(Diane July 14th 1956 – February 14th, 2015)
I have never been one of those people who think Valentine’s day is too dumb to celebrate because it’s extra cheesy or because love should be celebrated everyday! Umm…duhhh! lol Of course love is something to be cherished each & every day but it’s not something we’re going to celebrate with gifts, restuarant reservations, surprises and all each & everyday, right?! That may be exhausting\taxing physically and\or financially. So what’s wrong with choosing one day to celebrate love, platonic or romantic, with gifts and all? Also, maybe it’s just a scam the candy companies & greeting card businesses pull just to get our money. Oh well, it can still be fun! I have also never been one of those girls who sit around dreading the holiday or crying because I’m single. I don’t care if I’m single and to me Valentine’s Day is about all kinds of love, not just romantic. And there’s always next year! 😉
But I have also never been the biggest fan of v-day. I love holidays like Halloween & Christmas and Valentine’s day to me just always seemed bland next to those ones. My mom, sister, & me always bought each other gifts for the day for as long as I can remember. And my friends & me in school would buy each other roses & stuffed teddy bears & cute things like that. But I never really got completely into the holiday the way some do.
On February 14th, 2015 I lost my coworker who I was very close with, unexpectedly to a heart attack. She died at work that day. Just collapsed and died instantly. I wasn’t there that day. I took off work to go on a meditation retreat. I wasn’t there but I still can’t get the image out of my head. Collapsing & dying on the floor.
Not only did Diane die that day, Valentine’s day was one of her favorite holidays. She loved it! ❤
Losing Diane is one of the worst things I ever experienced in this life. It’s the greatest trauma of this life of mine. Even two years later I have occasions I feel as if I’m being suffocated, submerged under water, like I have to struggle just to breathe. It’s not always this bad. Often my grief is now calmer, quiet, still deeply painful, but easier to bear. But it flares up and reverts back to the raw grief that I can hardly bear. It throbs throughout my whole being like an abcessed tooth but worse. It’s so heavy and I sometimes find it hard to keep standing. Losing Diane feels like losing a limb; like part of my body ripped off. If I believed in a soul I would feel as if my soul is disfigured, slashed, burned, traumatic amputation of part of it. There have been so many occasions I felt if my pain were physical I would believe I was dying and need emergency medical attention. The way it throbs and cuts, there’s just no words.
The love Diane has always shown to me is very similar to that of a mother’s love. Diane has three adult sons and grandchildren & great grandchildren, all who she was very close with. When she died she was 58 years old & I was 28 years old. She talked about me and bragged about me like I was her own daughter. Sometimes she would embarass me like a mom can embarass her children in public. Lol She would make me lunch some days and bring it to me and always gave me money even though she hardly had money herself and I would tell her not to. She would yell at me & scold me if she thought I was doing something not good for myself. She was always checking up on me. We had so much fun laughing and talking together day after day, year after year for almost a decade until we lost her.
My pain is mostly for her because she is no longer here and those of us shattered can move forward & find some sense of healing. Diane can never eat her favorite food, smile again, work again, experience happiness, sadness, love…but we can. The second main thing is my pain is for her children and family\friends outside of work who knew her better than I did. I knew her very well but of course not as well as her own sons and while it’s so extremely difficult for me I know some aspects are likely more difficult for them. And last, my pain is for me. She was snatched out of my world so suddenly without warning. I used to feel as if I was going into a panic when I would think like this. My chest would tighten, my heart would race, my eyes would turn completely black but my years of practicing Buddhist meditation helped me with this before I would go into a fullblown panic.
Last year, February 14th was the first anniversary of my friend’s death. I had to work for ten hours straight with no break and wasn’t sure just how I would find the strength but somehow I did. I felt like we were losing Diane all over again. I felt the life drain right out of me. I was in a fog like when it happened a year before. I was pissed at the world. I was snippy with everyone. They got snippy back and none of us were in a good mood. This wasn’t just the actual day but the days leading up to the date.
I had no money and my mom suggested after work we try to find a store to buy an inexpensive gift for each other. I just did not have it in me. I couldn’t find any desire to do anything that had to do with Valentine’s day. It seemed so cruel that my poor Diane had to lose her life like this on a day she loved and now can never celebrate again ever. I would have died for Diane. 💔❤ If I knew her heart was going to stop I would have given her my own if it were possible.
Her son also said he could just never celebrate Valentine’s day again & hoped his future girlfriend would understand. But Diane’s other son, who never celebrated Valentine’s day, said he will now begin celebrating and suggested all who love her keep on celebrating or begin celebrating her holiday to honor her & help us cope with this tragic loss of ours. What a wonderful idea! A day that we can see as so terrible, let’s turn it around and make it wonderful. It’s the day Diane lost her life. But it’s not only that. It’s also a day full of hope & possibility for those of us still alive. A day of LOVE not just grief. Grief is like a form of love. But there’s other forms of love to focus on. Diane’s son found the strength to celebrate a year after his mom’s death but I still couldn’t muster it. I just tuned it all out in my head.
This year though, I am much stronger than I was last year. I am not completely recovered. It’s not a loss I will “get over.” But I am strong and this year I choose LOVE. Last year I couldn’t seem to find the strength & wisdom I have discovered since then and now know.
This year I am going to celebrate Valentine’s day to honor my sweet Diane. I can still feel something inside my chest feeling like it’s physically breaking. Some moments I still feel as if I will physically collapse in my grief. Sometimes I still lay in bed late at night, my whole body wracked in grief & still in immense shock, I still have these overwhelming urges to scream her name, on rare occasions I am filled with fury and want to scream, but I have love, gratitude, sweet memories, happiness, joy, laughter, smiles, strength….more than anger & pain. Diane never had to come into my world and be my friend but our lives did cross and for that I am extremely happy & thankful.
Something about Diane: she was extremely compassionate. So loving. She was assertive, sarcastic, loud, mouthy, always cursing, but loving. She loved not only her own friends & family but strangers as well. She hardly had money & borrowed money a lot and if she found someone else who needed money she gave the money to that person. She borrowed money and I would tell her not to pay me back, that it’s ok but she insisted and always paid me back even though it was a struggle for her. She used to give me one dollar bills & five dollar bills for no reason just because she knew how little money I had myself. And whenever she paid me back the money she borrowed, she would pay me back one dollar here & there until it was all paid up. I always thought it was so cute & funny. Diane told me once that one of her worst fears in life was that I would lose my quiet, sweet, gentle way if I ever let the bitterness or problems of others get to me. She told me to always stay loving and gentle even with those who are difficult to deal with and in situations that are a struggle for me. She told me to never change and I never will.
So how will I celebrate this year? I want to help others. Diane is dead and there’s nothing I can do about it. My chest aches to write it but it’s the truth. Like Diane, I love people and love to help. And I know she would absolutely love what I’m going to do. She’ll never know it but that’s not the point. She won’t feel the love but that’s not the purpose. My purpose is to help & inspire others. And I will carry her love with me always. Even though I lost Diane and experience a tremendous sense of loss and agony, I have never once felt that I lost her love. She loved me. She told me so and showed me everyday. What I will do is buy those small Valentine’s Day cards that come in packs of like ten or twenty or whatever, like the ones I would give to all my friends when I was a little girl, and write love messages in them, not romantic love messages but universal ones that can apply to everyone. Inspiring quotes, words of encouragement, positive messages, comforting messages….and leave them in random places for random people to find. This is what I planned to do and is good enough but I was trying to think of something I can do to help others in a more practical way as well. Then I remembered Diane & her dollars.
The dollar tips she would give servers, the dollars she would give me on random occasions just because, the individual dollars she would pay me back after borrowing thirty dollars, the dollars she would leave around for me at work, the dollars she would give to people who were struggling….Diane and those dollars! Lol I smile so much thinking of it. And I instantly knew what I have to do. Put a dollar in each little love note I slip into all those random places!
This isn’t to brag about the good I will do. My pain is so great I wouldn’t brag anyway but in my grief I especially can’t even care about getting credit. It makes almost everything seem so trivial. This is to inspire others to turn your love around and do something for the goodness of others. It doesn’t have to be this. This is just my story. But it can be this if you want! I would love for others to be inspired & do this, even if it’s just one card & one dollar! Imagine how happy my sweet Diane would be if she could know that her life & death inspires this kindness. If you knew Diane you would love her! I’m sure of it. She was the kind of person everyone loves. ❤
Or you can put your own spin on this or do something completely different to honor someone or just to do good. I met one sweet girl who lost her mom in February to cancer and a year later on the anniversary, just like Diane’s son, she somehow found the strength to honor her mama. She got all her beautiful long blonde hair cut off and donated it to cancer survivors who lost their hair to chemo treatment. What a beautiful soul. What can you do to honor someone you love so deeply and lost so painfully? Or just to do good for no specific reason other than wanting to make the world a bit more beautiful?!😍😀❤ Please let me know in the comments if you want or write a post of your own! And remember it’s totally not about bragging or receiving credit but bringing consolation, hope, & inspiration to others while sharing our own stories. ❤
Please remember the anniversary of the death of the one you love so much isn’t just a messed up, tragic, terrible day; it’s a day you are still alive and you can make that day anything you want to make it. Maybe not right away and it may take practice and strength you never could have possibly imagined you can posses but it’s a day like any other, a day of hope, love, chances, possibilities. It’s up to us to make it beautiful. The beautiful may never completely obliterate the ugly but it can certainly come into the mix and make it even just a little bit better.
This is for any loss, human or animal. Pet loss is just as bad and I understand it well. I have loved & lost pets as long as I have been alive and find the death of a human a bit more traumatic but both are devastating. My grief for Diane isn’t healing as well as it could be but so much better than it was. I’m wishing you much love, light, healing, always. I hope you will be inspired to do something and go on to inspire others! ~Hugs & love~ I love you! 😍😀❤