Here we are. I'm writing. I've been idly browsing facebook and procrastinating wondering whether to blog or not to blog. I'm nervous but I'm here now.
It's been quiet on the writing front, well on here at least. I spend much time writing down notes, thoughts, prayers, memories and the like in my trusty little notebook (I've gone through 4 notebooks since Ems died 11 weeks ago). I like to get things out on paper. I've struggled to write on here this week though, sorry readers.
It's been a very tough week but today has been ok. You'll recall me repeating that I'm going to remain honest to myself (and you) and that I will. I won't pretend this week has been easy but neither will I pretend that today has been the worst day. It hasn't.
Today was Valentines Day. Today was the day that thousands celebrate their mutual love, one with the other. I celebrated my love alone. The love is still very much alive, the memories are vivid, the texts, cards, photos still so very real. But he is not here to share it with.
I'm not going to pretend that I spent the day thinking about the fact it was Valentines day. To be honest, I tried not to. It was excrutiating on Friday, trying to find a birthday card and pretending I didn't notice the countless 'To my wife' valentines cards I had to clamber past to get to the birthday section (only to realise there were no decent cards because they'd all been put away to make room for the Valentines ones).
I'll never receive a 'To my wife' Valentines card. Just like I'll never receive a 'To my wife' Christmas, birthday, anniversary card. Our marriage was so real, so full, so loving, it felt like we'd been married forever and it's crazy to think we didn't mark these dates as husband and wife. It also doesn't take the word 'wife' on a card to prove its worth*.
I got out the 'to my fiancee' card Ems sent me last Christmas at Christmas. I haven't got out the valentines cards he'd sent me today though because I've memorised the words he wrote in them already. I have read those words (Welsh and English) countless times in the last few weeks; all the cards and notes and texts he'd sent me. They bring tears but they also bring smiles, the love behind them as real as the second he sent them.
I've had this overwhelming sense of how perfect our love was today. I am so incredibly grateful for that love; for Ems. The funny thing is, our perfect love is immortalised now. Ems can't screw up on Valentines day; he can't buy me the wrong present or not write enough in the card. Sad as I will always be to not have him here with me, I will always remember how lovely he was. Our love will always be perfect, Valentines Day or any day. Nothing can ever taint it.
Even though I've mentioned it in this post, Valentines Day is more insignificant than ever. I was never overly enthusiastic about it before. Ems and I naturally enjoyed celebrating the first one we shared [see memory #9]. Last year's consisted of wedding suit fittings, McDonalds, rugby and an Indian takeaway with friends. I was a bit dissapointed at the time but a few weeks later Ems surprised me with a massive bunch of flowers and took me out for a delicious expensive meal. The surprise and effort meant far more on a day when Ems was unprovoked than it would have on a day when it was expected. We agreed that Valentines was just an extra excuse to proclaim our love rather than a day where we had to prove it.
I will remember the love we shared every day of my life. Valentines Day will be no exception but neither will it be especially significant. This is better than Valentines Days before Ems came along because I have a very real love to remember. In days gone by I may have sat and wondered if my crush would send me a card but I'll never have to wonder again. The Royal Mail just about manage with earthly deliveries, there's no way anything can be sent my way from Heaven.
I know he is surrounded by love up in Heaven though and so am I. Warm memories of the sweetest love I could ever have known, and the life-giving love of a Saviour who died for me so that one day, we will be reunited.
Real love can't be captured in a day.
Real love is expressed with every breath you take, every day.
I can't write it in a card for Ems this year but I will love him forever.
[*Memory #10 The 'card' episode
Ems loved doing the unexpected, he wasn't really one to take the obvious option.
When I look back at the various cards Ems sent me, it is only last Christmas' 'To my fiancee' card that ever had such a label (that was only because it was pointed out to us both that it would be the only Christmas when we would have such a title).
I remember opening the first birthday card Ems ever gave me, expecting some kind of girlfriend statement or at least a few love hearts on the front. As I pulled it from the envelope, I was surprised to just see a few chickens on the front. They weren't animated or particularly attractive, it was just an old fashioned sketch of some chickens. It was unconventional and the first words he'd written inside were 'You do like chickens don't you?!'.
Completely random, just like Ems was. I didn't particularly like or not like chickens, we'd never made any reference to them. He'd just seen it when looking for my birthday card and decided it was to be the one. He told me he didn't like the obvious ones and would rather write his own words than rely on those printed in a card...so would I. Ems' words were real, loving and beautiful.
Thinking about it, I may never have received a 'to my wife' card even if he was here. That might have been far too obvious for my sweet, unpredictable boy!]