My parents recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary and I'm spending today arranging for their hospice care. Last year, my then boyfriend avoided the holiday and I remember walking in the rain to pick up some grub from a local restaurant. I ate at home, completely alone, wondering why I would choose to love a man who didn't quite appreciate me. He never deserved me. And there's a pun there: de-serve. He rarely operated in the "service" of love. In fact, he did me a great disservice.
But I'm none the worse for wear. There are greater forms of love. Pure love: love that is boundless and that makes your heart swell, having nothing to do with romance or sex.
So this year, on this day, at least, I'm quite happy to be single and celibate, because I am enduring one of the greatest unconditional loves a human can experience: helping two people you cherish deeply make an end of life transition. Yes, it sounds terribly sad, and it is, but there is also joy and dignity in your last days, just as there is joy and dignity when you begin your human journey out of the birth canal.
When I visit my mom at the skilled nursing facility, I sing to Funny Valentine and other tunes to her. I place my hand on her heart. Her heartbeat was the first sound I ever heard in the womb and it's music to my ears. The day it stops beating, her vibration and rhythm will still resonate within me.
And I'm sure my future husband will appreciate my capacity to love in this way. See you soon, my funny valentine. Laughter with a infinite dose of love is the best medicine to help us heal. What's keeping you, dear? I know that if I ever walk in the rain again, it will be while holding your hand and we'll frolic like kids.