I’m not one for Valentine’s Day. Never was. It didn’t matter to me if I was dating or single, it just never made sense. The “Hallmark Holiday” seemed determined to bleed money out of people who shouldn’t have to work so hard to prove themselves one day a year.
If you love someone, prove it every day. It’s not about the big things. It’s about the things that matter.
Picking up someone else’s mess, doing someone’s laundry, a random hug, an “I love you” that’s real and spontaneous, treating each other respectfully all the time… and so on…
My husband and I decided years ago to exchange only cards on Valentine’s Day. I already know how much he loves me. We do what we can to get a little something for our girl, well, just because. And we, we try to get organized and celebrate our anniversary. The day we stood before God and our families and friends and pledged our “for better or for worse,” and “in sickness and in health.” Because those vows – they matter so much.
Tomorrow I will head to Manhattan for three of my annual appointments, carefully timed to cost me exactly one day off of work. I will see the oncologist, the breast surgeon, and the endocrine surgeon, with some blood work thrown in for good measure, and the results of a sonogram from Saturday checking on that bumpy spleen of mine.
I will return in time to have parent conferences at my daughter’s school.
Not a “romantic” day by any means.
I will wear a red shirt that says “Strong” and I will make it work with a smile.
Because, I will be thinking of this heart.
Last year in January, my Grandfather fell. It was after a trip to the grocery store. We later found there was stroke activity, and that January day began a slippery slope that ended with his passing on March 3rd. If you know me personally at all, you know my grandparents were larger than life to me. That’s it. They were 70 years married, and even though Alzheimer’s had largely robbed Grandma of much of her memory, my Pop loved her with his whole heart.
Last year, coincidentally, my grandparents spent Valentine’s Day in the nursing home at the same time. And, although I’m not totally sure either was aware of the date at the time, we were.
A few days after Pop passed, my uncle sent the picture above. He was cleaning out the linen closet and tucked in between some things was this heart. By every rational account it must have been purchased by Pop, for his love, on that day in January when he made his last shopping trip alone.
My Pop was a man that planned ahead. He was a man who always thought of his wife, and lived every day loving her with his whole heart. And my Grandma, well, she’s pretty special herself, and she’s always been quite fond of chocolate.
Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. But he saw the hearts early, and thought of her. That’s how he rolled. Always kissing her hello and goodbye, clipping roses from their rosebush, and doing what he could, even when there was nothing more he could do.
My newsfeed, and my heart have been full lately, of people struggling and suffering. The prayer list is long. There is pain and sadness and worry. But within, there is also love, and gratitude and compassion.
Life is about balance.
I’d rather spread out the love to last all year. I’ve got plenty to share.
For it is with love alone that we hold each other up.
Love for those around us, and those who’ve gone before, motivates us.
Grandma is still “here” but many of you understand when I say I miss my grandparents. The love though, the love and the example they set is imprinted forever in my soul.
It is with Love and Gratitude that we find the strength to remain