This commentary was purposely written after Valentine’s Day lest it dampens the spirit of some Valentine’s Day enthusiasts. Forgive me for not being commercially romantic but I resist allowing a day designated on a calendar to dictate by romantic and/or spending habits. Just as toymakers get excited at the approaching of Christmas, candymakers and florists get excited over Valentine’s Day... jewelers also get in on the frenzy of consumers showing their love through their wallets. Systematic annual gifts are often void of showing a true expression of love. Lovers have all year to show romantic love to the subject of their affection by sharing quality time, constantly treating them with respect and honor and by avoiding counterproductive acts of love, which comes in many forms such as physical and/or mental abuse. Often when these commercially induced predesignated annual ‘love’ days come around, many people are following this routine out of the guilt of wrong doings. I guess that at least 50% of the women who are physically abused by the ‘special men’ in their lives received flowers and candy this past Valentine’s Day. And it’s highly likely that nearly all of those women were flattered and expressed their love in some physical or financial way.
Many years ago, I worked seasonal part-time delivery driver for a florist shop in Santa Monica, California. My delivery schedule was one week preceding and a week following Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. I witnessed firsthand several men during each holiday season send flowers, candy, and gifts to three, four, even five different women - that’s right, even on Mother’s Day. Obviously they had several baby mamas. However even more surprisingly, I also delivered several times to the same addresses because many of these women were receiving similar gifts of love from several other men. But my biggest shock came on a Valentine’s Day when I delivered flowers wired from three different states from three different men to a hospital maternity ward to the same new mother. The cards inside each expressed happiness and love for her and their newborn son. The new mother, I later discovered, was an airline stewardess.
While Valentine’s Day is an emotional time of year, whether in love or pain, statistics show that despite popular belief, suicide rates do not spike during the celebration of this holiday. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics reported, “suicide rates are lowest in December, the pinnacle of the holiday season for many families. The suicide rate peaks in the spring and fall,” according to the CDCP website. The statistics reveal suicide rates during the holiday season (November to January) were below the annual average every year since 2002.
In a nine-year study conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Pennsylvania, reports indicated media outlets perpetuated the myth linking holidays with an increase in suicide incidents. However, other holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and anniversaries increase the feeling of loneliness for family more than Valentine's Day but Valentine’s Day increased loneliness for lovelorn singles. Spring is the season suicide rates begin to increase; however, experts don’t associate this with Valentine’s Day since Valentine’s Day is actually a winter holiday. Nevertheless, I think since many suicides occur in February, its Valentine’s Day connected - or maybe it’s just a coincidence.
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