Precious Valentine Memories
A Dozen Roses
My Eternal Valentine
Some Quiet Valentines
A Love Story
There’s a Valentine Waiting for You
May You Always Feel Loved
Happy Valentine's Day, Memories
The Valentines of Yesterday

Precious Valentine Memories

The lace has grown yellow with age. The edges are tattered and the glue that held the pieces together has long dried up, leaving only a slight stain on the faded red paper. It is much smaller than I remembered. Perhaps time has caused it to shrink. It seems so fragile, resting here in my palm. The words have nearly faded and even the heavy crayon marks have lost their luster over the years. There's a smudge of unknown origin on the back, near where the paper was rubbed dangerously thin by the uncounted erasure marks. The name is barely legible, the pencil lines so weak that only the mind can read the letters. .

I found it the other day, while doing one of those winter chores: cleaning closets. It's nearly 25 degrees below zero outside and it seemed like a good idea to clear away some of the trappings of a thousand years.

February is a middle-of-winter month and most of us have fewer choices in this month than in any other. For those of us here in the Great North, it is either shovel the walk or clean the closets, and it's warmer in the closet (although not by much!) So, armed with a dust rag, trash bag and the radio, I opened the door and slipped in...not really about what I might find. I thought I was just going to clean the closet.

But, that first box sent me spinning. I found things I hadn't even remembered I'd lost! I finally found the holiday gift bought for my sister last year and then so carefully had hid
away. I found snow boots and sand pails, a beach towel, three old paperbacks, a pile of magazines (all saved because I wanted to clip something "important"). 

I found shoelaces for shoes no longer "alive" and several other things that had once been alive. I found a half a chocolate-covered cherry and part of a deck of cards. It was quite a treasure box, filled with junk that once had had some meaning to someone, maybe even me.

I sorted though the coats and clothes, painfully aware that "someday" would probably not arrive in my life-time. The tooshort hemline and the too-small waist would not be mine
again. I packed those things away, mindless of the hours and the drifting snow outside the windows.

When I found the box of scrapbooks, I sat down, now that the closet had some actual floor space. I touched the bindings, not quite sure I possessed the courage required to
open the pages. The phone rang and forced me away from that decision. I left the closet and did not return until now.

That's when I found the old paper Valentine, tucked away between the pages of a life lived long ago. As I held that once sticky, but now only stained, piece of construction paper, I felt a connection with other valentines, in other lifetimes. I heard a whisper of another voice: my own mothers exclamation over my offered gift. It blended with my voice, speaking across the generations of children bringing home paper messages of love. OH! I had forgotten THAT.. .it had become lost in the pain of losing you.

It was a peaceful hour in that closet, listening to the sounds of my life, lived long ago and now remembered through the pages of the scrapbooks. I found my own laughter and that
of my friend, joining the laughter of my own children, seeking the laughter of tomorrow's bearers of paper hearts. Time does pass on. Generations of hearts have been delivered and received. Generations of love have been shared just as generations of hurt have been endured. It felt timeless in the if when I opened the door, the give of this Valentine would still be waiting!

Perhaps that is exactly what is happening, perhaps the engineers of all of our hurts and happiness are still waiting - waiting for us to claim that love and bring their light back
into being. There were so many years when I could not bear this exchanging of paper hearts! There were so many years when I counted FIRST what was missing, never realizing that in the measuring of my losses, I was truly losing what I did have.

The snow had drifted deep across the yard: only the tips of my flamingos' knit-capped, covered heads are visible in the white. But my vision has been cleared somewhat this afternoon by a visit in the closet where I found a memory that no length of time could fade. The lace is faded, the edges tattered, but the heart always remembers and through the
tears, the sounds of love given and received echo back to me.

So now, this little paper message from both my past and my future sits on my dresser, reminding me each morning to make room for the happy memories as well as the hard ones.

I had "lost" that Valentine form so long ago, but the bearer of that most precious gift of love has NOT been lost to me. Our loved ones die, but the love we share between us can
NEVER BE DESTROYED. Love continues past all change and becomes the memory trace that guides the human spirit. Love isn't enough, but without it, the world grows cold and frozen, and the sidewalks never get shoveled and the closets never get cleaned, and the memories get lost in the confusion of pain not healing.

Go find a Valentine, clean a closet, rummage through a drawer, search for some tangible evidence that, indeed, your love DID LIVE - and what a sweet treat that will be!

- by Darcle Sims
~lovingly lifted from Sunflower Chapter, Wichita, KS Feb

"Where there is love, there is life"

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I generally write a poem about our journey several times a year.  The other day I was listening to a talk radio show here in Denver and the host mentioned how his daughter is a little older now and this year he will buy her roses fon Valentines Day for the first time.  I thought to myself how much I would love to give Ashley roses again.  I began to think about roses, and then about Ashley, and then I just sat down and wrote a few lines that I am honored to share with my friends here.  I wish you all a gentle Valentines Day, this holiday of love always reminds me of how much we truly love all of our children.


Alan Pedersen

A Dozen Roses

If I had a dozen roses I know just what I’d do

I’d give each one a name that reminded me of you

The first rose I’d name sunshine cause you brighten everyday

The second would be beauty the kind that never goes away 

The third one would be priceless like those hugs you gave to me

I’d name the fourth rose silly oh how funny you could be

Rose five of course is patience something you have helped me find

The sixth rose I’d call memories the precious gift you left behind

The seventh and the eight rose would for sure be faith and grace

Nine would be unique because no one can take your place

The tenth rose well that’s easy I’d simply name it love

Eleven I’d call angel I know you’re watching from above

I’d think about that twelfth rose and I'd really take my time

After all these roses are for you my Valentine

I’m sending them to heaven in every color that I know

So number twelve I’ll name forever that’s how long I’ll love you so

By Alan Pedersen

I would like to share a poem that I wrote for my daughter, Marissa.  Marissa's birthday is Valentine's Day.  This birthday is most significant because this birthday is her seventh and Marissa lived just three and half years.  She is now gone from me as long as she was here.  I am finding this hurdle to be most difficult.  My heart, which I thought was as broken as could possibly be, is shattered once again.  Another difficult part of this time is that I feel the world has forgotten my child.  I was actually told that I "make myself feel this way."  It hurts.  Please allow me to share this poem in Marissa's memory.  Thank you for giving me this avenue to feel safe in remembering my daughter.  I miss you, Marissa! 

Marissa Gabrielle Myers 
February 14, 1995 - August 6, 1998 

My Eternal Valentine 

Today is your birthday, my sweet Valentine 
In my heart you now live, my soul you entwine 
For you came into my life and gave so much love 
Then you were beckoned to join all the Angels above 
I know that He called you, He called you by name 
"Marissa, come my child," as His Angels came 
They encircled you into their wings and cradled you near 
Your Eternal journey was begun, there was nothing to fear 
I know that Jesus himself greeted you as your spirit soared 
I know that you knew Him as your Savior, our Lord 
He gently welcomed you into His Heavenly Home 
A place for you He prepared, no need to roam 
I am certain that he calmed you, for I know you wanted to stay 
But the Lord, His Plan fulfilled, it was your Heaven's Day 
Though I ache for you here with me, My Darling Baby Girl 
I am consoled that you are mine not only of this world 
You are mine and mine alone, Eternally 
What greater Gift, my Lord give to me? 
Your birthday, I remember, though it brings tears 
Tears of Joy, Happiness, and Memories so dear 
I will never ever forget you, my precious Twinkle Star 
I need only look into my heart, my soul, for there you are 
And there you will Live on through my life and in the hereafter 
Marissa, your Love lives in me, you are my heart's laughter 
Happy Heavenly Birthday, sweet baby of mine 
You are mine forever, My Eternal Valentine 

Laurie Myers 

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Some Quiet Valentines

While watching an evening sunset

Fade in the western skies,

We know that when tomorrow dawns,

From the east the sun will rise.

Although it may be hidden

By veils hanging low,

We’re sure it will appear again

And we’ll feel its warming glow.

And so it is with life,

When seen through misty eyes,

When our world is suddenly dimmed

And we plead and ask those whys.

It is then we learn, ‘no man is an island,’

As someone wisely said,

As we travel life’s uncharted course

And by an unknown hand seem led.

To walk that path of sorrow,

Enduring life’s great loss,

But by chance or fate that someone’s

Path we are guided to cross.

That someone through kindness

In his or her way does impart,

A warmth and a tenderness

That so lifts a sad heart.

For it’s the depth of their smile

That lifts this sorrow of mine,

And by far they are best suited

To be our Valentine.

We may be someone’s Valentine

And never be aware,

In these caring, still-grieving hearts,

Our children’s love is there.

We’ve no choice but to continue

On life’s uncharted way,

And be thankful for those quiet friends

Who brighten up each day.

-From TCF Newsletter

Cleveland, OH

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A Love Story
Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, "Vanity, please help me!" "I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat." Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness, let me go with you." "Oh....Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way.

Love realizing how much he owed the elder and asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who helped me?" "It was Time," Knowledge answered. "Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?" Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."

Author Unknown 

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  --By Marilyn Heavilin TCF Redlands 

We are fast approaching Valentine's Day, filled with symbols of love ... hearts and roses. As a young schoolgirl, I can remember wishing I would get a valentine from someone special. My friends and I would count how many valentines we had received, feeling certain that the more you received, the more it indicated your popularity. 

 As I grew older, I was thrilled when I received flowers from that special someone. Surely this was, true love. As a married woman, Valentine's Day was always special. Glen and I usually went out to dinner, and I often received flowers or a special gift that said, I love you! While those gifts were much appreciated, I would be hard pressed now to tell you what we did or what I received. 

 However, one Valentine's Day will stay frozen in my memory forever, February 14, 1983. Glen took my arm and steadied me as I walked into a mortuary to view the body of our 17 year old son Nathan, who had been killed by a drunken driver on February 10. We had ordered a spray of seventeen red roses to be placed on his casket. When I ordered those flowers, I was stunned to discover how high priced roses are on
Valentine's Day! At first, I had decided I would be content with carnations. Then the florist saw in my eyes how much I wanted my last gift to my son to be the very best…red, long stemmed roses. The florist promised she would provide us with roses, regardless of how little we could afford to pay. 

That afternoon, I drank in every detail of my boy, his hair, the bruise on his face, the National Honor Society pin on his lapel, those wonderful, strong hands. Then I pulled myself together for a very special appointment. I was the Academic Counselor at Nathan's high school, and we had arranged a special viewing for the students prior to the general visitation. I watched as young girls brought beautiful bouquets of red roses they had received from their boyfriends, but now they were placing them below our son's casket. Their final act of  love for a very dear friend. 

It has taken me a long time to be able to actually celebrate Valentine's Day in a normal fashion. In fact, I guess I never will be able to do that. Valentine's Day is no longer a superficial type of holiday where I just send cards or give candy or flowers without much deliberation beforehand. The symbols are still there; I just see them differently now: 

THE ROSE: A symbol of love that cannot be separated by death. 

THE HEART: Broken, bruised, and bandaged, but not defeated. 

And now, there's one more symbol: 

The HAND: As we offer our hands to each other in friendship, in understanding, in strength, we are saying: 


May your Valentine's Day be filled with roses that will encourage your broken heart and give you strength to offer a helping hand to others who are grieving.

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There’s a Valentine Waiting for You 
By Mary Cleckley, Lawrenceville, GA 
Bereaved Parents USA 

There’s a valentine waiting for you, 
That’s different from all the others. 
It’s there every month at our meetings 
Of heartbroken fathers and mothers. 

Its envelope is made of caring 
The glue of understanding seals it tight. 
This non-judgmental group who’ve “been there” 
Help to take away your fear and fright. 

So, come join with us together, 
Read your loving message printed clear. 
In not only this month’s valentine, 
But all those throughout the year. 

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Red roses were her favorites, her name was also Rose. And every year her husband sent them, tied with pretty bows. 

The year he died, the roses were delivered to her door. The card said, "Be my Valentine," like all the years before. Each year he sent her roses, and the note would always say, "I love you even more this year, than last year on this day." "My love for you will always grow, with every passing year." She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear. She thought, he ordered roses in advance before this day. Her loving husband did not know, that he would pass away. He always liked to do things early, way before the time. Then, if he got too busy, everything would work out fine 

She trimmed the stems, and placed them in a very special vase. Then, sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face. She would sit for hours, in her husband's favorite chair. While staring at his picture, and the roses sitting there. 

A year went by, and it was hard to live without her mate. With loneliness and solitude, that had become her fate. Then, the very hour, as on Valentines before, The doorbell rang, and there were roses, sitting by her door. She brought the roses in, and then just looked at them in shock. Then,went to get the telephone, to call the florist shop. 

The owner answered, and she asked him, if he would explain, Why would someone do this to her, causing her such pain? "I know your husband passed away, more than a year ago," The owner said, "I knew you'd call, and you would want to know." "The flowers you received today, were paid for in advance." "Your husband always planned ahead, he left nothing to chance." "There is a standing order, that I have on file down here, And he has paid, well in advance, you'll get them every year. 

There also is another thing, that I think you should know, He wrote a special little card...he did this years ago." "Then, should ever, I find out that he's no longer here, That's the card...that should be sent, to you the following year."

She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard. Her fingers shaking, as she slowly reached to get the card. Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note. Then, as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote... "Hello my love, I know it's been a year since I've been gone, I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome."
"I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real. For if it was the other way, I know how I would feel. The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life. I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife." "You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need. I know it's only been a year, but please try not to grieve. I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears. That is why the roses will be sent to you for years." "When you get these roses, think of all the happiness, That we had together, and how both of us were blessed. I have always loved you and I know I always will. But, my love, you must go on, you have some living still." "Please...try to find happiness, while living out your days. I know it is not easy, but I hope you find some ways. 

The roses will come every year, and they will only stop, When your door's not answered, when the florist stops to knock." "He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out. But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt, To take the roses to the place, where I've instructed him, And place the roses where we are, together once again." 

Author unknown

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May You Always Feel Loved 

May you find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand. 

May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength
to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

Always know that there are those whose love and understanding will always be there, 
even when you feel most alone.

May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace.

May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile be yours every day of your life,
and may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.

Teach love to those who know hate, and let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

May the teaching of those you admire become part of you, so that you may call upon them.

Remember, those whose lives you have touched and who have touched yours 
are always a part of you, even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.

It is the content of the encounter that is more important than its' form.

May you not become too concerned with material matters, but instead place
immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

Realize that each person has limitless abilities, but each of us is different in our own way.

What you may feel you lack in one regard may be more than compensated for in another.

What you feel you lack in the present may become one of your strengths in the future.

May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.

May you always feel loved. 

Author Unknown

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Happy Valentine's Day, Mom and Dad!

I know I'm hard to live with --- messy, noisy, expensive and somewhat lazy, but....

anyone with a great mom and dad can't be all bad!

Hope you both have a great Valentines Day!

Love Chad


Cherish Our Memories....Jayne 
In Memory of my son Chad (5-21-72 - 9-3-96)

To Mom,

"For times change, friends come and go,
but a mother's love stays with us always."

Love you Mom,
from Chad

The Valentines of Yesterday

     In my lifetime I have received many Valentines.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, school friends, boyfriends, good friends, acquaintances and my husband have showered me over the years with lovely Valentines which I have so appreciated.  The tradition of declaring friendship and love on Valentine’s Day is a very fond memory. 

     However, the sweetest Valentines I have ever received are from my son.  From the first days in nursery school when my son made a hand plaque and a drawing on construction paper to the final Valentine in 2002, I have cherished these gifts of love from my only child.  I have kept every Valentine my son ever made for me or bought for me.  I have every Valentine gift he ever gave me.  These are the treasures that remind me how special a parent’s love truly is.  There is no love to compare with the unconditional love we give our children.  I think my son knew that nobody in the world would love him as much as his mother did.  Yet, he also knew that he would love his children in just this same way.  This unconditional parent’s love that we give our children is the most precious love in life.  It is always our hope that they, too, will find the joy of this love with their children.  

     When our child dies, we cling to our unconditional love as we feel the anguish of a final separation on this earthly plane and a tsunami of betrayal as the devastation of this incomprehensible loss sweeps over us.  The pain is real.  It is physical, emotional, psychological and forever embedded on our psyche.  Yet, without that unconditional love, there would be no pain.  Who among us would trade the most infinitely rewarding love and the subsequent pain of loss for a life of lukewarm relationships?  

     And so, as Valentine’s Day once again comes into my life, I will look back at this love, at the good times, the wonderful handmade childhood Valentine cards and gifts and the carefully selected cards of adulthood that my son gave to me.  His words, his love, his appreciation for all that we had shared as mother and child will be reflected in these treasures.  There will be tears, certainly, but these are tempered with the many wonderful, sweet memories of my son and his life.  It is these sweet memories which sustain me, give me hope, and bring me gratitude for all that was given to me.  My son is forever in my heart.  He is with me every day and every night, and especially, he is with me on Valentine’s Day.  

Annette Mennen Baldwin
TCF Katy, TX
In Memory of my son, Todd Mennen

My Favorite Valentine Memory

Our daughter, Wendy, was but 17 and her longtime boyfriend had broken up with her some weeks before.  She was feeling very lonely, unloved and had no self-esteem.  Valentine's day came (during a weekday) and she received so many cards, gifts, flowers, candy that we could barely get thru the door to enter the house.  She was so thrilled that so many thought of her and really cared.  They all had the same theme.  *It is about time you are done with that loser, would you like to be my friend, or would you like to go out with me-Be my valentine!*  It made our day to see her so loved so openly. 

Thanks for letting me open my memory box and take this one out!


Sharon (Wendy's mom)

A Valentine for You, Son 

I remember when you were so tiny that I could cradle you in my arms and watch you sleep - 
so oblivious to the world. 
When you awoke, you'd smile at me and curl all of your fingers around one of mine. And hold on so very tightly that I thought you'd never let go. 

Those same precious fingers curled themselves around my heart, too... 
and to this day, they have never let go. 

You will stay in my heart forever until I can hold you again in Heaven

Son, I Love and miss you so much...

In Memory of Keith Jones
June 28, 1974 - March 19, 1999

Requests for Valentine Day memories sent me back to a much lighter and carefree time, and especially a memory of the last Valentine's Day before Nina died. Chris and Nina had been dating for about a month. He was her first "real" boyfriend and she was "in love." Chris was a wonderful boy, just the kind that a mom would hope their precious daughter would find to share their heart with. She woke me up Valentine's Day morning, before she went to school, and with pleading eyes asked me to look for something for Chris for her. She didn't know he had bought her a gift and would be coming over after school to give to her and she wanted to have something for him as well.  She wanted glow-in-the-dark stars like she had on her ceiling in her bedroom. At that time, the only place you could find them was at Spencer's Gifts, only at the larger shopping malls, none of which were too close to our home.

Anyway, I began the search for the stars. Not exactly in my plans, I began looking for the stars. The first and second stars were totally out of them. The next store was about another 45-minute drive. I remember feeling really grumpy about all the time I had put into looking for those "stupid" stars!  I called the store and asked them to hold the last package for me. Altogether, I had spent about a half of a day in search of the special stars.  Looking at 
the clock, I soon realized I didn't have much time to get home so that Nina would have them before Chris came over.  I rushed home and got a speeding ticket on top of everything else!  I was pretty crabby by the time I pulled into our driveway!  I was ready to read my daughter the riot act and tell her what an "inconvenience" she had caused me by not thinking of doing this earlier! 

Nina was waiting for me in the kitchen. I handed her the bag with the stars in it and got ready to open my mouth...before I could say one word she wrapped her arms around me in a gigantic bear hug, thanked me profusely and apologized for waiting until the last minute, and told me that I was "the bestest mommy in the whole world."  She told me that "not many moms would do this for their kids, but hers was the best!"  She didn't give me time to 
chastise her, thank God! 

Chris came over that afternoon and they exchanged gifts. I can still see her come up the stairs, wearing a cherry-red turtleneck shirt with the embroidered Tweety-Bird (her favorite) on it, and a smile big enought to light all the heavens. "Mom, look at what Chris gave me!"  She hugged me again and thanked me for going the extra mile for her. 

That was just three months before she was killed by a drunk driver on my birthday. I am so thankful to have that last happy memory. It is one that I pull out of my memory bank when I need reassurance that, though I had my moments, I did try to be the "bestest mommy" that I could be. It really helps when I have those guilt-ridden days, that I think we all go through, when we blow out of proportion something we wish we hadn't done, even though we were 
just being normal parents. I will always remember that last Valentine's Day and my Nina's gloriously happy face, with a smile...and a tear. 

Cathy Seehuetter, TCF/St. Paul, MN

Christopher, My Little Valentine

As I read the Valentine Memory here tonight, it reminded me of Daniel's last Valentine's Day on earth which was 1998.  He is my youngest son and he was 18 then.  He had moved from my home in New Hampshire to Georgia with his Dad just a month before, on Jan.15.

A couple of years before, he had worked in the same convenience store/gas station as I did.  We didn't always work the same shifts so he naturally worked with all the other employees as well as me.  Everybody who used to work with my boys and me would make the comment that we all spoke 'Brocato language' - we were that close, that communication was sometimes accomplished with a word, phrase or look unlike the others that we worked with that might take a paragraph to get an idea across to them.

He called my work on that Valentine's Day but it was my night off.  The person who was working in the store part is a friend of ours and a mother of 4, the oldest 3 are the same ages as my 3 and they all went to school together.

He said that since I wasn't there he would talk to her instead and wished her a Happy Valentine's Day, he said that it was a good time to talk to people in your life that you care about.  They talked for 20 minutes.  He called me at home a little while later.  He said that he had spoken with Lou, since he forgot it was my night off.

It wasn't until the next night that Lou came into the store when I was working and told me about the call and how long they had talked.  She told me that he started and ended the conversation with a Happy Valentine's Day wish.  She was so touched that he didn't just say, OOPS and call me at home. She had tears in her eyes as she spoke of this.  Not one of her kids bothered to call her or send her a card or anything.  She said that Daniel made up for that and she told me how lucky I was to have him for a son.  I agree, I AM lucky that he IS my son.

Thank for letting me share this very 'warm fuzzy' memory.  This
particular memory just did me a world of good.

Sally Brocato

Now I must share my favorite valentine memory!  It is this year!  Yep, that's right - this year!
I was cleaning off the top of my refrigerator last week (for the first time since the accident) and what gift did I find?  Thank you Jesus!  A precious valentine from my bestest bud Tiffany!

February 14, 2000 - On the front of the hand made card (pink paper) she wrote:  Mom - just to let you know I do appreciate you!! ( heart balloon and heart flower drawn on front) 

Inside - 

Graceful, Beautiful, Like a fine wine.
 She walks the earth, My mommy, my

We are and will always be best buds!  Your the #1 Mom and best friend for the years 85-00!!
Love Ya Much,

(Many hearts exclamation points and it was really signed with a heart Ya, Tiffany)
On The Back -  Won't You Be My Valentine??

(she drew a butterfly and then her name (like a logo))

God is good!  I know he is!  I don't understand this world at all but I know I will in the end.
Much Love to you all and may God bless each of you with a precious little surprise you did not know you had.

Love In Christ,
Dawn Sisson
(Tiffany Marie Sisson 9/7/85-9/4/00)

The talk about Valentine Day memories in today's sharing really hit home for me.

This morning I tackled an activity I've kept putting off since our son, Lance, died in November 1999 - I decided to pack all the odds and ends in Lance's room into boxes.  As I handled all the things that had been important to him, I found it so emotional and the memories (and the tears) just overpowered me.  I picked up one of his favorite books, one I'd read to him a jillion times and saw something sticking out at the top like a bookmark.  I turned it over and it was a photograph that just clutched at my heart and reminded me again of all the joy Lance brought to us and others in his short life.

Lance was born with cerebral palsy and it affected his entire body.  But the glorious thing is that it never hampered his spirit or the happiness and joy with which he moved through the world.  The picture I found was taken the year Lance was selected as Valentine King at 
his school.  My wife, Beverly, and I went to the Valentine Ball that evening.  Lance was in a wheelchair and could not stand or walk.  But, oh how he wanted to dance like the others.  Finally, Bev and I took him out of his chair and held him under the arms as he "danced" 
with the Valentine Queen.  The look on his face was one I'll never forget - pure joy, pure delight, blazing with energy.  Lance stomped his feet up and down with the music, moved his arms back and forth and filled that room with laughter.  Of course, he didn't want to 
stop and we danced ruts in the floor before it was all over.  Beverly and I were worn out, but he was still raring to go with every song.  That evening is still one of my fondest memories among all those I treasure about Lance. 

I'm so glad we were willing to go through all that physical exertion to make it possible for him to dance.  I believe that if I could open a window to heaven right now, he'd still be dancing.   Thanks for letting me share.

Harold Hopkins
Remembering Lance Porter Hopkins, Jul 20, 1975 - Nov 30, 1999

Valentines Day Memories

The day began like all the others.  I spent the day at the office.  But wait!  It's now mid-afternoon and look who's getting off the elevator.  Here comes my son, Chip Whitley, and he is bringing his mother a very special token of his love on Valentines Day:   a cup 
filled with a Cookie Bouquet.  The cup has a picture of the Queen of Hearts on it.  How thoughtful!  Chip is always doing little things to make his mother feel very special. 

He spends a few minutes walking around the office visiting with several of my co-workers, joking and laughing with each.  He is such a delightful young man.  I am so proud when he drops by for a short visit. 

The day after, Saturday, is my day to let him know how much I love him.  I prepare a couple of his favorites:   Shrimp Creole for the main course and a heart-shaped Red Velvet Cake for dessert.  He comes for lunch.  He eats heartily and then takes his usual nap on the sofa 
following the meal.  We spend the afternoon together - Chip, his stepfather and me.  It's a good visit.  We all enjoy the fellowship together. 

Late afternoon, Chip leaves our house to take his special friend to dinner.  Sunday passes; then Monday.  Tuesday morning call him regarding a computer procedure at the office.  He is far more knowledgeable about computers than I will ever be. 

The minute he answers the phone I realize there is something really bad wrong with him.  When I ask, he simply states he thinks he has a stomach virus.  I leave the office immediately and go to him.  He and I talk, try to evaluate his situation and then I return to the office after assuring him I would return at the end of my work day. 

By late afternoon I have talked with my doctor's office and was advised to take him to a walk-in clinic for treatment.  Chip has been extremely healthy all his life and has not needed a doctor since he outgrew his pediatric physician's group.  However, by the time Iget back to him he is noticeably more ill than ever.  So I opt for an ambulance to take him to the nearest hospital emergency room. 

There is no question about his diagnosis:   diabetes (the silent killer).  The pancreas has been severely damaged.   We are not given any hope by the several doctors who work with him through the night and the next few days.  Then he's given a 50/50 chance.  At last, a thread of hope.  The next three weeks are an emotional rollercoaster.  Then suddenly - without any warning - Chip's blood pressure drops.  The doctors work frantically to find out why so they 
can treat him.  But they can't help him any more.  After three weeks, it's all over for Chip and his family. 

His brother and I spend the last 24 hours by his side in ICU as we watch, helplessly and painfully, as he "crosses over."  A young life  ended on earth.  Gone:  a young man with so much to offer.  A mother's son; a brother's brother. 

Valentine's Day Memories?  Yes, I have one:  the last special holiday spent with my loving son.  It was wonderful.  Little did I know this precious first-born child of mine would be gone from this world in only six weeks from that February 14, 1997. 

And, yes, I know about the price of roses during that time of year.   Very costly!  Even six weeks after Valentine's Day I paid dearly for the my regular florist to put four dozen red roses in a casket  spray.  It was beautiful; my love for Chip was wrapped into each  rose.  I am so grateful I was able to do this one last token of love  for him. 

And, now, like so many others, life for me has forever changed.  Valentine's Days come and go without much "to do" made of them because of the heartache I now feel.  So hard to deal with. 

I am so thankful I don't have to walk alone!  Thanks, Jayne, for all you do to make life more bearable for so many of us bereaved parents. 

Marie White

I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face.  Oh, how our memories are so  alike.  I hesitated to speak of my last Valentine's Day with Melanie for they are so bittersweet.

Melanie had just moved into an apartment, with her friend Amber, just barely a month before. 

In the years past, I have always tried to make Valentine's Day special for my four girls, creating special meals, little surprises and doing little things to make Valentine's Day special.

That last year I didn't do anything out of the ordinary except to surprise the older three girls, who all had to work that day, with their Valentine's Day Treasure at their work place.   I gave each of them a vase with three roses tied with a bow and a balloon, A stuffed animal stacked on top of two boxes of chocolates, one from me and one from their dad, wrapped in colored seran wrap and each tied with pink ribbon and of course there were the cards.  The essences of it all was having it delivered to their work place in front of the other employees.  They all three were delighted and the envy of some of the other workers.

Later, after work, Melanie came back to our house and spent the remainder of the day.  We ordered pizza, which Melanie ran to pick up, and later she too took a nap on our couch.  We jokingly teased her about being the "lump on the couch" again.  Before she moved out, and when ever her older sister Trinity used to come over,  Trinity used to tease Melanie about being the "lump on the sofa." Melanie used to tell her "to go home, that she didn't live there anymore" Now it was Melanie's turn to be told that "she didn't live here anymore to go home"

I also remember how Melanie looked that day curled on the sofa covered with her favorite blanket.  Yes, she still had her blanket, only now it wasn't a baby blanket but a full sized blanket which she had left at home and hadn't taken to her apartment.  When ever she would come over she would always seek out her blanket and would curl up with it to sleep or to watch tv.  She would have a fit if she knew I was telling this, but she still sucked her thumb.  I remember that last day she was curled up on the sofa with her head covered with the blanket.  I pulled the blanket down to have a peek and her thumb was in her mouth.  She looked so much like the little girl I once knew and not the young woman she had become.  I didn't bring attention to it and just pulled the blanket back over her head and left her to dream.  That memory will forever be etched in my mind.

Another thought that will always remain also is what Brittany told me, earlier that day, Mel had asked her "do you know where my blanket is?"  I had taken it down to the wash room to be washed where it was retrieved.  We burried a piece of that blanket, clutched in Melanie's hand like she always held it.

Mel spent the rest of the evening with us until about 9:00 that night when she left to re-turn to work.  She had promised a fellow worker that she would close for him so he could have the rest of the night off.  I remember she had gone to the bathroom to freshen up before leaving and I noticed she was wearing new slacks and had done something different with her hair.  I thought "how pretty she looked" and complemented her as she was on her way out the door. 

She returned later that night to drop off some things she had picked up for me and to borrow her Dad's truck for the night.  She came into my room to tell me good night.  She told me she would be back early in the morning to return Dad's truck before he went to work.  I remember telling her goodbye and that I loved her.  I also remember calling her back to tell her to be careful.  That was the last time we saw her.

She went home to change clothes again and left almost immediately to visit a friend.  She was less than a 1/4th of a mile from her own house when she wrecked.  We have no idea what caused her to wreck.

We too paid a pretty penny to have Melanie's favorite roses placed on her casket but I was determinded that she would have her roses.  Later, after the funeral, I was looking at the different flower arrangements and there was a dozen roses in a vase with a card that said, "Here are your dozen roses Mel." This intrigued me.  I had never known Melanie to wish for a dozen roses.   I later found out that at one time someone at McDonald's had recieved a whole dozen roses.  Melanie had commented that she wished "someone would give her a dozen roses." 

I always give my girls three roses at Valentine's Day, a bouquet of flowers for their birthday, send a corsage to them for special occasions such as graduation, dances, proms, give them a single rose for plays and performances but I had never given them a whole dozen before.  It never occurred to me and it is so expensive.  I wish I had though. 

Now I make sure she get's a dozen roses for Valentine's Day and another dozen for her birthday.

I still try to smile and make Valentine's Day special for my remaining girls, but it is so hard.  I would much rather spend it in bed but I just can't dissappoint my other girls, so I make do. 

Thank-you so much for sharing and letting me share.  You brought back a lot of memories of that day.

Kathy (Melanie's Mama) 

I remember my son, Ryan, getting the Hallmark "Kissing Bears" from his girlfriend, Ali, for Valentine's Day. He was so proud of those bears and always sat them on his bed just below his pillow.  Their little mouths were magnetized and would stick together in a kiss.
Ryan and I had this ongoing, fun-filled battle with those bears. Every time I came into his room to look for any extra laundry, I would pull the bears a part and just let them hug instead of kissing. I guess we'd had various talks about intimacy and being careful, etc., so I always changed the kiss to a hug. When Ryan would come in from school and see the bears hugging, he'd immediately change them so that they were kissing again. I'd see them and smile and then I'd change them back. One day, we were both in his room and the bears were kissing again. I said, "I keep fixing those bears so that they hug and somehow they always end up kissing again." He smiled and said, "I know, but they're supposed to kiss. They're kissing bears." After that,

I left the bears alone. What could it hurt? I knew he loved Ali with all his heart and hoped to marry her one day, but I also knew he wanted a college education first. I was just trying to keep him focused and just being a Mom.

A few months after Ryan was called to Heaven, Ali came over for a visit. Her visits are always hard because she still represents Ryan to me. When I see her, I expect to see him. Even my three year old will ask, "Where's Ry Ry?" whenever she sees Ali. It hurts so much. On this particular visit I went into Ryan's room and quickly brought out the kissing bears. I said,"I think Ryan would want you to keep these since you gave them to him."  She smiled with tears in her eyes. Then I told her about the fun we'd had changing them from kissing to hugging. She said she knew all about it because Ryan had told her. That made me feel proud. She went on to say that he talked about me a lot and said he loved talking to his Mom and could talk to me about anything. I'm so glad he felt this way. Oh, to have one of those talks again! 

I am missing Ryan so terribly. Thank you, Jayne, for asking about Valentine's memories. I didn't even know I had one until I started thinking about those bears that always sat on his bed. 

Hugs to all, Sharon (Ryan's Mom Forever XOXOXO)

8/21/84 - 8/4/02 

My last Valentine's Day with my daughter Julie was February 14, 2002 for she died on February 25, 2002.  Julie was a patient in the hospital on that Valentine's Day as she had had a seizure at home on February 9.  I remember my boss telling me it was time that I took a leave from work to stay with Julie so I was with her day and night.  I think he knew the time was near, but I did not want to believe that.. I had had so much faith for so long that she would beat this horrific disease of breast cancer that there was no way she was dying.. God wouldn't allow this. 

On that Valentine's Day I left the hospital in the morning and went to the mall to buy Valentine Day presents.  I had intended to buy flowers for all the nurses for Julie had such special and caring nurses.  I had no idea what I was going to get Julie as what could I possibly buy her.  She certainly did not need clothes or jewelry and in my search, I stopped at the perfume counter of the department store and found some Elizabeth Arden Green Tea lotion.  Julie had come upon green tea in her battle and always drank it.  I thought perhaps the lotion would be just as soothing to her.  I returned to the hospital with my arm full of flowers and balloons for the nurses and Julie and for those who had been sitting with her while I was gone.  I still remember giving Julie the lotion and her then saying in her soft voice that had become a part of her now, "Mom, would you put some on my legs?"  So while she sat in the chair, I sat on the floor and massaged that lotion into her legs and feet and arms.  She didn't want me to stop for it smelled so good and made her feel good.  She felt "pretty" she said..  So for over an hour I sat there with her and she and I talked as best as we could.. 

I will always remember that "green tea" lotion and in fact, I still have the jar in my bathroom and when I open it to smell it, I remember that last Valentine's Day with my daughter Julie. Now it has become the Julie lotion for as soon as I open the jar I can still see us sitting there. 

Like Marie said, Valentine's Day's come and go now, but they will never leave a memory like the last Valentine's Day with Julie and that "green tea"  How I miss her so.........


Every year for Valentine's Day I always bought my daughter Ashley and son Chris a large Chocolate Chip Heart Shaped Cookie with their names on it.

Last year was my first year I could only put Chris's name on it. It was so hard to buy the cookie and just have one of my children's name on it.

Just as with all the holiday's, my daughter's birthday and her angel date, these are all such sad times in my life now.

Ashley was born March 30, 1984 and her angel date is Oct. 27, 2002. She was passenger in her car and her boyfriend turned left and someone going over twice the speed limit ran into them. My little girl didn't have a chance.

I miss her so much every day and when special days come it's even harder to handle.

I will still buy the chocolate chip cookie for my son, to let him know he is special but we both know the meaning is not the same any more without our precious angel Ashley.

Sandy Lavender
mom of Angel Ashley Lauren Hull
3/30/1984 -10/27/2002

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