“I don’t know why you’re so excited about Valentine’s Day! Your husband is no longer around to send you flowers or buy you candy!” Beryl said with a great deal of contempt to her sister, Raisa.
“No, Taylor is no longer around, but why does there have to be someone to give me flowers or candy? Can’t I just enjoy the happiness on the faces of others who receive those things? I can even buy candy and other goodies for those around me to celebrate the day,” Raisa replied to the disapproving countenance of her elder sister.
“I don’t need you to buy me any goodies! My husband is buying me candy and flowers! I reminded him this morning and I also sent him a reminder email. And he’s taking me out to dinner. I made the reservations and told him not to be late coming home!” Beryl informed her with a shake of her shoulders and a great deal of satisfaction.
“Wonderful! I hope you both have a beautiful time,” Raisa replied with a smile.
“Humph!” Beryl said as she left the family room where she and Raisa sat with their mother, Martha, and father, William.
“Ain’t much to be happy about if you have to make somebody show how much they love you,” William commented to Beryl’s retreating back.
Raisa smiled but made no comment. She believed in love in all of its beautiful forms. Most of all she believed in God’s love as she had learned about at the spiritual center that she attended. She knew that the family didn’t understand why she wasn’t bitter and angry. Her wonderful husband of ten years had died just before Thanksgiving in the previous year of injuries sustained in the war in Afghanistan. She and Taylor had been together since tenth grade high school. They had married after college. She had began her career in Information Technology and Taylor had become a firefighter and emergency medical technician. They had decided to wait two or three years before starting a family. Taylor loved holidays, but he especially loved Valentine’s Day. He said that it was a time when he could shower he silly with flowers, candy, unlimited hugs and kisses. For the week leading up to the day, he would send her a red rose daily ending with three dozen red roses on the day. He would also send her small boxes of chocolates that she could share with her friends at work ending with a huge box of chocolates along with the flowers. Then he would take her out to dinner and dancing. She laughed when she thought about it. Taylor had been a horrible dancer, but the joy on his face as he did his own crazy gyrations on the dance floor made her laugh with joy and happiness.
She and Taylor loved attending services at their spiritual center. She sang in the choir and was sometimes the backup pianist. Taylor loved working with the adolescents and teens. They both attended classes and believed in God’s unlimited love. When two of his friends died in Afghanistan because there was a shortage of medics, he decided to enlist and go in as a medic. His decision had shocked her, but he assured her that he had counseled with their minister and prayed and meditated about it and was told to go. It was only supposed to be a two year enlistment. Her reaction ran a gambit of emotions from anger to fear to despair. However, she never questioned or doubted his love for her or his belief in the love of God. Still, she was fearful when he left to do his stint as a medic.
The day that she was notified of his injuries, she as afraid and terrified. She cried from anger and fear, she could hear Taylor’s voice in her head telling her to gather the prayer circle at their center to pray for them. She remembered screaming at God and questioning why. They still had so much life to live. They hadn’t had a chance to have a family or take their dream trip to Africa to explore their ancestry. Still, she went to their spiritual center where she was wrapped in love, support and unending prayers for their highest good.
Taylor came home, but there was two years of physical rehabilitation and then confinement to a wheelchair. Despite it all, Taylor never lost his belief in God’s love or his joy or his love for life. He never became bitter or angry. He went back to school, got a degree in psychology and devoted himself to working with other injured veterans. The first Valentine’s Day that he was in his wheelchair, he gave her roses, chocolates and took her out to dinner and dancing. When he took to the dance floor in his wheelchair, his maneuvers on the dance floor had everyone around them clapping with joy and joining in his antics. They had three more wonderful years before his injuries caused him to make his transition. She was there holding his hand till the end. She never questioned his love for her and he never questioned her love for him. She was pondering how she could celebrate his love for the day devoted to love.
The ringing of the doorbell made her jump and brought her out of her reverie.
“Get the door please Raisa,” her father said to her.
“Sure thing, Daddy,” she replied as she rose and walked to the door. Opening it, she found a young man dressed in the uniform of the premier florist shop in town.
“I have a delivery for Ms. Raisa Martin,” the young man said to her.
“I’m Raisa Martin,” she replied somewhat bewildered.
She had to catch her breath as he handed her three dozen red roses, a huge box of her favorite chocolates and a red envelope.
“Who?! What!?” she stammered in surprise and confusion as the young man walked away.
She walked back into the family room with her gifts to see surprise on the faces of her parents and her sister. She laid the gifts on the coffee table and opened her card. It read:
My dearest wife and love of my life,
I knew that I wouldn’t be here to celebrate our special day with you. I still wanted you to have these tokens of my never ending love for you. Never forget to smell the roses, enjoy the chocolates and dance a spin on the dance floor for me.
I’ll be here waiting when it’s your time to join me.
All My Love,
She felt tears in her eyes, but her heart was filled with love. She never questioned Taylor’s love and indeed God’s love was never in question for them both.