THERE was no traffic, at all, on the way there. I had been warned not to go. Traffic will be terrible, I was told. I went anyway. I didn’t think anyone would be headed to the hospital on Valentine’s Day.
Every year, the world erupts into a commercial frenzy on Valentine’s Day. Well, not just on this day but on all the other milestones of the year that we have been programmed since birth by popular culture to celebrate, not just with love but with gifts we’ve been brainwashed to believe, signify love.
I’m all for love. I know it’s hard to believe. But just take my word for it. I think it’s only right that we set aside a special day to celebrate love because often, we need reminding that we love and are loved.
But as we lament not getting the “right gift,” the “perfect date” or the “right love” or as we ruminate over our less-than-perfect lives, does it ever cross our minds that there are so many others who do not have the luxury of mulling over a less than perfect romance?
Who says they do not love as we do? Perhaps they love more but they do not celebrate the day as we do.
Some have lost loved ones and find this day, a little hard to bear. Some have loved ones so far away, it hurts. Some have loved ones who no longer love them. Some have hearts broken and simply do not want to be reminded of their brokenness on this day.
More than anything else, some lie in their hospital beds, cold, alone and dying—as the rest of the world erupts in euphoria to celebrate love on this day.
Let’s celebrate love but as we bask in our joy, let us remember those who cannot.
To the selfless men and women who chose the high road by showing up for work instead of coming up with some lame excuse to skip work on Valentine’s Day, I salute you. To the good doctors, nurses, hospital staff and personnel who chose to stay to serve those who lay in pain, in distress and in loneliness in their hospital beds, thank you.
Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your love. Yes. Love. Though not as we know it. At least, not on Valentine’s Day.
Know that as you took a rain check on a Valentine date because you needed to show up for work or come to the aid of someone in need, you gave love. You may have missed making someone feel giddy. But you did not miss making someone feel loved.
Within the cold, sterile corridors of a hospital where sometimes, all hope seems lost—the kind words or the gentle touch of a friend, a family member or a healthcare professional means the world.
There was no traffic, at all, on Valentine’s Day. At least, there was none where I was headed to.
You didn’t have to come, you know.
I know. But I wanted to. That’s what I wanted to say but didn’t.
I went because after all these years, I think I finally understand love.