mark-neliaAnd did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

“Late Fragment” by Raymond Carver  From A New Path to the Waterfall, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989.

Mark first shared this poem with me when we began dating back in 2001, and it quickly became a meaningful part of our everyday lives.  Mark is a great fan of Raymond Carver and I looked forward to hearing him sharing his favorite poems and passages from Carver’s books. In fact, this poem was also included as part of our wedding invitations back in 2006.   

Yes, I married a romantic, someone who is happiest when he is “in love”. Mark sees the world as it is, sometimes very cruel and at other times with rose-colored glasses. But the importance of love remains a fundamental part of our life together.

So here we are a couple celebrating 18 years together, which includes 18 Valentine's Days, and every year we say the same thing—“just a card please” and the pleasure of each other’s company. In all our years together, I don’t ever recall getting flowers/roses on Valentine’s Day.  However, many times throughout the year I will find a single rose hidden somewhere in our home, “just because,” he says. And I have become the envy of my colleagues when I travel because there is always a loving card and a bag of treats hidden in my luggage.

How fortunate are we that he found me to love and that I found him to love?

The diagnosis of SLL/CLL back in 2010 completely shook our lives to the core and we have been asked many times how we managed to navigate and remain as connected as we have.  We were so fortunate to have this connection with one another from the very beginning, and it is that foundation which has helped us navigate together through this cancer experience with an even more heightened sense of the love we have for one another.  We understand that the love we share is special to us and we work very hard in not taking it for granted.

We always joke that if we must wait for one day out of the year to declare our love then we are in trouble, LOL.  So, on this Valentine's Day, I hope those of you who have a loved one in your life challenge yourselves to not wait for February 14 to declare your love. Perhaps this year try to take the complete month of February, if not every month to honor one another—because in this world of cancer there is so much we can’t control, however how and when you choose to express love is still under your control. 

Thank you, 

Nelia Pacheco
Care Partner

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.