spouse caregiving is giving me tunnel vision. Though as a teacher maybe you can appreciate ... I think that my fondest memories were passing out and receiving cards in elementary school. :)

  2. You've shown me a different perspective on Valentines Day. BTW my Dad was buried on V-Day, and I have some bad memories of other V-days -- my Monday post!

    Here's a special Valentines wish for you from a loyal reader. So sorry it can't be from your one and only!

    1. Muff, God forbid sad memories coincide with a Hallmark holiday. I can sooo appreciate as my Dad died on Father's Day weekend.

  3. Patrick, you are expressing my own experience. Yes, gift-giving is very one-sided. Last year on Valentine's Day Don gave me a card with a very nice message (in somebody else's neat handwriting) and a gift - obviously arranged by the nursing home. He hadn't had any part to play in it, but was quite pleased with himself to be able to give it to me. But like Bea's family, we have never been big into Valentine's Day, so it wasn't a big deal like Christmas or birthdays.

    1. Hi Barb! Yeah those cards and thoughts in 'someone else's handwriting' are certainly unique. :) Undoubtedly they are well intended and after all when you think about it - don't all Valentine's Day cards express someone else's thoughts.


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