Today at the grocery store I had one of the typical parent/child arguments. You know, the one that goes: “But Mommy, I neeeeeeed to have this pink-and-white Valentine puppy because I already named him Marshmallow.” Through gritted teeth, I explained to my little cherub that, "No, we are not getting yet another stuffed animal to put into your room no longer to be seen after St. Patrick’s Day.” On the ride home, amid one of her best pouts, I rationally explained to her that she did not need this Valentine puppy and that there were better Valentines to give.
My sister-in-law’s cousin was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia a few weeks before Christmas. When he asked his doctors if he could delay treatment until after the holidays, he was told that if he waited just two weeks there would be nothing they could do to help him. He withstood six weeks of chemo at a Boston hospital and coded once during treatment. He is awaiting news on whether the cancer has been kicked back into remission and, if so, a bone-marrow transplant is in the near future.
Now, normally, this would be devastating news for any family, but considering that he is the father of two boys, ages 5 and 7, and that up until a few weeks before his diagnosis he was a seemingly healthy New Hampshire state policeman, his diagnosis seems that much worse. He’s on disability, and several other policemen have donated their vacation days and sick time, but that only barely covers the family’s expenses, which are further strained by the nearly daily trips his wife makes to Boston from Southern New Hampshire so that he does not have to face this fight alone. To make matters worse, their mortgage company upped their interest rate and, consequently, the monthly mortgage payment, his wife called to explain their situation. Several days later the mortgage company raised the newly increased rate even higher, saying that, now that they knew he had leukemia, he was even more of a risk. How about a Valentine for him and his family?
Consider the soldier from Holliston, Massachusetts, who returned from Iraq with several injuries and had difficulty finding a job that didn't involve having to stand for hours, aggravating his back injury. After several months of searching for work, he was in danger of losing his home. How about a Valentine for him and other soldiers like him, to say thank you for serving our country, thank you for making a personal sacrifice?
Or think about the thousands of elders who have no families and are living in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers across the country. A friend of my sister’s had a devastating stroke on Thanksgiving Day and ,with no family in the area, he spends most days alone in a rehabilitation center in New Hampshire. How about a Valentine that says, "You have not been forgotten"?