The store is bursting with activity. People stand in line arms overflowing with large red hearts and other love professing products.
I hear a young father in the isle next to me with his two young boys.
“I don’t wanna pick a card,” the boys protest. Obviously, turned off by tons of heart bearing I love you cards.
“You just gotta pick one,” says the frenzied dad. He is trying to catch them as they both head in opposite escape routes determined to flee the yucky ‘love’ isle of cards.
“It’s stupid,” the boys say in unison.
“It’s all stupid,” says the dad. “We gotta do it anyway.”
Of course, I can’t help but snicker.
I pass the flowers. They are red and glitter hearts hang from the vases while chocolates nestle between them. All I can think is how beautiful they are…how beautiful love is.
The past week I field calls and presents from family and friends. Their attention confuses me until I realize they are all rallying for Valentine’s Day. They worry for about me now that I have lost love.
Later in the day my phone rings. It’s my friend “Marla.”
“Why don’t you come over for dinner tomorrow,” she asks.
“I’m fine,” I say. “Don’t worry about me. The holidays don’t bother me. I am not sad or preoccupied.”
“Are you sure?” probes Marla.
“Yes,” I respond gratefully. “On the contrary, holidays have always represented joy to me and make me feel like a little kid again. When I saw the flowers today I actually stopped to take them in because they were that beautiful. They do not represent sadness to me at all. Instead, all I could think was what a great holiday. How can it be anything, but great to spread love?”
As Marla and I continue to chat I have an epiphany. I realize why I don’t find my now husbandless holidays sad.
I was not with someone who sent me flowers, brought me candy or wrote me love notes. The times that I did get those things they were an obligation. In fact, much like the two little protesting grocery store boys.
The flowers do not represent sadness to me because I have nearly no memories of any that carried love along with them.
I have not spent these years with someone who found the holidays an occasion to tell me that I was loved, I was special, I meant something to him and that I was worth taking the time to love.
This holiday just reinforces that I am heading in the right direction because how can it be anything, but great to spread love? I don’t want flowers, candy or cards. That is unless they are also carrying love along with them.
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