By Katy Hutchison –
Over the years, my experience around Valentine’s Day has softened and shifted focus.
The first year after my husband’s death I wanted to crawl in a hole the minute I saw that first red and pink heart-shaped display in the grocery store. On February 14th I didn’t answer my phone and avoided the efforts of well meaning friends and family to “get me through” the day. I had every reason to wallow in sadness; and I took the opportunity to feel the pain of my loss head-on.
The next year, I managed to create a space for myself to privately remember the love I had shared with my husband and the wonderful legacies he left behind in our two beautiful children. I poured myself into making the day special for them and protected my own aching heart in the process.
In the years that followed, my focus has shifted outwards. I now choose to spend Valentine’s Day reflecting on love in a broader sense. The more I share my own story of love, loss and forgiveness; the more I realize how important it is to open our hearts up and share our love. It is our daring hearts that will teach others to see past discrimination, stand up for injustice and poverty and create and sustain peaceful communities.
Valentine’s Day is less about cards, flowers and chocolates and more about reaching out with an open heart to those around us – and that is something we can all do 365 days a year.
Katy Hutchison is author of Walking After Midnight. She can be reached at www.katyhutchisonpresents.com.