A Single Red Rose

A single red rose can speak volumes. A dozen of the red roses are beautiful to be sure, but one single rose can say even more.

Valentines Day of 2001 was the last I was to spend with my husband,Alan. It was that day that the doctor told us that Alan probably had terminal cancer. Later on the way home, we stopped at our local grocery store to pick up a couple of items. While we were there, Alan bought a single red rose for me. For days, that rose thrived in it's vase lasting longer than I had ever seen a rose last. Then one day, I awoke to find it dropping over and I knew it's life was at an end. I cried when I saw it, feeling the similarity of that rose and my husband. I saved the rose petals in a little container.

The doctor's diagnosis was correct and on March 3rd, less than a month later, Alan went to be with the Lord. And I slowly began to try to pick up the pieces of my life.

Every year since then when Valentine's Day came around, I would feel an anger, a resentment. Even visiting web sites with Valentine motifs would irritate me. The inner part of me was screaming - "Sure, you can celebrate. You have a husband/boyfriend." It sounds so childish, but when you hurt you become a little child once again.

As Valentine's Day 2005 began to roll around, the old feeling came again. One day in Walmart as I passed by an aisle filled with fresh flowers on sale, the thought occurred to me to buy a single red rose and take it home. I put the idea in the back of my mind but it wouldn't go away. I did my shopping and at the last minute selected one very beautiful rose. Once home, I put it in a vase and set it on my dresser next to the small picture of Alan. I was surprised at the comfort and peace it gave me to see it there. I wasn't placing mystical value on it - that it was a gift sent from heaven from Alan. But I knew that if he were here, he would have bought one for me. I guess I was doing it for him.

One simple gesture and yet what a change of heart. As I looked at that rose, Valentine's day became a day when I could remember the love and laughter we shared. I could smile as I remembered the first flowers he ever gave me, the Valentine's day after we met. He had forgotten all about the day and was a day late getting them to me. They were a complete surprise and I cherished them.

I have no human husband here on earth to celebrate this Valentine's Day with. But I am blessed because I have a heavenly bridegroom, Jesus who has promised to care for me and love me even more than Alan could ever have done. I am thankful that Alan is with Jesus right now, out of pain and finally at peace.

My single red rose finally reminds me that I can celebrate life - on Valentine's Day and every other day of the year.


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