For years I've wanted to write the perfect column of love for Valentine's Day. After all, any good writer should be able to convey the meaning of love to his/her readers. But it's not so easy, my friends. I've been thinking about this Valentine's Day column for a several weeks now, and I don't mind telling you my mind has gone in so many different directions — which translates to a jumble of words in my head that don't add up to much.
But here's what's interesting ... As I've contemplated this column on love, many of the thoughts I had kept repeating themselves, and ironically enough, those returning thoughts nearly all brought tears to my eyes. Could those be the words that add up to love? Since they kept returning to me, I guess those thoughts are meant to be shared. It's the best I have ...
• My childhood and long-time friend, Cathy, lives in Nashville, Tenn. The last time I was there, it was time for me to leave, and the tears immediately began to roll down my cheeks, knowing it would be way too long before we would be together again. We parted, and for me, I was left with a handful of wonderful memories and the sadness of how long I knew it would be before we could spend time together again. Love? I think so.
• It was many years ago when the angels closed my grandparents' eyes. Once as a young teenager and again as a young adult, I remember the last time I saw them — peaceful, hands crossed on their chests, silent. Today when I reflect on those two days as well as their lives in general, the knot automatically forms in my throat, and the tears teeter on my eyelids. I think about the time we had together and yearn for just one more day. My heart aches for what they didn't have, and it rejoices for all they gave me. Love? I think so.
• The days my much younger family members were born — Jeff, Kim, Rebekah, Aaron and Kaitlynn — will always remain some of my favorite memories. I remember each day with clarity — the first time I saw their precious faces; the first time I held each of them; the way they smelled; the way they each instinctively grabbed my finger, holding on to someone who would cherish them forever. Love? I think so.
• I remember a day a few years ago when my mom's doctor told me about the serious surgery she was about to undergo. He cautioned me she may not survive. I'll never forget the moment, as I stared at him blankly and then had to re-enter my mom's hospital room and pretend like nothing was wrong. Fortunately, everything turned out OK, but that day, the doctor's words and the fear will forever live in my memory. Love? I think so.
• I've had quite a few pets in my life. Without exception, my animals have all been a huge part of my life. I can remember the days I brought each pet home, the days they took their last breath and everything in between. Love? I think so.
• My uncle was more like a brother to me. We spent countless years on the farm together, he and I. Greg was just 8 years older than me — young enough to understand me and old enough to look up to. When his untimely death occurred, a piece of each of my family members died too, knowing we would never be the same again. Love? I think so.
• A dear friend was told by a local doctor she might have cancer. After three long weeks of terror, the specialist delivered a "No cancer" diagnosis. We both cried in relief. Love? I think so.
When I think of love, the aforementioned items come to me repeatedly. Without exception, my eyes well up, and my heart does flip-flops. I didn't go looking for any of those scenarios. They all came to me. So do those things define love? I think so ... No, I'm absolutely sure of it.
Tonica News Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.