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Jennifer Lang: What Valentine’s Day means to me

Today, as I look at Jim’s photograph and realize that he is no longer with me, I know that I was very lucky to have someone love me unconditionally and for what I was. I would have been like a boat adrift in high seas without Jim in my life. I thank my lucky stars that I got an opportunity to love and be loved. It is a wonderful feeling, a feeling that I can still hold onto and spread it around. I want people to understand that love is beautiful. It is fulfilling, satisfying and does not expect you to stand to ceremony. Simple things in life can reveal the depth of love and romance that you share with a person.

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It all happened several years ago when Jim and I were still young and didn’t have too much money. We had just finished college and had started out with our new jobs. Money was tight and luxuries were few. However, we were perhaps the happiest couple in the universe. We loved each other and couldn’t live without one another. In fact, we were inseparable from childhood. We knew that if we had one another, we would be able to come any hardship life threw at us.

With not too much money to spare, that particular Valentine’s Day is etched in my memory. We had decided to go to a Amato’s for a meal to celebrate this day. It may sound kitschy, but that was all we could afford. We carried our Amato’s Original to a secluded table at the corner of the seating area.

7As Jim took the first bite from the sandwich, very tentatively I announced that I had taken a home pregnancy test that morning. I knew that we were not ready to start a family because of our finances.

So I was worried about Jim’s reaction. I expected him to get angry, not at me but at the situation we had managed to get ourselves in. Instead Jim smiled with elation and joy. He was thrilled that our love was bearing fruits. He dropped his sandwich and immediately came to me. He lifted me off the chair and swung me around. He screamed with sheer joy and elation. He had tears in his eyes.

People around us stared and then smiled. It was Valentine’s Day after all!

He said that he couldn’t have gotten a better gift on this day and he claimed till his dying breath that it was the most special Valentine’s Day of his life. Our romantic meal at Amato’s and the way I announced the arrival of Jay-Gabriel (that is what we named our son) always held a special meaning to us. It was a day when we celebrated love and also celebrated the beginning of a new life. We had finally become a family and that is what love is all about, isn’t it? Having a family to love and cherish all your life.

Thereafter, every Valentine’s Day was special for us. We used it as an opportunity to celebrate our love and family. It was a day that we kept aside for the family and made sure that Jay-Gabriel was part all the celebrations and plans we made. After all, he helped Jim and I become closer than we thought it was possible. Jay-Gabriel also learned to appreciate love and the people who love him. Today, he is passing on this message to his family and kids. Love truly stays eternal and burns brightly forever.

Jennifer Lang, 56, Portland/Maine

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