Valentine's Day 2012

Look what was waiting for me when I awakened on this Valentine Day's morning:


It would have been really, really nice if I had seen it!

I actually didn't notice the heart pictured above until today...the day after. However, since I have not touched the candy bowl since yesterday (and with no news reports of earthquakes in the HEARTland), I know it was a-waiting!

Actually, as I mentally retrace my steps, the candycane heart has been there since Monday...when I removed the final round mint from the bowl. I just didn't notice.

And, "take heart", we are not going down that path...

Many well-wishers told me that "time will get better."

I now know that for me, time was close onto four years. Oh, there was numbing in the second year, more in the third...but my return to "normal" took a bit longer.

Maybe the real confirmation was when I heard a song on the radio by Julie's favorite American Idol of 2006...4th place finisher, Chris Daughtry.

The song was "Life After You"...about a romantic break-up rather than death.

(Death doesn't play well on pop stations...although one that's being played, well, to death right now is If I Die Young by The Band Perry...about losing a child: "Whoever thought forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life.")


Back to Daughtry and Life After You...

...the kicker line being:

Although the song was released in late 2009, for some reason I didn't hear it until sometime last year. When nary a tear appeared, it was my epiphany that the "time heals" sages were right.

That said...

...this past week has been a bad one, almost like that first year.

The passing of Whitney Houston hit me particularly hard...

I wasn't expecting it to have that effect...hadn't even thought of Whitney in a couple of years. Got an album or two of hers, but haven't played them.

Truth be told, I was among the multitudes that simply shook their heads and turned away when she self-destructed. Oh, it wasn't on the same level as Michael Jackson...due to the differing nature of the "alleged" transgressions, but I simply "judged" and moved on.

But, when I heard of Whitney's death...

My mind flashed to her signature "cover" of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You"...and a split second later to her mostly panned movie with Kevin Costner "The Bodyguard".

Even as late as 1992 (release date for "The Bodyguard"), an interracial love story (especially featuring two megastars) was unusual. So for Julie and I, it was, well, special...critics be damned! (The casting of "beautiful" Whitney as Julie and "wooden" Kevin as Ronnie was perfect!)

So, when Whitney passed, I had a flashback...

...and wept.

To add to my misery, I received word this week that the mother of our mutual friend, Steve Dain, passed away. Steve lost his battle with cancer the same year as Julie...he on January 1st, Julie on October 19th.

As a friend noted this week, 2007 was a bad year.


...with rare exceptions, as The Beatles once noted, "It's getting better all the time."

I shall close with the link to Whitney's theme from "The Bodyguard"...

...a fitting farewell:

I Will Always Love You


As further proof of my "recovery"...

A couple or three years ago, I would have made an even bigger deal out of the candy-cane heart...citing the origin of those instruments of love everlasting, as obviously manipulated from on high.

Those candy canes were given to me by the ever-friendly receptionist at the Paducah branch of my hearing-impaired providers: