Celebrating Matters…Valentine’s Day ….In the midst of Grief

Today is the day we celebrate love…true love…sweethearts buy each other candy, flowers, and Hallmark cards. We go out to dinner or have a romantic one at home. Valentine’s is one of my favorite holidays. Since I was a little girl, I loved the idea of giving and receiving valentines. You remember the little parties in school? You’d make a holder for all the valentines your classmates would give you. Some came with little conversation hearts and that was always a bonus. Then you ate heart-shaped sugar cookies or cupcakes with sprinkles and red punch. I looked forward to this each year.

My dad always got my mom a big bouquet of flowers…often it was red roses. When I was young, he would get me a miniature bouquet. I always loved getting those sweet flowers. My dad had this sentimental side that I just loved. I’d sit with all my school Valentines, candy, and with my dad’s little bouquet and be so happy. Those are sweet memories for me.

I’ve loved celebrating Valentines with my husband all these years. I’ve liked to decorate the house, make some heart-shaped goodies, buy him a mushy valentine card and a gift that expressed my love. He’s such a gift to me. I love that there is a day set aside to focus on that and honor it. This year, I ordered him a plaque with a Bible verse that has spoken to us all our married life. I’m so glad I did that ahead. I had no idea that my time and focus wouldn’t be on that in the weeks ahead.

My dad became ill. I didn’t know it right away, but this would be his final fight. He endured so much for weeks. He was upbeat, courageous and strong. He was his goofy and silly self. He just amazed me. I will never forget how he dealt with all he went through the last few years. He was an incredible and valiant fighter in everything, with a strong will to live out all the days the good Lord had given him. I was honored and blessed to be there with him. He always had been there for me my entire life. While it was hard to see him have to go through so very much, even then he tried to shield us all by being so strong. He gave us so much through this. Everything he was, was amplified in his final journey. He kept beating the odds over and over, so much, it was almost hard to fathom it beating him. I put my life on hold…because my dad was my life. When he passed away, I came home to a house that still had Christmas stacked everywhere. It’s how I left it 4 weeks before, I had other priorities.

People did such lovely things after he passed away to pour out their love on our grieving hearts. This little table in our living room shows some of the ways people did…flowers..a sweet father and daughter statue…a friend brought me dinner…another sent a fruit bouquet … another handmade beautiful ornaments and gave a gift card to dinner, another sent me a sweet note with candy, another (still anonymous ) gave me a sweet father and daughter bracelet …while another donated in my dad’s name to a doggie shelter (my dad loved doggies.). The love we felt from these expressions we will never forget.

Despite the Christmas things being stacked up. I had begun to set the table in a Valentine’s theme. I had gotten the cute photo booth props set for a “friend” Valentine party … I wasn’t sure if I would be able to even do something this year, but I like to have things on hand for when the mood strikes. Since the table was mostly set, I decided to finish it. I won’t be having my dear girls over for a little Valentine’s tea this year, but this mock table will give me ideas for the future. I love to collect both seasonal dishes and paper goods (napkins, plates, and straws, are some I regularly buy in after holidays sales). The photo above gives a little aerial view of the table. The sign on table is from Target as are the photo booth props. The Mary Engelbreit Valentine dishes I got years ago. My parents gifted me with the matching mugs as a surprise. The table runner and placemats are from Home Goods several years ago.

Here is a close up of the table setting. I just love the name place tiles. I got them from a wonderful store called Details to Enjoy.

Close up of friend themed photo booth props. The vase they are in is from Crate and Barrel. The centerpiece is a Mary Engelbreit candy dish and the candies are actually candles I got from a store called Illuminations, sadly it is no longer in business.

A few days ago, I decorated our mantel for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to put up some photos of my husband and I through the years, Today, I decided to finish the room with a Mickey and Minnie theme in the bar area and the buffet. Normally, I’d put these in the categories of celebrations and home decor on the blog. I may do that at a later date. Since my dad’s passing, I’ve just tried to do what I can and be at peace with what I can’t. So in that spirit, I share the rest of the room here in this post.

This is a view of our fireplace with the photo montage. The coffee table has a scrapbook I made of our love story

A few more views of this area before I added Bob’s Valentine gift. The quote is from the movie The Notebook and reads, “So it’s not gonna be easy, it’s gonna be really hard. And we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I wanna do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever. You and me. Every day.”

Here is the fireplace with the bar area decorated for Valentine’s.

A close up of bar. Hard to see in photo, but the glasses are Mickey and Minnie ones. I filled them with strawberry lemonade and a splash of limeade. They have straws with hearts in them, too, can you tell I love a theme?

Beside the dining room table is the buffet decked for the day. This is the first time I’ve used my Pottery Barn galvanized tiered stand. Mickey and Minnie are the sweethearts of the hour.

Close up of tiered tray styled with treats and hearts. Mickey giving Minnie a box chocolates the perfect topper for a dessert tray.

The runner is from Target. The bigger Mickey and Minnie on the shelf, I got as a gift a couple years ago (it was from Hallmark.)

My hutch decorated for Valentine’s, too. The little painted inserts to it, I drew and my mom painted.

Lady was a little reluctant when I dressed her in her pink coat. Usually she is a wonderful model and up for her mommy’s silly themed decor, but today she was ready for a nap. She probably wanted to dream of her own Valentine, Tramp.

My darling gave me this Valentine this year. I wasn’t sure a week ago if I would even put up Valentines. My heart is aching and in grief that one of my favorite men in the world is no longer here, but in heaven. I’ve been playing each day as it comes. You never know what grief will throw at you, but today, I felt like decorating and celebrating my wonderful husband. It’s not either or. My dad always wanted my happiness. He was so proud of my writings and my blog. He loved celebrating with us on holidays. As I decorated, I spoke to him. I’m thankful Jesus holds us both. That my dad is alive and well. He’s celebrating, too, a hard fought battle..not really lost here, but the birth pangs of being transformed to a new home in heaven…my dad gave it his all til God called him home. I can do no less. I want to honor him with living my life well. Celebrating the journey. Showing my sweetheart how much I love him today. On this day of love, I’m feeling the love of two good men and all they are to me, one in heaven and one here with me. Celebrating with smiles, tears, laughter and joy this Valentine’s Day…and two sweet Disney mice have helped me do it, too,

True Love never ends, but this long blog needs, too…Lady is showing her Minnie bow and wishing you all the best Valentine’s Day…love your tribe all out…celebrate and love life.