Last year on Valentine’s Day, I was gifted by waking up with Jensen rolling around in my belly. In the evening, his father and I went to dinner and I was given beautiful flowers, a loving card, and a coloring book. We talked about how much fun it would be when Jensen grew and we would make him his Valentine’s box for school. I was blissfully happy with this Hallmark holiday and the bright future I was meant to have. I had no idea how much change could take place in one short year.
The statistic for couples who break up after losing a child is remarkably high. I don’t know the statistic off the top of my head, but it’s unfortunately another one that I’m forever apart of. In the beginning months of my grief, I was so terrified to be alone. How was I supposed to cope losing Jensen and his dad? We did the best we could for the months afterwards, but it just wasn’t working for us. We worked hard on being there for each other, but in the end we grieved so differently and just couldn’t connect afterwards. I then had to come to terms with having a title I never imagined:
Single, bereaved mother.
With everything I’ve been through in the past year, I can take being single if I had Jensen here. Instead of going to a romantic dinner, I’d mash up his favorite fruits and veggies, buy him a new movie, and we’d dress up to have a quiet mommy-son day at home. We would play and take pictures, he’d be the cutest date I’d ever have. But Jensen died and I’m all alone. This was something I was so terrified of after he was born, but has become my everyday reality.
I wish I could say getting out there and trying to date again sounds fun. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. I’m terrified to meet someone new who will never have met Jensen. This grief will last a lifetime and it’s scary to think of someone trying to push me along. I can’t and won’t do that to myself. It’s hard for me to let my guards down and there be a huge possibility that I’ll be hurt again. Heck, I’m still trying to get to know this new Danielle. Instead of dating other people, I’m still trying to focus on self-care and making sure I’m doing the best for me.
When I think of the title that was forced upon me, I see the loneliness, grief, and hardship of it all. It’s not fun or a great ‘new start.’ Valentine’s Day is just another reminder of how things should have been. It’s screaming out all the bad and erasing the one part of my title I love: being Jensen’s mother.
No, this Valentine’s Day won’t be one for the record books. It isn’t one I had ever planned on having and that’s okay for one reason alone. Love. If there’s one thing that Valentine’s Day is about, it’s love. Believe me, the amount of love I have for my son erases all the negative in being single and bereaved. No, I won’t be getting that romantic dinner or more chocolates than I need, but that doesn’t mean I can’t remember the time I had with Jensen last year on this day. It doesn’t erase that big roll I felt in the mornings and all the kicks at night.
Jensen will always be my valentine just as I’ll always be his mother.
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