Love takes many forms. It’s true that February 14, Valentine’s Day, has become a major consumer holiday for romance and roses, cute little Valentines exchanged at school, oversized cards with silly sentiments, and the most popular day of the year for chocolates and marriage proposals.
But at its heart, Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love. That pink or red symbol represents a physical heart from which, mysteriously, love springs. The origin of Valentine’s Day is said to date back to Saint Valentine, a priest in 3rd century Rome who defied the emperor by secretly performing forbidden marriages for young Roman soldiers. (That’s one theory, anyway.)
With the heart as the symbol of Valentine’s Day, it made sense for the American Heart Association to borrow the symbolism to bring awareness to heart health; hence, American Heart Month. Two stories in this week’s issue focus on two special ladies who have survived heart attacks but also are well acquainted with the subject of love – not romantic love, necessarily – but the type of love that has given them the will to survive.
Brenda Adams suffered her first heart attack in May 1995 at the age of 53. Brenda’s love for people, ducks and geese are what keep her going today after almost losing her life to pneumonia and congestive heart failure last year.
Elaine Sanderson suffered a heart attack last month, just before her 96th birthday. With the prayers of her loving daughter, and the will to be around for the birthday she shares with a great-grandchild, Elaine underwent a life-prolonging surgery.
Medical surgeries kept these women’s hearts alive. Love gave them the heart to live.