On Monday afternoon, my husband and I decided to surprise our little girl with a bouquet of balloons as an early Valentine’s Day present. It was an impromptu stop after a quick lunch. As we exited onto the road, I noticed the white tent filled with pink and red flowers, candy bouquets, and large balloons. As we drove over to the tent, I told my husband, “She will be so excited to see her balloon surprise after school. Especially because she isn’t expecting it.”

I walked across the parking lot, my steps moved toward the array of Valentine goodies. There were fresh roses in several intricate arrangements. My eyes noticed the baskets and pottery that provided refuge to all of the flowers. And then it hit me. When I least expected it.

Oh my goodness, Dad is not here anymore. 

My Dad, in the last twenty years before he passed, started and worked hard toward a business he loved. He provided wholesale baskets and pottery to many florists located in Texas. I remember how much he adored getting a new basket and entering its description in his catalog. Three-tier woven basket, rolled bamboo gallon, or willow fruit bowl were terms that weren’t uncommon words in our conversations with Dad.  Perusing the items underneath the white tent reminded me how Valentine’s Day provided the most lucrative business opportunity for my Father. He would often say, “Let’s hope it is a good Valentine’s season.” More often sales for February would start as soon as Christmas was over. Because he operated his business from their home, it was commonplace to see a variety of baskets everywhere. Sometimes my sister and I would ask him if we could take a couple home to decorate our own places. He would readily give them up and say, “No problem. I’ll just get another sample.”

Next month marks the three year anniversary of my father’s passing. In the last six months, I’ve noticed my need to be less vocal about my grief of losing my father. I am not certain if this means I’ve finally processed it. Or that I’ve learned to really cope with the reality of him not being here. Does it mean I’ve made peace with his passing? I  am not sure.

What I do know is that even after a lengthy amount of time, the grief can resurge again. And because it is unexpected, the gravity of it pierces you in a different way. Reminding you of what was and what is and how you are able to blend the two together.