A Valentine to all my lovers, ever

There was the lover who wrapped me in grape vines, another who sent me poems written in his blood, another ran with me in large intertwining circles in the cold of winter in a Tennessee valley under a full moon, another made me dinners and cleaned up afterwards. Even swept the floor.

Then, there was the husband who after 18 years of more or less ignoring Valentine’s Day changed his pattern and reserved the best table at a French restaurant and had roses waiting. I found out six months later he was living a separate life with another woman and apartments in Beijing and San Francisco.

And, there was the husband who was violent, and the one who brought a custody suit against me. These are three different men. Each injured me, and each has been overcome, and each taught me that love is too precious to be thrown out because some people aren’t good at it.

As a woman of a certain age, romance still matters, more precious than ever. Catastrophes still bruise but less than before – and my women friends are pros at care and tending.

I have had a pendulum swing towards where I forgive flaws knowing that otherwise there would be no one in my life, and “forgive” is not the right word because it implies I hold a balance to determine good and evil, and I do not. Life is an unfolding story, not a legal case. No one doesn’t mess up, even as some mistakes are inexcusable. And the people who did inexcusable things maybe shouldn’t be in your life or mine but we can get on with our lives because we are terrific.

I have had a pendulum swing towards where being loved is a gift that thrills me as an aurora would thrill me, as chocolate truffles thrill me, as Maria Calos thrills me. Love is our natural condition, but it is still a gift. We could have all been reptiles and missed out on love.

Love is the light. Love is when someone touches your lips and you are suddenly no longer in the nitty-gritty of life, death, and taxes. Love is when your grandchild says almost anything and your heart dances. Love is tending your parents when they forget your name. Love is why we keep going.

To all my lovers, ever, and I’m sorry if I don’t remember your name – being in my twenties during the sexual revolution means I can never run for public office – to all my lovers, ever, some of you were good and some of you were not so good, some of you I think about and some I don’t, some of you were older and some of you were younger, some of you were poetic and some of you were not, some of you were rich and some of you were poor. To all my lovers, ever, I wish you to be loved well, even superbly, this Valentine’s, with or without grape vines, but surely with a sharing of household chores and a cleaning up after meals.

7 thoughts on “A Valentine to all my lovers, ever

  1. Definitely approaching super-human – or maybe just fully human. Bless you, dear, dear sweet P, & thank you.

  2. After reading your blog this Valentine’s Day, I felt a dearth of experience, and now, upon reflection, I value the love I have experienced with my husband of 45 years (Anniversary Feb 22nd, 2014) and my children, my relatives, my friends, and even strangers! Love is such a great experience wherever you find it!

  3. Dear Patricia: Thanks for sharing your thoughts uninhibited. In some sense, your post reminds me of the love for life itself and how it need not be limited. For some reason I have always loved ideas, art forms and scientific principles much more than I can ever love a person. And even with the people I love, it’s always been an overarching love rather than something that’s limited to physical attraction and the like.

    What Tennyson wrote about the Brook, might as well apply to Love:
    “For men may come and men may go, but I go on for ever.”


    • Thank you, Hari. It’s baffling that so many powerful feelings are expressed (limited?) by one word: love. Surely the variations of love are as important to all humans as variations of snow are to the Eskimos. Or perhaps love is such an encompassing eternal “thing” that to have different words only slices it up into pieces. Your thoughts?


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