By Angelina Labonne
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
— Author Unknown
The day is slowly approaching. Some call it S.A.D. (single awareness day) when they are void of a partner. Others find it overrated, deeming it a “Hallmark Holiday.” In contrast, fun is how I looked at it every year, except this upcoming one. This one is different.
February 14, recognized all over the U.S. as Valentine’s Day, is a day of pink and red, chocolate and loooovveeee. This day has caused many boyfriends/husbands to be sent to the dog house, and many marriage proposals to be fulfilled. Valentine’s is this backwards holiday where you are shunned for loving it (as I do) and sympathized with for hating it. This is ironic since the holiday itself is based on love.
In the past whether I was single or not I have always seen Valentine’s Day a certain light. In my view of the world there is a lot of hate and anger polluting our society every day. One 24-hour period that focuses on just the opposite has felt like a breath of fresh air in the smog.
Most, however, see this day as a weight on their shoulders, making them feel small or even insignificant. I and other hopefuls like me remind the discouraged that everyone has someone to love on Valentine’s Day, whether that be a mom, cousin, friend, or even a dog. While I will remain a hopeful this year, my message for Valentine’s Day has a sense of urgency behind it because something you don’t often hear as the holiday approaches is that some people have one less person to love.
For myself, November 2, 2016, at about 10:30 p.m. is when I and several hundreds of other people lost someone to love this 14th of February. My dearest friend Katey along with three other beautiful souls, her incredible boyfriend Clenton included, were hit by a drunk driver who made the decision while under the influence to get in his car and drive the wrong way on the highway. I was snapchatting Katey roughly 15 minutes before this tragedy occurred so you can imagine my disbelief the next day when I got the call.
The world has never stopped so suddenly or with quite the vengeance as it did that day Plans that were made with friends, visits that were scheduled to catch up, and love that would no doubt grow between the couple was eradicated, all in one careless second. What was left was a void that now overflows with grief.
The love I have for my friend now escapes my heart as a painful sting, rots in my stomach like a virus, and lives in my bones with every day that passes. I will pray that my love for her will reach the heavens and come back down to me in signals that I am not alone.
If there was one person I would call and tell them I love them this Valentine’s, it would be Katey. I would remind her of her irreplaceable presence in my life and how I cherish all the years and memories we shared. All the family and friends of those lost that night will feel a similar ache to connect with their loved ones.
No doubt you have someone in your life that was taken too soon, whose wings were ready although so many hearts were not. Do not shut out the pain of a loss to great to understand. Instead, let it be a force that drives you.
On this day, the universal reminder of love, push the insecurities of being single and the Hallmark facade aside and take note of the love around you. This year your love and mine has many places to go and innumerable people to be appreciative of.
Pay attention this year, not to who will show their love to you but instead who you can show love to. You may be single, you may have suffered losses, but all is not forsaken if you will simply take a moment to stop looking for love and start spreading it. Because next year I can almost guarantee that you or someone you know will have one less person to love.
So plan the fancy date for your partner, buy the valentines for your friends, call your mom, or send out a mass text reminding those close to you that you love them. This year I will celebrate Valentine’s with a new-found meaning, a meaning I wish I didn’t have, but one I embrace nonetheless.
Your love has places to go this year, so let it go freely and with purpose.
Happy Valentine’s Day.