Of flowers, chocolate, and relationships on Valentine's Day

My cousin Carol died two days after Christmas 2019 after a long, agonizing battle with cancer.  We grew up together and then our lives went in different directions.  She became a nurse, a wife, a missionary to Equador, a mom.  Her first grandbaby was born just a few months after she went home to be with the Lord she faithfully loved and served.

Carol was one of the most gracious, loveliest, positive, gently strong souls I've known, loved ... and respected.  I felt blessed that in our 'older' years we were often able to re-connect at Camp in the summertime with what seemed to be a million of our closest relatives.

Her husband, Mark, wrote this piece this week and has very graciously allowed me to share it with you.

Trust me, you would have absolutely loved her, too.

"I don’t want to give her flowers, because I don't want to give her a heart attack!"

This was the mantra from Carol's dad about Carol's mom every time I bought flowers for Carol when we were dating.  But I knew that Carol’s mom loved flowers, she took extra care of Carol’s flower arrangements, making certain they were watered and the wilted petals removed.

I am pretty sure that Carol’s mom and dad had a silent agreement, save the money on flowers and bank it for the future.

But that being the case, there was no such limit with chocolate.   

I remember all kinds of chocolates in their house on holidays, and my wife’s love for the dark chocolate variety was a finely honed taste of the best that could be had within our budget.  She loved all things chocolate, whether it was triple chocolate cake, dark chocolate Dove hearts, or simple dark C bars from Aldi’s.

I liked having fresh flowers, roses preferred, in the house, and the best time to bring them home was when there was no reason to do so, no offence committed, and brought just to brighten the day. 

Thinking through the days lately and those coming up, I still think, “I need to get flowers,” but then I realize it isn't to be. 

My new normal is different now, but relationships still have great importance.

As I think about it, I realize that although I had lost one relationship, I have many others to celebrate and be thankful for.   And I can be thankful for my family, a good day, good health, and the energy I need to keep moving forward.

We celebrate relationships because we need them.  And those relationships need us.  Let us be thankful and grateful.  I encourage you to get un-busy, and celebrate your relationships.

Mark said it so very well.

'I realize that although I had lost one relationship, I have many others to celebrate and be thankful for.'

Maybe we best honor those we've lost by deeply cherishing the ones who are still here with us ... and letting them clearly know that they are loved.  


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