• SumoMe

Roosevelt lost his wife and mother on Valentine's Day, 1884.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and whatever your feelings are on the holiday, you can at least rest assured that today probably won’t turn out as bad as Theodore Roosevelt’s 1884 Valentine’s day.

On this day in 1884, Roosevelt was in the New York legislature when his family told him to come home. When he arrived home, he found his mother dead from typhoid fever.

Just 12 hours later, Roosevelt’s wife died from Bright’s disease, just one day after giving birth to a daughter. Roosevelt was an avid journal-keeper, yet kept this story to a single page, marked with a single “X.” I saw this entry in person when I took a trip to Roosevelt’s home on Sagamore Hill.

To make matters worse, both Roosevelt’s wife and mother died in the same house, one floor apart. Saddened, he remarked “For joy or for sorrow my life has been lived out.” However, historians find that he had far from “lived out” his life. Following this tragic day, Roosevelt immersed himself in his passion for the outdoors. As a result of his efforts, and his love for nature, he preserved for us all 230 million acres of federal park land and saved countless species of wildlife.

So the next time you get depressed on Valentine’s day because you’re alone, or you are simply bothered by all the to-do associated with the holiday, think back to 1884 and remain grateful that your Valentine’s day isn’t possibly as bad as Theodore Roosevelt’s was in 1884.

What’s your worst/best Valentine’s day experience? Get nostalgic in the comments below.