Valentines – With Love Comes Sorrow

Valentines weekend is upon us.  The time to celebrate love and express the depths of our commitment to that special someone in our life.  There are too many historical variances regarding this celebration to even consider a lesson on the background so I will forego any teaching.  BUT I will also give you a heads up that some of this article may be disturbing to some.  This is not a “feel good” story but it is a realistic perspective of what some deal with during Valentines.  Suffice it to say in todays society Valentines is a celebration of shared love.  How that love is shared is open to interpretation.

I have to stress the “shared” since it is an experience to be shared between two people.  When I was a kid in school (elementary) we were encouraged at a very young age to give Valentine cards to almost everyone.  It  became a popularity contest designed to sell books of small Valentine cards.  That’s called commercialism and has little to do with the expression of something very special.  It had little to do with that connection with your perfect mate or so you hoped.

That “perfect mate” can be someone new to your life or someone who has been in your life for a very long time.  Often it will involve a loved one who has been in your life for longer than some of us have been around and that is where the tragedy can be.  If you have lost your partner of fifty years, and yes many people remain married for fifty or more years, Valentines can be one of the most emotional holidays of the year.  Most holidays are family based celebrations but Valentines is something very personal between two individuals.

Life time love
Loss of love can mean more than loss of one life!

That brings us to the downside of Valentines, the remembrance of loved ones lost.  Studies have shown that many seniors who have enjoyed a life time with a person they loved unconditionally often pass away within a year of the lost partner.

Valentines is a period of time that holds the highest risk for suicide among widowers or widows.  Statistics shows it is the widower (male) with the highest suicide rate, which should surprise no one.  We live in a culture where men are expected to keep their emotions in check.  Valentines is all about love however it can be a very difficult time for those who have lost their reason for this special day.

To many couples their biggest purpose in life is each other.  When you lose your purpose you can often lose your will.  For many chronic illness and the fear of moving forward in life without that person who supplied so much purpose can be insurmountable.  Many of them don’t wait for nature to take its course, they make the decision themselves.

A similar situation to the story reported in the above link was reported to have happened in the apartment building I lived in when in Victoria.  I don’t know if it was true as the story was about fifteen years old and, at the time I lived there, research methods were limited.  However at that time I was heavy into writing poetry so I did one to chronicle their plight.  I hope you enjoy and have a very special Valentines.

The Precipice

For sixty years they had been wed,

In thirteen seconds they would be dead,

She is frail and oh so ill,

But to live without her he has no will.

Perching on the precipice high,

Holding her close with a smile they will die.

The love they have shared for all of these years,

Keeps them together shedding their tears,

He’s watched her strength drain from the illness inside,

But living without her he cannot abide.

Perching on the precipice high,

In loving embrace they soon will both die.

He wrapped her so warmly in her hand knitted shawl,

Then walked her so slowly to the elevator stall,

From the fourth to the twelve the lift it did rise,

Then one flight of stairs to reach their demise.

Perching on the precipice high,

Hand in hand from a fall they will die.

Arm in arm to the edge they do walk,

Holding a gaze that held silent talk,

Just one final kiss that tasted so sweet,

To their death they did plunge on the dark silent street.

Lying all broken from precipice high,

Their love has transcended as their bodies do die.

Terry Wiens – Jan 2005


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