When Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday converge

I find myself pleased today about the (apparently rare) convergence of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, though I’m not entirely sure why. It may be as simple as my habit of organizing life into clusters, a “while you’re there anyway…” habit in order to save a trip. Why not get two significant days over at once?

Which reminds me that my special Valentine, the man getting old beside me, has always been quite the opposite. If he noticed that he needed something, say staples, he would drive off to the office store for them, leaving me to sputter that we could have put it on the list or done it on the way home from somewhere else. (He approved this message, BTW.)

At the source of the many ways H. and I are different are strengths, I think, that are mostly complementary. And at the very least, we’re now memento mori (remember that you will die) for one another. I look at him sometimes and it occurs to me, he might be handsome but he’s definitely getting older. (Men’s jowls loosen too, I’ve noticed.)  

        A heart-shaped cookie imprinted with Remember U R dust…

I spotted a good one on someone’s social media feed this morning: A Valentine’s card that said “Hey girl, Let’s contemplate our mortality together” with a picture of a heart-shaped cookie imprinted with Remember U R dust.

Seriously, I’m grateful H. and I are still together. For friends whose partners have died, this joint day (either one) may sting. Currently two people dear to us — the friend H. immigrated to Canada with nearly 48 years ago, and the beautiful woman with whom we share grandchildren — are in their last days in hospice care. Anyone who knows love and mortality knows that these do — and will — converge.      

4 thoughts on “When Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday converge

  1. I’m enjoying your new blog and had been following your other blog for several years after reading your books. Thank you for acknowledging the difficulty of special occasions after losing someone you love. My husband of 44 years died suddenly last spring. He always gave me flowers on Valentine’s Day so this day was a harsh reminder that he was no longer here. But then I realized that the paper white I had been forcing had opened overnight. I consider it a special gift from God.


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