Even on Valentine’s Day, a holiday intended to be one of the brightest days on the calendar, one can open up the daily newspaper and find plenty of obituary notices waiting inside. Reading them, we’re always struck by this simple reality — that when a life is summarized, it’s the people one has loved who count as the principal achievements in any person’s biography. Professional accomplishments have their place, as well as the diplomas one has gathered, the clubs one has joined. But it’s the survivors who figure most prominently in the obituary pages — the lives touched because another life connected with them, however briefly.

These are the connections we honor and celebrate on Valentine’s Day. It’s a day to honor love in all its forms — romantic love, to be sure, but also, the love among parents and children and siblings, as well as cherished friends.

We wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day — and a year filled with the affection of loved ones.