Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day can be fun for some people and painful for others. If you’re in the midst of a budding romance or deeply in love with your soulmate of 30 years, it can be a sweet time of celebration. But if your Valentine has never shown up, your marriage is strained, or you have lost your spouse to divorce or death, the day is a vivid reminder of what you’re missing.
If you’re in the latter category, here are a few pointers for surviving Valentine’s Day. (You folks who are love-struck, don’t tune out, because some “sensitivity” tips for you will follow.)
My best friend from college, Kelly, is a two-time cancer survivor. Breast cancer first struck her at the young age of 31. Kelly was a mom of two small boys and a new missionary in Africa when she discovered a lump. The diagnosis changed the course of her family’s lives, as they had to leave their overseas post and move back to the United States for Kelly’s treatment.
The dreaded disease returned fourteen years later. This time, Kelly faced a much more aggressive treatment regimen, including a mastectomy and chemotherapy. The side effects of chemo decimated her, both physically and emotionally.
In God’s mercy, she eventually recovered and has now been cancer-free for eight years. Nevertheless, she understandably still battles anxiety when it’s time for her periodic checkups. She knows there’s always a chance the doctor could deliver bad news. Continue reading →
My dad’s world (and my family’s world) changed dramatically this month. It started with a phone message alerting me that dad wasn’t answering the door for his noon “Meals on Wheels” delivery. I wasn’t initially too concerned, because sometimes he doesn’t hear the doorbell. So I tried calling dad and left a message. Five minutes later I tried again. When another few minutes had elapsed, my anxiety began to rise. I called my cousin’s husband who lives around the corner from dad and asked him to check things out.
My relative called with an urgent tone in his voice moments later to let me know that he had found dad collapsed on the floor, unable to get up. Dad was still wearing his night clothes, so we estimated he had been there at least five hours. His “Life Line,” which would have detected the fall, was later found on his bathroom counter. Continue reading →