On July 29th, my husband and I made a unified decision to share Ben's story…
I cannot find the energy to write much today. Our Thanksgiving respite is ending, and we are getting ready for the onslaught another week will bring, as everyone returns to their day jobs. Anxiety rises as the weekend closes.
But, there is a story I need to share. It is the story of us, the abridged version. It really cannot fit into a few short paragraphs, but today it must.
Kyle and I met in August of 1998. I first saw him lugging my heavy furniture into my apartment off the campus of N.C. State University. He had graciously offered to help a friend of a friend, not knowing me at all. He was wearing a blue plaid shirt, looking very preppy, I’m sure he’s a “frat boy” and already has a girlfriend, I thought. That’s someone I could date, he seems so kind and well-mannered. (Ends up he was the opposite of a “frat boy,” did not have a girlfriend, and was immediately attracted to me as well.) But, we barely spoke until we met again a year later, through chance.
After several years of dating on and off, we were engaged late in the summer of 2001. We were innocent, optimistic for the future, planning our every moment together.
September 11, 2001. I remember standing in front of the television in our little apartment, watching the second tower fall. I had my mother on the phone as it happened, but no words escaped from our lips. We could only watch and cry in horror. What was this world in which we lived? Unrecognizable.
Kyle returned home from work, and we sat together on our couch. Eyes glued to the television; shock; speechless. All that we thought we knew was no more; uncertainty enveloped our lives; life, death, love; the reality that, on some unknown day, we may never see a loved on again.
November of that same year, we sat in the parking lot at a shopping center, our minds and hearts still reeling. “Why are we waiting to have a big wedding in the Spring,” I asked, “None of that really matters. Life is too short, we don’t even know if we get tomorrow.” He shook his head in agreement. We both silently knew. “Let’s just do it, let’s get married, now,” I stated, “Want to?” And, it was a deal.
Marriage license procured the next week, and on November 30, 2001, we walked into the county courthouse, found a random witness, and were married. Life is simple; love; time; faith; hope. Nothing else matters.
We ended up having a small ceremony in May of 2002 with close friends and family, many who are just finding out today our secret of 2001. You’ll have to forgive us for the little secret we held close to our hearts; this kernel of “us” has ended up being our salvation.
I cried through the ceremony, which was so unlike me. I am re-reading the end of the letter I gave him on our wedding day. “There just came a point where there was no longer a ‘you’ or a ‘me’ but an ‘us.’ One day I woke up and realized I could not imagine us apart – had we ever actually been apart? That feeling was not even imaginable anymore. Kyle, I am so lucky to have found my soul mate in you. I cannot conceive of ever having to be with anyone else. It is like we have been together forever – well, maybe we have. We match perfectly, like a puzzle, and complete each other. Most importantly, you are not only my husband, but my best friend. I love you more than you could ever know!”
Happy Anniversary to the only man I’ve ever loved. And, as I ended my letter of 2002, so I repeat today…