Wellness Wednesday: How Love Helps Us Survive

I was still the new girl in my fourth grade class at The English School in Bogotá when I gave valentine cards to all 20 kids. At recess, I saw Pedro, a Cuban boy, rip his card in half and grind it into the dust with his heel. 58 years later, the image remains burned into my memory, not because I liked Pedro but because it seemed like such a mean thing to do.

All we are looking for in this world, whether you’re the new girl or not, is kindness. An acknowledgment that we matter. Valentine’s Day gives us a reason to say so.

Pandemic Imposes Loneliness

The pandemic has imposed such loneliness on the world.

There’s been a sense of removal, loneliness and even depression because social interactions have been so limited.

Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, quoted by Rachel Wegner, USA Today/Nashville Tennessean

Companionship Eases the Pain

In Rachel Wegner’s recent article in USA Today and the Tennessean , she reported on an elderly couple who married mid-pandemic. Both husband and wife agreed they felt blessed to have each other.

Life with Florence is good, so I want to keep living.

86-year-old Rudy Saperstein, about his wife, Florence, age 89.

Love Carries Us Forward

Now comes Valentines Day, bringing us messages of love. Love, that most luxurious of connections, has the power to keep us afloat.

My daughter sat by my bed for hours when I was so sick in Amsterdam. My sister massaged my weak, dry hands. Together, they carried my husband forward until he could carry me back to America. Neighbors took over the watch. Therapists stepped in. Slowly, I regained myself, and my husband and I regained our lives. Life with each other is so good that we want to keep living.

I received a Valentine’s Day card from my cousin Jeanie in California the other day. She thanked me for my crazy-early 2020 Christmas card, one of the many I wrote to my extended Amerson family last fall. Jeanie said how glad she was that I’m healthy again, and that she hopes that we’ll come visit. That is a light at the end of the tunnel for us all. Never has a card seemed more important, including its printed message.

Just sending you a note to say you’re in my heart and thoughts, on Valentine’s Day — and every day.

Lynn Horrabin, Advocate-Art card for the American Heart Association.

Another cousin Jeanie in Minnesota wrote me a real letter last year in response to my brief card. It was lovely to hear from her. I met both Jeanies during a South Dakota family reunion many years ago. Today, I wonder if they were named after my Aunt Jeanie, who we lost last month. She seemed to have all the time in the world to hear what I had to say, and now I just miss hearing her words back to me.

Write to family. Write to friends. Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse, or just scribble a note on an index card and send it off. You never know who’ll write you back just when you needed it.