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Today, we’re sharing a very special Valentine’s Day story from Mary of The Mama Mary Show. She reflects upon how one man in her life made Valentine’s Day very special…and inspired her as well.
Valentine’s Day is typically a holiday reserved for lovers, many of my most precious Valentine’s Day cards did not come from a significant other. Rather, they came from the other man in my life, my dad.
For as long as I can remember, he sent hand-selected greeting cards to my sisters and me, every year on Valentine’s Day. I always looked forward to finding the frosty or hot pink Hallmark envelope in my mailbox, with the words “Do not open til Feb 14th.”
Despite his intimidating and sometimes overbearing demeanor, he was also a very sensitive and thoughtful man, with a soft spot for the women in his life. So in addition to showering my mom with a card, flowers, candy and a little bling, bling, he would also send a card to all his daughters to let us know he was thinking about us. I think he also wanted to make sure we received something in case we were either a) single or b) dating a loser who didn’t think to buy a card.
Valentine’s Day 2001 came only 12 days after my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a few months to live. He was much too weak to go out and purchase cards, but I couldn’t bear the thought of not having at least one more card. So, on February 10th, I headed to Rite Aid and picked out seven Valentine’s Day cards, one for each of his ladies. I thought it would be a nice surprise for all my sisters and my mom who were all certainly thinking the same thing; that we had seen the last of our special cards from Dad.
Later that night I brought the bag of cards into his den and laid them on his desk. He smiled. The moment was both magical and awkward; there was an elephant in the room…the unspoken reason behind my purchasing the cards. But nevertheless, he was touched and I think very glad to have the opportunity to wish his lovely ladies one last Valentine’s Day sentiment.
Although I had purchased the cards myself, I still felt that flutter of excitement to see mine arrive in the mailbox on February 14th. I couldn’t wait to open it, for it was not the card itself that I looked forward to every year, but it was the handwritten message inside. He always took the time to write a unique, personalized, heartfelt note in each of his cards. I never once received a card from my father that did not have a handwritten note in addition to the pre-printed message. He was “old-fashioned” that way. And sentimental.
When I lost my dad to cancer in 2001, I had no idea how I would rebound from the loss. His death was my first experience with bereavement and I stumbled through it, just like most people do. After emerging from the fog of intense grief, I realized I wanted to turn my experience into something positive, that could potentially help other women who were going through a similar loss.
In 2008, I began collecting stories from women who had lost their fathers and this past December I published Dead Dads Club: Stories of Love, Loss, and Healing by Daughters Who Have Lost Their Dads. Creating this book was a remarkable, cathartic process for me and I am hopeful that it will bring healing and hope to other women of “the club.”
Through working on this book, and writing blog posts like the Valentine’s Day post above, I have come to realize that writing is a profound source of healing. Because of that, I am also launching a website called DeadDadsClub.com later this month that will be a collaborative site, encouraging people to write about their loss. If you are interested in submitting a story about your father and/or your grief process please email me at mary [at] deaddadsclub [dot] com.
My book, Dead Dads Club, is now available on Amazon.com.
We love Mary, this story, and how she’s using her writing to bring healing to others. Have you suffered the death of a parent? We’re giving away one copy of Dead Dads Club to one of you – to enter, just leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you.
About the Author
Mary Burt-Godwin has been host of her own site, The Mama Mary Show, since 2008 where she blogs and vlogs about parenting, pop culture and everything in between. She recently published her first book, Dead Dads Club, and is launching a website with the same name in early 2012. She is a freelance writer for TodaysMama.com, Legoland.com and several corporate clients. She she’s not parenting or writing, she’s busting her moves like Jagger at hip hop dance class or watching GLEE and tweeting via @MamaMaryShow.
Want to Write for Us?
Are you interested in guest posting for The SITS Girls? Then let us know! Our super easy process is described in this post. We’d love to drive more page views to what you have to say.
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