It was Valentine’s Day, and he was dismayed because he had nothing to give her. She had saved many beautiful cards from years past and hoped displaying an old one on the table would satisfy him. It did not.
His days of shopping were over, but he liked to sit on the bench by the door of the grocery store and wait while she gathered the things on her list. A friend happened by and asked if he needed anything. He did. When his wife returned with her cart full, he was holding her Valentine.
“He has always been a loving husband. He never forgets to say thank you,” she told me as we shared a pizza in their home.
I believed her.
I had watched them renew their vows on their 50th anniversary. She wore her wedding dress, and he looked as pleased that day as I’m sure he was the day they first exchanged those sacred promises.
I was beginning to think he would never get old; it happened over night. It became harder and harder for them to make it to church…and then, they couldn't.
It wasn’t right without them. The vast room changed; I wanted it put back the way it was. We all did.
The last time I saw him was on Valentine’s Day. I hoped the rose I brought for his lovely bride would be enough, that it would make him happy.
Soon after, they moved. The new house made it easier for her to care for him.
And today, he died.
“He led a long life,” we assured ourselves this morning. “He is with Jesus.” Those words are true and they comfort. But I’m thinking of her. It’s been over 60 years. How will she say goodbye to half of herself?
Then I remember. She knows a love greater than his. That love makes it possible to say, “Goodbye, for now.”
And one day, when her list has been gathered and her cart is full, he will be waiting by the door…a Valentine in his hand.