Today, February 15, marks the day a beautiful tradition started between Elaine and me. I don't even remember what year, but she sent me to the drug store the day after Valentine's day, and all the candy was on sale. I saw a 2.5 pound tub of candy hearts for 50 cents, and couldn't resist it. When I got home and showed her, she flippantly said "What are you going to do, write me a love letter with them?" and went upstairs. That's about all it takes for me, she gave me the idea and I did write her a love letter with candy hearts. Write a couple words, glue a heart on the paper, couple more words, another heart. . .I thought she'd get a laugh out of it and then forget it, but she thought it was the nicest thing she ever got. She showed it to everyone that came over, and couldn't stop talking about it. So every year after that, she got a love letter written in candy hearts.
On one level, it was just a cutesy little thing I did as a joke, but it became more than that. Elaine was someone that appreciated any little thing that anyone would do for her. I once was at the store and saw a magazine I thought she would like, and bought it for her. That was enough to bring her to tears. It also represented the life that we had together. We both did what we could to make each other happy. We got along so well because we both looked out for each other. Our lives were not our own. That's not too popular in this self-obsessed culture, but it worked. It worked marvelously. Every year, she knew she would get a love letter written in candy hearts, that was no surprise. But it was important to me to do this one little thing to let her know how much I loved her. Among the pictures and mementos of Elaine at her funeral, I brought a candy heart letter. I didn't want to show off what a good guy I was. I wanted to show how much she was loved, because she deserved to be loved and gave more than I was ever able to return to her.