The Forgotten Memory of Former Love

She would always come up to me at church and give me a big kiss. Sometimes it was during worship, just before I would go up to preach. “I love you, honey. Go get em!” Other times, she’d come find me after the service and tell me how proud of me she was. Then she’d put a big one on me. Her name is Miss Q, a precious widow, now 77.

A few years ago, she told me that she had been diagnosed with dementia. I hugged her, tears flowing down our faces. And then we prayed. These last years, she’s come to church every week with her caregiver as I’ve watched dementia slowly take her over. But today it finally happened. She didn’t know who I was. At all. After 15 years of knowing each other. I sat and talked with her, but I could see her soul staring into the distant land, searching for that ancient memory of Home. I would have kissed her cheek, but for the first time today, I thought it might have disturbed her. Who is this stranger anyway?

As I walked away, it hit me: I love someone who can’t remember that she loves me.

I sat with that for a good while. And then it occurred to me that Valentine’s Day can be so hard for so many people for these very same reasons.

There are those of you who long to share this day with someone. You’ve lived well and done your part and trusted the Lord. But it just feels like a blank stare coming back at you. There are those of you who feel like you are the forgotten memory of someone’s former love. You have been betrayed and abandoned, moved on from. And others of you have been bereaved. The person with whom you shared love has entered eternal Love. Their heavenly gain is primarily experienced as your loss, especially on days like this.

And so, I thought I’d take the risk of naming it so that I can name the deeper truth at the rock bottom of it all. Which is that you are not forgotten. You are valuable. You are important. The world is better because you are in it. And you are loved, today and every day.

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