Stuck in the wine aisle sobbing; another Valentine’s Day

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On Valentines Day I systematically try to avoid the chocolate aisles. You need to understand one thing: I LOVE CHOCOLATE with a passion that is borderline creepy. I also like holidays, any excuse for a celebration, I’m in. But my mother was my first Valentine and she is not here anymore.

//In the town where I grew up “el Día del Amor y la Amistad”(literal translation: the day of love and friendship) was hugely celebrated. Every year many girls in school would get flowers, chocolates, balloons or teddy bears from a boy (or multiple boys, if they were really lucky). I was never popular with the boys and my parents were well aware, so each year my mom would get me a little something: a teddy bear one year, new pajamas another, flowers, balloons, one year she even got me perfume! She always tried to make the day special. There was always a card and always a box of chocolates. This would cheer me up after a day of wondering why not ONE BOY in the whole school liked me enough to show it.//

I now have children and children love to celebrate, so it’s impossible to avoid the chocolate aisle altogether for the weeks before Valentine’s Day.  I find myself having to breathe and focus on the task at hand: purchase the chocolates, walk away.

Yesterday I lost it and I wasn’t even shopping for chocolates! I was at Cost Plus World Market shopping for fun snacks, coffee and wine. Something about the store, maybe their many Valentine’s Day displays triggered it. It happened suddenly and I couldn’t control it. Next thing I knew I was sobbing in the wine aisle. It was strange. I was a bit embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to ask what was wrong. What would I have said? My mother died <<back in 2010>>. I imagine the confused face of this imaginary person- shouldn’t I be “over it” if it happened 4 years ago?

I calmed myself down, checked out and got into the car. On my drive home I reflected:

I asked myself why should I care what people think? Well… I encounter so many people that are more than willing to tell me about God and God’s plans and mysteries and how my mother is probably better off in heaven- that I am afraid of being caught sobbing in the wine aisle, because OBVIOUSLY wine is not the answer, GOD IS! I wasn’t sure I would be able to articulately handle the rhetoric of afterlife-consolation. When I am calm I think about all these eloquent things I can say in reply, but when I am approached I usually silently blink at the person in awe that they have the nerve to talk to me about grief.

Then I tell myself that I am being silly; the likelihood of a stranger asking a woman who is crying (in the wine aisle) why she is crying is very VERY low. I had gone there after a long day in the office and most likely looked a bit frazzled (if not completely insane) so maybe I should say the chances of someone approaching me were pretty close to null. But then again: A crying woman in the wine aisle is the perfect invitation to someone that is sent to this world to spread the gospel. What if someone offered to pray for me, right there, what would I have done?

What would you have done?

L.S.