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Seun Tuyo: Love Beyond Valentine’s Day



February is commonly regarded as the month of love, mainly because February 14 is Valentine’s Day. It is a day when people show love, affection and appreciation for the people they love or adore. These can be in form of a romantic getaway, presentation of gifts like flowers (particularly roses), chocolates, cakes, cards and/or jewelry. Others make marriage proposals or get married on that day. This tradition dates as far back as the 5th Century.

Last weekend was Valentine’s weekend and the whole fanfare of gifting and show of love happening around was overwhelming. Many beautiful pictures and heartwarming messages flooded the different social media platforms. I began to think, after today, what happens? Will some of these people have to wait another year to show or receive this type of love and affection? Hmm…

Although there is absolutely nothing wrong in celebrating Valentine’s Day a certain way (except for the extra pounds gained as a result excessive consumption of chocolates and cakes), we should not limit ourselves or forget to celebrate other days in the year with people we love. This love can be for your family or friends. It does not have to be the direct and cliché “once in a lifetime valentine blues” savoured with the public display of affection. It could be performed indirectly by offering good deeds in form of selfless service and charitable works to others as a contribution to making the world a better place for everyone.

For me, everyday is an opportunity to show someone love – whether you are romantically involved with them or not. Oftentimes we fail to show love either because the society has made it very daunting or out of our own negligence. With all the negativity and hatred going on around, it is so easy to believe that that is all there is. However, in the midst of these, there are tiny whispers of love and opportunities to express love every second of the day.

Love requires action; it is not a physical thing you can quantify or label on a shelf. It is an action you express outwardly to others through sharing and helping, consciously. You can only show love to the living, someone who is able to appreciate your actions.

Death doesn’t come for only persons of a specific age. No one, whether old or young, knows when he or she will be called home. If you have life, you can show love and appreciation to the next person when they can still value your contributions.

Funerals are held elaborately and some can be likened to a fanfare. From touching eulogies to beautiful wreaths and matching attires, we cannot even begin to describe the lavish meals and music blaring from speakers. The questions that come to mind are these: Does the person lying in the coffin know how much they meant to these people? Did they seize the numerous opportunities to show love and appreciation to them before it was too late? Did they eat the same meals that people share over their death while they were alive? Or can they even hear or read the heartwarming messages from these people?

Why not express love to them when they are alive and as soon as you feel the need to (not only once a year), that way, the tributes written at the funeral will not be something you wish they had known.

I subscribe to the newsletters by Tyler Perry, an American actor, and I received a very touching mail that read thus:

I haven’t visited my Mother’s grave since she died 6 years ago. I know some people may find that strange, but I don’t. I don’t feel the need to stand over stone and cold ground talking to her when I know she’s with me all the time. I don’t feel the need to bring flowers and lay them on a tomb when I gave her her flowers everyday when she was alive. She would always say to me, “give me my flowers while I can smell them” and smell them she did. I remember for the last few years of her life I had run out of birthday gift ideas.

I had given her everything I could. So, every year on her birthday I started sending her flowers. I mean, enough flowers to make the whole house smell like a rose. She would walk from flower to flower taking in the smell. February 12th is a very special day to me. So to help me celebrate it, can you show some love for the living today? Give flowers to the living today, and that may not mean a physical flower. It could mean to show kindness to someone, smile at someone, or make someone’s day by just showing up for them.

We tend to forget the difference one little action can make in the life of someone else. Every action, negative of positive, has the potential of producing a reaction – good or evil. Do not let the opportunity pass by – whether it is someone trying to get in front of you in traffic courteously, someone with genuine need for help or someone who needs some positive energy, one small action of love can bear forth a bigger action in return or be paid forward.

And so…

If you need to buy flowers and chocolates for someone, do not wait for Valentine’s Day, do it before the eulogy.

If you have the means to feed someone you care about in a certain way, do not wait for Valentine’s Day, do it before the eulogy.

If you have to share kind and heartfelt messages with someone, do not wait for Valentine’s Day, do it before the eulogy.

If you need to make an apology, do it before the eulogy.

Time is too precious for us to take the ones we love for granted.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Orangeline

Seun Tuyo is interested in social development. She loves to interact with people and has a desire to make a profound and positive impact around the world. She suffers moments of weaknesses at the sight of a cold bottle of Coca-cola and Chocolates. Feel free to reach her on twitter and instagram @seuntuyo.

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