Kim and I have discussed how difficult it is to say what the word “love” means. A verbal definition usually falls short. But in the winter of 2014, I found a way to define it.
We were living in Saline, where Kim was recuperating from one of her cancer surgeries. She was home from the hospital and pretty much stuck in the house because of the enormous pain and fatigue. She enjoyed sitting in the little nook we had built because it looked out to the back yard, where we could watch the squirrels and birds entertain us. We did not have a lot of birds, but the snow on the ground made the scene beautiful. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I decided to make it even more beautiful. The snow was good packing, so I made a snowman and adorned it with bird seed for the squirrels and birds. It worked! We were entertained.
I had found a way to express my love in a Valentine made of snow.
One ingredient of love, I think, is commitment, and I really committed myself to this task. I felt helpless in the face of Kim’s grueling and dispiriting slow recovery from her surgery. I could not help with that beyond fetching stuff for her, or sitting with her. But here was a project, for Kim, that I could throw myself into, body and soul. I loved that she was watching me do it, cheering me on and suggesting improvements. This frosty Valentine was, I believe, better than a poem.