“Its heart is broken,” I say, to the woman at the counter, holding up a damaged box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. I buy it anyway. Plus ten Mozart chocolate balls. The shelves around me drip pink and red heart-shaped boxes and stuffed animals with bows. I hug my purchase and tell myself it’s “from Marika,” the daughter I loved so much that my heart broke when she died. On this holiday, one of her favorites, I will treat myself the way I treated her for twenty years; I will spoil myself.
For days I had listened with envy as my married and partnered friends yammered on about the jewels they got last year, the gifts they are expecting, and where they will be taken for dinner. I would not be receiving any bracelets or chocolate. No chance this year; the men in my life being my son, my cat, Anderson Cooper of CNN nightly news, and this picture I took of an ancient Mesopotamian genie at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that’s sat on my desk for months waiting to be photo-shopped. If I wanted Valentine’s Day to happen, I would have to give up my lost and lonely cover. I would have to become the angel with the arrow.
So I mailed out cheerful cards to my mother, my Aunt Bope and friends who, like me, don’t have Valentine dates this year. And I lined up a dinner and chick flick with a neighbor for evening of the 14th. Then, in honor of my chemo warriors, survivors and deceased, I donated blood. Listening to the special V-Day music mix on the CD my daughter had made, I photo-shopped Facebook valentines for friends and made a list for Friday the 14th:
Send mushy email shout-out to my son.
Light an online candle for my father.
Light real candle and drink port for the memory of his mother, my beloved Omi Rosie.
Post online valentines and good cheer.
I feel like the Valentine fairy. In this coldest winter, I flit around crazily looking for good cheer to pass on. This holiday is just a silly opportunity to send out some welcome sweetness and warmth. But someone somewhere said the best way to mend a broken heart is to keep giving love to others. I say it’s to remember that life ends but love can live forever.