This will be my second Valentine’s Day without Tim, my love of 12 years. Red jelly hearts cling to a window framing the fringed mid-February landscape. The heart-shaped décor that adorns supermarket entrances and doctor’s waiting rooms are a reminder of the heart attack that mercilessly ripped him from this world at 34. Hearts love. Hearts beat. Hearts stop, dead muscle manually pumped by sweaty EMTs on the floor of your best friend’s Brooklyn living room.

Hearts shatter. Hearts heal.

22 months out from catastrophe I am slowly learning to navigate the post-loss world. The pain has softened its edges and tucked itself into the corners of my day-to-day existence. A constant companion, quietly reminding me of the life I had. Encouraging transition into the life ahead. 22 months out, I have crumbled and burned and birthed myself into a new existence. My concept of love has broadened and expanded with the vacuum that Tim’s death created. But you know what? Valentines day still effin’ sucks.

So with the authority I have earned as a bad-ass young widow lady, I offer you the following unsolicited advice:

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