Valentine's Day is the day to celebrate the ones you love. But if someone you loved died on Valentine's Day, it becomes a reminder of loss.
This is what Valentine's Day has meant for me and my family for the last eleven years.
I grew up very close with my godparents. They were my parents best friends. My Mother and Madrina knew each other as girls - growing up on the same block. Their families intertwined. When they married, their husbands became best friends. They were in each other weddings, baptized each other's children. And they loved each other's children as if they were their own.
And I remember as a kid we spent holidays, vacations and lazy summer days at the beach together. Some of my best childhood memories are of all of us together.
Watching my parents and godparents together, I knew that was the kind of friendship I wanted. And I'm grateful that I do.
When my Padrino died eleven years ago - I was devastated. We all were. On the eve of his wake my Madrina asked if I could say a few words. At the time, I couldn't.
But I would've said he was a good man devoted to his family. The kind of guy who'd greet you with a smile after he came home from a long day of work and offer you his last beer. He loved the Yankees and every summer he'd urge me to participate in a game of baseball even though I lacked coordination and the interest. And I will never forget that summer when I was eleven, we all went to Puerto Rico. He drove up and down the mountains, one arm dangling out the window, a lit cigarette in the other hand, his hand barely on the wheel. I was terrified and thought we would drive off a cliff. But he'd laugh, assured me he knew what he was doing and kept telling me to enjoy the view of the mountains.
When I think about all of our family memories, it makes me sad that The Boy never got the chance to meet my godfather. And I'm sad that my godfather never got to see me as a mom. And my godmother has moved to another state, so we don't see each other as often as I'd like.
The Boy has a special relationship with his godparents. And I want The Boy to know that I have a special one with mine.
And I realized the other day, that I didn't have a single photo of my godfather. So when I received my Heart of Haiti frame, I knew what picture I'd want to place in it.
Valentine's Day will always be difficult for me. But I am grateful to have had my godfather in my life, even if it was for too short a time. And it's my day to honor his memory.
To learn more about the Heart of Haiti products and initiative click HERE.
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Heart of Haiti. No compensation has been received, however I did receive the frame and the Heart of Haiti pendant. All thoughts expressed in this post are my own.