Embracing the Ritual of Valentine's Day Cards: A Journey of Love and Care

As a caregiver, I've learned that love can take many forms. Read about my experience of finding the perfect Valentine's Day card for my dying uncle and how it helped me understand the different ways people express their love for each other.

Embracing the Ritual of Valentine's Day Cards: A Journey of Love and Care
Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Day Cards... Witnessing my in-laws' unique dynamic, void of exchanged affection, has been enlightening. Cards and verbal expressions of love hold no significance for them. However, their mutual care is silently palpable, a quiet acceptance spanning years. It's a contrast to my own upbringing.

Throughout my parents' lives, their unwavering love radiated. Their actions left no doubt about their emotions for each other and for us. My mom consistently gifted my dad cards, and though his response wasn't always with a card, he made sure to offer her simple delights, often chocolate, a small testament of his affection. He reserved grand gestures for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas, treating Valentine's Day as the manufactured holiday it is.

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    My uncles too, upheld this tradition of love. They showered their mother with sweet Mother's Day and Valentine's cards, occasionally extending their sentiments to their sister. One uncle found joy in gifting his wife, indulging her with jewelry until the week before he passed away.

    As a caregiver, I've undertaken unforeseen responsibilities. I've been present for the final breaths of dear family members, attending to their needs in various ways. I've learned to administer injections, monitor vital signs, and provide care in diverse aspects. But the most challenging task was buying a Valentine's Day card for my ailing uncle to give to his wife.

    History of Valentine's Day

    For their entire journey together, he had never missed a card. Once, when she was away on Valentine's Day, he faxed her a card to ensure she had it on time. Aware that his time was limited, he desired to fulfill this gesture. Unable to leave his hospital bed, I embarked on the mission of finding the perfect card to convey his sentiments.

    Most cards emphasize "forever" – a love that "improves with time," a desire to "grow old together." Yet, these sentiments were heart-wrenching when "forever" was no longer an option. Reading those words, with the knowledge of his imminent passing, was gut-wrenching. It was a struggle to find a card that focused on the present, without promising an unrealizable future.

    Eventually, I discovered the right card, and he signed it himself. On Valentine's Day, amidst her own heartfelt card and the pendant he gifted her, he surprised her with his own card, the last thing she anticipated. It was a proud moment for him and for me – a last and cherished declaration of love.

    He passed away a week later. She confided that the card meant more to her than the jewelry. Even now, fifteen years after his passing, she cherishes it. As the 15th anniversary approaches, I'll travel 200 miles to stand by her side, ensuring she's not alone. It will be a time of introspection, shared between us.

    Do you have something special planned for your aging family member? Do you have a couple that are still in love even after decades of marriage? Please share here? Help others realize that they are not alone.Submit Your Caregiver Story
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