You think Valentines Day is not for you, you don’t think it…you know it. And in a world of fast in and out’s and where goodbye tears are more memorable than hello’s, it’s almost justifiable. Almost.
I’ve shared my opinion on Valentines Day several times before. I hold it very close to my heart, though not for romantic purposes. I’ve never celebrated a Valentines Day with a “significant other,” not with past boyfriends, not with my ex-husband, not with flings or possibilities. It was one of my stepfather’s favorite holidays; it was one that bonded us while I was growing up, and while life was getting tougher. For me, it was one of those days that I could always look forward to being filled with – no strings attached, no worries, no heartache - kind of love. But this Valentines Day is very different, in a much more evolved way.
We’re living in a time where connections are fragile, and our ability to nurture them relies heavily on our juggling skills. For some of us, our parents bought us Valentines cards to share with our classmates. For some of us, our parents were the ones that would write the names on the envelopes. And now those same parents are vanishing from those safe places we’ve taken for granted. And if they haven’t vanished, they’re on their way. Not to mention our friends, the ones under 40 years old we’ve been losing, painfully and unnecessarily. This year, one of our loved ones will be one of the estimated 1,665,540 diagnosed with cancer, and someone we know will be 1 of the 4 to succumb to it. And every single day 680 people die of Sudden Cardiac Death, half of them are under 65 years of age.
On our birthdays and those special occasions we often make promises to ourselves to breathe, relax, appreciate each other a little more. And we seldom follow through. Today is that day when we are allowed, without fear of rejection or abandonment, without embarrassment, we are allowed to tell ourselves, our friends, our parents, our loved ones… “I love you” ...and we’re allowed to mean it. And maybe my perspective is unique because of the love and loss I experienced way back when, he was taken far too early, before he or I had a chance to grow up, together or apart. Fast forward fifteen or so years and one marriage later, I find myself looking at everything differently. Looking with my heart, spine, and deepest part of my soul, because the man who is sharing his heart with me, and who I’m falling in love with, lost his beloved wife way too early, and right after committing to each other that they’d spend the rest of their long lives together. Yet, he’s shown me a level of resilience, strength and compassion that has me seeing with eyes of an adult, rather than that kid looking forward to the perfect day.
And of course, there are those friends, pets, family members, lovers, and companions whom we cherish and loved, and have lost because of circumstance, not death. It’s quite possible that circumstance can get in the way tomorrow, so today is the day of love. Today is that day to show the people we love, that we love them. It’s as simple as that. And if we honor that love today, what could get in our way of doing the same tomorrow?