I survived Valentine's Day. I can honestly say I wasn't certain that I could. 18 years ago, Keith gave me a promise ring on Valentine's Day. I accepted it knowing, even at the tender age of 17, I was accepting far more than a gold ring with two tiny diamonds nestled together. I knew I was accepting Keith as my future husband. I knew I was promising to love him and no other.
It may not make sense how a 17 year old can know that, but I did. I knew. I realize now it was a God thing. God was preparing me for yesterday, even 18 years ago.
Yesterday was hard. Very hard. I cried, I wrote in my journal at different times throughout the day, I tried very hard to treat myself with gentleness and kindness, I fought the black off that was circling. I survived.
Yesterday was also Keith's mom's birthday. We met his parents for lunch to celebrate. That was hard too. Keith's absence from our physical lives was palpable. It's still that way for me daily.
Keith's mom and the kids planned a little surprise for me. She bought flowers and a card for the kids to give to me for Valentine's Day. They are beautiful. It is exactly the thing that Keith would have done. It worried the kids when I started crying.
Valentine's Day wasn't a day that Keith and I just went wild giving elaborate gifts or anything. It was the day that we remembered the first real commitment we made to each other. I thought about that Valentine's Day 18 years ago a lot yesterday. I remembered the look of love and devotion in his eyes as he gave me that ring. I remembered thinking, "This is the man God chose for me."
Of course, reality also came stampeding in with these memories. The reality of Keith's death. The reality that there would be no more Valentine's Days spent with him. The reality of life without the love of my life.
I know that God has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
My first Valentine's Day without Keith has passed. I can say that I survived or endured... whichever word works.