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Reflections February 2018

Just Sayin’

Mama and Her Chocolate Box of Valentines

By Lynn Gendusa

I am in awe of those that marry and stay together until they depart this earth. They are held together like the old glue that was used on those cards. They forge memories and their lives become intertwined into one.

When Valentine's Day is over, we will have written our names under the word Love, and moved on toward the next day. The cards will be tossed – r possibly saved if one is extremely special. Some tender hearts will keep them all and reflect on a day when someone cared enough to send Hallmark.

My mother left me a Whitman's Sampler chocolate box from the 1950s. The chocolate is long gone but what remains is a treasure trove of memories.

She had saved her Valentine cards from her childhood. There must be more than 100 in the yellow box that were signed in the early 1920s. Some are decorated intricately with lace and art while others are cute, cherub faces riding horses and holding bouquets of roses.

They are signed by friends and family that include Madge, Virginia, Lester, Helen, Mary Ruth, Junior, and, of course, James Robbins.

I think my mother and James Robbins wound up having a special relationship at one time, but then Mama fell for Daddy and James became romantic history.

We buried Mama in Monterey, Tennessee, on July 1, 2010. Ironically, or as it should be, it was my dad's birthday. We all knew Daddy got a mighty fine present that day in heaven.I was standing near the front porch of the funeral home where we were to have the service. The bright sunshine mixed with cool mountain air refreshed my soul. The perfect day for Mama to be laid to rest beside Daddy in the little town where she was born.

A man approached me, took my hand tenderly, and said, "Lynn, I am James Robbins, an old friend of your mother. She was a very special lady."

I covered my other hand with his and said, "I know who you are, Mr. Robbins, and she thought you special too."

I think Mama would have been proud of me for that.

James died two years later at the age of 92. His little cards are in the chocolate box that he wrote to her when he was 5.

I am in awe of those that marry and stay together until they depart this earth. They are held together like the old glue that was used on those cards. They forge memories and their lives become intertwined into one.

They have braved the harsh elements of marriage and of love. They made it work.

I was fortunate to be raised by parents that did truly love one another. Did they hurt each other? Sure.

Don't we all. But, did the love survive? Until the day they died.

Love is a mighty complex component in our lives. Hate is easier than love. Love can break you or make you. There are all different types and all different ways to show our love.

I have known so many that love has broken. They fell in love and lost. The resentment and heartache left them unable to love again out of the sheer fear of losing. For them, love became a problem instead of a blessing.

I can understand that. A broken heart has no medicine for the pain. It is slow to heal and when it does, it leaves scars that can act up at times. Broken hearts can cause a broken soul and can make you sicker than you ever thought you could be.

The best cure for a broken heart is the very thing that broke it – love.

There are many people who are content to live without a mate. However, they still love. They love God, their family and friends, and they love life. If they ever did have a broken heart they have turned the corner and loved fully what is in their lives.

I know one thing for sure, when I look back on it, I met some mighty fine people while giving my heart away to them. I wouldn't take anything for that.

My first husband met a wonderful woman who makes him happy and that makes me happy. We were young when we married and we were still young when we waved goodbye.

It would be 20 years later before I married again, but I did find love a time or two along the way and lost it as well.

I have stayed friends with some who broke my heart simply because they were worth it. I think that might be love in its finest form.

I am grateful for the few scars in my heart. God made me who I am to be humbled enough to write it down. I feel compassion and have learned that any love is to never be taken for granted. I am compelled to reach out to another and tell them broken hearts do heal and love can continue in a thousand ways.

We carry lost love with us always. It is important to not continue to cry, but to smile at the best memories of it. James Robbins did just that 85 years after sending a very special lady that first Valentine.


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