We’re in that period hurtling up to Valentine’s Day. The shops are full of pink champagne and sickly boxes of chocs and jewellers are in overdrive. Never been a fan of the fourteenth of February myself. Always seen it as a ruthless commercial gesture to charge a fortune for a dinner reservation for two or to make singles feel lonely. This year I feel a bit differently though.
Last month I found out that a dear friend had lost her battle against cancer. She’d fought it with her customary bolshiness and made the absolute most of her last few months with her loved ones. When I got the news, my first thought was – ‘I meant to phone to see how she was this week.’ In all the time I knew her, I never told her how much her friendship meant to me, or how I admired her as a fellow professional.
Do we tell those around us that we love them? Or does life get in the way? Do we need to wait until one day each year to demonstrate our love for our partners, children, friends? To my shame, I tell my dog I love him far more than I do my husband! Suffering from The Great British Reserve, I’m happier showing my affection by cooking a favourite meal or dropping a funny card in the post. My other half is currently trying to rid my beloved but creaky old Dell of a very nasty and insidious virus. He’s showing his love!
In a recent BBC3 documentary, ‘I Believe in Miracles’ Jodie Kidd was told the secret to miracles is love. That’s what made an autistic child communicate. That’s what cured a woman of ovarian cancer. Sadly, love couldn’t provide a miracle for my friend but there’s no harm in spreading some around. It’s a powerful force!
So, perhaps, instead of moaning about the commercial exploitation and forced sentimentality of Valentine’s Day, those amongst us who find it difficult to express love to our nearest and dearest, should take the opportunity to embrace them – and it – padded pink heart shaped cards and all. So get out the chocolates, the pink fizz, and the frothy sentimentality and go for it!
Or, even better, do it today. Tomorrow might be too late.