My story is probably going to be way different than everyone else´s but, here it goes…
This past valentine´s day started at 6:45am, I had an outfit picked out already it was this sequined heart sweater perfect for the holiday, I needed to put on some make up to look nice for the day because I was very excited, somehow I planned a surprise for my loved one (in my country) and surely was looking forward to see the results. That same morning my lovely LCC Paola was hosting the monthly meeting and I was picking up this new girl from the group that had been in the US for just one week, everything sounded like it was going to be a beautiful Valentine´s day.
But it all changed the minute my sister called me, at first I thought it was to say “Happy valentine´s day” but, she had bad news. The day we celebrate love, my biggest love passed away, my grandma, the person who raised me and taught me to be kind, who loved me the most! I felt like my world turned upside down in a minute, it was so sudden and unexpected, my tears ruined my make up in a minute, my sweater with a sequined heart outfit was absurd to wear at that time, nothing was making sense but I told myself: “you have to try to keep going today”
I couldn’t stop crying, my host mom hugged me and cried with me, she knew how meaningful my abuelita was for me, my almost 4 years old host kid hugged me and said “Nani, why you crying? you need a little kissy?” and in more tears I started missing home more and more, every minute felt like an eternity, I kept getting calls from my parents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, also I got tons of texts from my best friends, I wanted to be around them so bad, and yet I managed to get the morning show going and did most of it as I always do,with the kid off to school it was time to get going for the meeting, I thought about not going, but staying at home completely alone wasn’t a good idea. So, I´m on my way to pick up a person who I’ve never met before and I was shocked by this beautiful new friend and how she reacted when she saw my face all red and swollen, with messed up make up, and a full box of used tissues on my lap, of course she asked what happened to me, and when I told her, even when it was the first time to meet up with her, she offered all the support I needed at that exact moment. When we got to the meeting I swear it felt like the greatest idea to be there, Paola hugged me and made me feel that it was all going to be ok, she said the kindest words, and provided all this warmth I needed. Everyone else behaved the same, I kept crying and all I was able to feel from this people who knew very little or nothing about my personal life, was support and comprehension.
After this, my new friend decided to “take care of me” and we realized it was 11:30 am and had nothing on my stomach so we went together for brunch, and we had so much to talk about and had a lot of fun, the pain went away for a little while.
By the time I got home my beautiful host mom had presents to make me feel better, she tried her best to make sure I was comfortable and that I had as much space and time to deal with my situation and grief, she even offered the days off to go home and say goodbye but for some reasons I couldn’t do it.
The day went on and my loved one got the surprise, the reaction was beautiful but in tears all I could think about was “I´d love a hug from you” not just from my partner, but my mom, my dad, my grandpa, my besties. I needed my loved ones, the most meaningful people in my life and I was far away from every single one of them.
At the very end of the day, after several calls and texts, after a Valentine´s day dinner with my host family, after meeting this new girl for the first time, after the worst feeling in the world I needed to calm myself for a while and told myself this:
“I feel loved, not just by my family and best friends in Venezuela, not just by the love of my life, I feel loved by all these new people in my life who are now my family and friends, my everyday, I feel loved by how they take care of me and consider my needs, by how they joined me in this sad and painful moment of my life, by how they´re concerned by my suffering and support me all the way! I feel loved by my grandma in every memory of my childhood, in every meal she taught me how to cook, even when I miss her in a way that has no words to explain, I feel her love inside me even before she left this world.”
So, Valentine´s day is supposed to be romantic and all about couples, chocolates and flowers, but this year, for me it was a reminder that love is expressed in every little action, it has many forms and you should always show your love to others because you have no idea when are you getting your last chance to do it. That love is so powerful it can be felt if you´re within a million miles from who you love, it’s the only consolation in the face of pain, it gets you going in the hardest and darkest times, love definitely never fails, love is showing up for your friend when most needed, love is shown in a kind word, love is ALL you need.