Our 19th Wedding Anniversary

Originally posted on April 5th, 2017

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sittingHappy 19th Wedding Anniversary to Joe! ( A day late, it was yesterday) Since I’m not sure what you are supposed to give for 19, and I still want to be a writer when I grow up, I thought I’d share a story. We may share the same anniversary date as Jay Z and Beyonce, but I’m not talented enough to drop a video…

I met Joe at the best college bar in the biggest, little town that ever existed and is home to our hero, the Hokie Bird. When I met him I was working for $4 an hour which in those days was pretty good money. In Blacksburg, it allowed me use my fake id to purchase a pitcher of beer and burger for the night to hang out with my sorority sisters. Joe immediately began to bring me lunch, putting flowers on my car and leaving me notes. I thought he was a crazy person, who does that??? Somehow this Italian boy had fallen quickly for the blond girl, and within weeks, the blond girl fell for the Italian boy and they began to talk about getting married. The Italian boy, trying to make a good impression, tutored the blond in Organic Chemistry within a week of meeting, and the blond failed the class. But all was forgiven when a few weeks later he charmed his way into her cardiologist’s office, and said “I don’t care what the future holds for you, your scars are your beauty marks, and we will navigate this chronic illness together.” And just like that, the Italian and the blond knew they were meant to be.

I think when you get married, you think you love somebody, but you don’t know what LOVE is. You know they are kind of cute. You know they make you happy and smile, you know they work two jobs to support your never ending desire to earn more degrees, but you don’t know what LOVE truly is. LOVE comes later. LOVE comes when bills are mounting up and there is no money to be had. LOVE comes surgery after surgery. LOVE comes when you don’t know if you can have children, but you hold each other’s hands and go for it anyway. And LOVE comes when you receive a diagnosis for your first born that is so rare only 12 children a year in the United States are born with the disease and most medical professionals can’t pronounce it. In that instance everything changes every second of every day of your life and the only thing you can do is hold hands and cry…

LOVE comes when you live in a hospital for 8 months, and you leave empty handed. You are 28 and 30 respectively, a time when your peers are traveling or enjoying their children’s first year of life, and You are walking through a cemetery picking out a family gravesite. It brings you to your knees, it cripples you and you are forced to face a tragedy that shatters you. You watch a tiny casket being carried and police car’s forming a line and saluting your little tiny hero as he goes to his final resting place.
It is like a rock thrown into a river and the waves ripple onward forever. You can easily walk away from each other because of the pain, but You have to decide if you want LOVE again, from each other, from the world, from more children. No one understands the devastation that comes from the tragedy that shattered everything, and you are at the bottom, but you have choices.

So, you choose LOVE and STRENGTH and BRAVERY.

Bravery -The Italian works two jobs to start his open company and gives you the title of COO (chief opinions officer). It never hit me until recent how brave that must have been to have just lost a child, had a new born baby girl that was so sick, and decide to take a huge leap of faith.

Strength – You have to get out of the bed in the morning. The world keeps floating and your hearts have been devastated, and even 14 years later, time has softened it a bit, but it is there, everyday… You have to keep working. You have two more high risk pregnancies back to back, and have the most incredible children. There will be times over the years where their brothers death will cause them great pain. When you lose a child you never want to see their siblings in pain, so you handle it with iron core strength, you give extra hugs, you let them know they are all very loved. The strength of your family becomes rock solid, because the hammer that came down on all of us could have shattered it forever, but you refuse to let that happen.

LOVE – LOVE, Strength and Bravery, is the difference between love at Year 1, Day 1, and LOVE at Year 19, Day 1. At Year 19, you truly know what LOVE is and you know it takes to make that LOVE last.

~Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. Thank you, Joe, for flying with me….”

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