Of all the Heart & Soul newspaper columns and radio commentaries I penned on the subject of love during my 15-year career, the one you are about to read is my absolute favorite.
It’s about a story told to me by my friend, Barbara Polasik, a very special lady I met upon moving to the Town of Eden, NY in 1995, as I was starting over in my post-divorce life.
Barbara first shared her story as part of our conversation about, of all things, junk drawers. However, by the time she was done telling her tale, I was teary-eyed and she was glowing with an aura of love.
A few years later, I wrote about Barbara’s story in my Heart & Soul newspaper column and it became so popular with readers that it was eventually included in a Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul Anthology. I’m sharing it today, on Valentine’s Day, in memory of my friend, Barbara, who passed in 2017, and in honor of the special marriage she shared with her husband, Dick.
Thank you, my friend, for teaching me that true love does exist, and providing hope that it can happen.
There’s a moment in the Disney classic, “Cinderella” when the ragamuffin heroine lays claim to her wayward glass slipper and Prince Charming adoringly sweeps her into his arms and waltzes her away. It’s a scene that draws longing sighs from every woman who watches it.
Romance. That’s what it’s all about.
I’ve often wondered how that intangible “true love” ideal makes the leap from celluloid to reality. I know it can happen. I’ve been around couples who have been married for decades and still glow as they sit side-by-side, hands lovingly intertwined.
However, as a child of divorce and a divorcee myself, I also know that the course of true love never runs smooth. In fact, “rocky road” might better entitle the majority of marriages I’ve known throughout my life.
Yet last week a friend of mine shared a little secret—a tale of love that brought tears to my eyes and, I must admit, a little envy to my heart.
Her story wasn’t about the latest piece of jewelry that her adoring spouse had purchased or the gorgeous flowers he’d recently sent.
For you see this lady’s husband passed away two years ago, just short of their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Now at the age of seventy, this special woman is alone, but thanks to her lifelong sweetheart, never lonely. Here’s why.
Tucked away in drawers and cabinets throughout my friend’s home are love notes, scripted by her husband. Each carries with it endearments that he crafted for her and then hid away as romantic surprises during the course of their marriage.
Over the years, she saved her husband’s sweet inscriptions, often leaving them in their original hiding places—his loving sentiments playing anew with each re-discovery.
Now that he is gone, my friend’s life is a daily challenge of loving memories and sad yearning for this romantic man with whom she shared almost half a century of life.
Yet in her indomitable way, she is continuing on with determination and enthusiasm. She is healthy and strong and lives each day with an interest in the world around her. She is also surrounded by family and friends who support her and a community where she is acknowledged and respected.
Most of all, my friend endures with the inner sense that she is loved, truly and totally. And anytime she thinks otherwise, all she has to do is open a kitchen drawer or look in her bedroom nightstand and find a love note to remind her.
But you know, somehow, I’m pretty sure she already knows.