— Relationships —

Love is Not a Hallmark Card

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Have you ever thought about how many times you use the word love? “I love this sweater,” or “I love that song.” While we can be “in like” with a song, it’s not the same kind of love as the deep physical and emotional feelings we have about another person. Plato said, “Love is a grave mental disease.” That statement seems better-suited to the front of a greeting card, with a sad Charlie Brown, waiting by the mailbox, hoping for a Valentine from the Little Red-Haired Girl.


All of us are hard-wired to want and need love. Even powerful women and gruff, arm’s-length men have a primal desire to be loved. Love makes us feel anchored and secure. Being loved goes hand in hand with how we see ourselves and how we develop mature relationships. Before I met James, I was in a relationship with a man who turned out to be a womanizer and a narcissist. As soon as I met his mother, everything fell into place.

When he was born, his oldest sibling was in college and the other a teenager. He’d been an accident, an embarrassment in a time when no one acknowledged that middle-aged people still had sex. It broke my heart to think of him growing up in that prim and proper New England house with a mother who was more concerned about what the neighbors thought, than loving her own child. While meeting her filled in a lot of the blanks, it eventually became clear that no amount of love would ever fill his empty well.

Today is Valentine’s Day, the time when we tell those around us we love them. Instead of buying a card you find at the checkout stand in the grocery store, what if you give your beloved something you’ve thought about and written in your own hand? For many of us, especially men, the thought of putting our feelings down on paper makes us uncomfortable and somehow vulnerable. Don’t worry about the wording. The real gift is that you took the time to write “I Love You” on a blank sheet of paper. And please, don’t even think about texting or emailing.

There’s something so powerful about a handwritten love letter, as opposed to hastily written digital characters that can be deleted. Indelible ink on a paper page makes us feel special, worthy of the time and thought it takes to write out our sentiments.

The best love letters James ever wrote me were the little notes he tucked into my lingerie drawer, my bathroom cabinet, or the note that tumbled into my lap when I pulled the sun visor down in my car. Lots of little notes, all year, aren’t written because the day dictates we should write them. They’re from the heart, and that makes them priceless.

Love, Brenda


  • Jan Hasak February 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    You must miss James very much. My ex-husband is getting remarried, so I won’t see love letters from him anymore. But I cherish the e-notes that my sons send me. They feel very much like personal love letters. I spent Valentine’s Day with a special girlfriend and we had more fun than you can possibly imagine. I feel very blessed and thank you for this beautiful post.

    • 1010 Park Place March 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Sweet Lady!!!
      Always love seeing you here, Facebook, anywhere! Your sons are loving and supportive. I remember how tough it was when you found yourself alone, especially when you needed him more than ever…. I feel sorry for the new Mrs… If he bailed on you when the going gets tough, he’ll bale on her. Yes, I will always miss James. I think he’s part of my DNA. Happy to hear you had a great day with a girlfriend. I think about you so often, and I talk to God about you frequently.

      • Jan Hasak March 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        Thank you so much, Brenda. You are also in my thoughts and prayers. Your talking to God about me has made a huge difference.

  • Mamavalveeta03 April 25, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I just saw this post…don’t know how I missed it! I love to find funny little “indi” cards. You know them. They’re definitely not in the Hallmark store, but rather, you’ll find them when you’re looking for a special cheese at a gourmet store, or at a quirky gift shop. I always write funny, sexy personal notes to him to make him laugh, or remind him that it will be just the two of us again, and soon!

    • 1010 Park Place June 11, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Smart girl. Loving wife! I know he appreciates those little intimate reminders. I miss those.

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