Today is Valentine's Day, the day associated with lovers. It's the day those in love are supposed to show that special person in their life how much they mean to them. It's designated as a day for couples to celebrate.
To me, it should be more than that. For instance, what about those who have a true love, though aren't with the person, and may not have even met them in person?
I know, it sounds strange, but it really isn't. It's true; it exists; and it's the very touching story of a man named Chuck B. Kelley.
In 1976, Chuck's sister, Kelley, was born. Kelley had cerebal palsy and never grew larger than a newborn baby.
Four and a half years later, in 1980, while Chuck was babysitting Kelley, she passed away. Having been so close to Kelley, Chuck was of course devastated.
Doctors said that Kelley's brain had just stopped functioning; Chuck blamed himself though, thinking he should have been more aware of what was happening with his sister.
For the first week after Kelley's death, Chuck would stay in his room, listening to the radio, crying himself to sleep. It was one of the lowest points in Chuck's life, and he seriously thought about ending it all. He even went so far as planning how he'd do it; until one evening a song came on the radio that would change his life. The song was, "You Lifted Me Up (To Heaven)", by
Chuck heard the lyrics, and felt the song was a sign his sister was looking down from heaven; letting him know everything would be alright.
The next day Chuck rushed out to purchase the song at the local Sears store. The clerk asked Chuck if he'd like the single, or the album; and he decided on the album.
When the clerk handed him the album, Chuck about fainted. The face staring back at him from the album cover had the same smile as his beloved sister, Kelley. At that instant Reba had a fan for life.
Though Reba's first top 10 single got Chuck through that dark time in his life; it was still two years before he could bring himself to visit Kelley's grave.
On that day, in 1982, he heard Reba's "Can't Even Get The Blues", and knew he was strong enough, and the time was right for him to go to Kelley's gravesite. The song also went on to be Reba's first #1 hit.
From that time on, it seems that Reba has always managed to have a song on the radio at just the right time; for whatever situation Chuck has had to go through in his life. She's lifted him up when he's down, and kept the good times going when he's up; and of course has always been a reminder to him of Kelley.
And yet, in the 31 years Chuck has been a true to the bone, die-hard Reba McEntire fan, he'd never had the chance to meet the woman; or let her know how much she means to him. That is, until six months ago today.
On August 14, 2011, Reba was the headlining act at the Astoria Bicentennial Celebration in Astoria, Oregon. Of course Chuck was going to be at the show, held outdoors at Camp Rilea; and lo and behold, he was able to get a meet and greet pass for his idol!
Chuck had a beautiful bouquet of roses made up to present to Reba, as well as a letter letting her know how much she's helped him through the years; and how he became a fan.
When the time came, the meeting with Reba was everything Chuck had dreamed it would be, and more. The 31 years it took before he actually met her were well worth the wait. It's also something Chuck will never forget, and will cherish the rest of his life.
And there you have it. While most celebrate Valentine's Day as couples, Chuck's story is proof that true love comes in many forms, and can last a lifetime.