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Meant to be . . .

It’s near Valentine’s Day, and around this time of year, while everyone’s thinking of roses and chocolate, I think about weddings. About one very special wedding I attended, and, no, it’s not mine. It wasn’t in the grand fashion of Prince William and Princess Kate’s. But it is my all-time favorite wedding because it brought together a couple deeply in love who almost didn’t make it to the altar.

The wedding I want to tell you about involves two of my longtime friends. When we were in high school, my friend was voted the most beautiful in our senior class. Long dark hair, and eyes, she was simply …well, beautiful. Men fell in love with her the moment they saw her. What’s more, it was hard for us girls to hate her because – dang, she was just so nice.
Her life wasn’t easy. Many members of her family had gone through divorce. Perhaps that’s why, whenever any of the men she dated mentioned the “M” word, my friend put on the brakes and ended the relationship.

She was well into her twenties when she met my husband’s former roommate. To this day, I haven’t met a much better looking guy. With brains and charm, he’d make a perfect cover model for any of our books. He had so much going for him that in his senior year in high school, he was voted most likely to succeed. No, he didn’t go on to become a male model 😉 he became a mechanical engineer.

So you can imagine, when these two met, not only were they the talk of the town, they were simply the most beautiful couple imaginable.

The years passed and my friend and my husband’s roommate got closer and closer. It appeared that finally, finally, she would accept a man’s proposal and settle down.

Until the afternoon he went out dirt biking, rounded a corner, met a four-wheeling truck head-on. Tossed off his bike, he landed a few feet away without a scratch on him, outwardly. But, inwardly, he would later learn that he’d broken his neck. Who knew that morning when he walked into the garage to load up his dirt bike that it would be the last day he would ever walk again.

My hometown is small, and even though cell phones and texting didn’t exist back then, we didn’t need them. The news spread. We did what friends do in times of crisis–rallied around them. He was such an athletic guy–to be bound to a chair for the rest of his life was bad enough. But he further learned that due to the extent of his injury, he would never be able to have children of his own.

This was just incredible, beyond anyone’s belief. In a matter of 24-hours this couple’s life had changed forever. People held their breath and the tears began to fall. As you can imagine, he didn’t feel much like going on during that time and slipped into a deep depression. And the last thing he wanted was sympathy, particularly my friend’s, the woman he’d fallen in love with.

From that point on, he pushed her away. Hard.

He went away to a rehabilitation hospital, and because of the amazing shape he was in, he was discharged in three months. Members of the staff said that had it been someone in less stellar physical condition, it would have taken him months, maybe even a year, to recover.

He came back in a better frame of mind. He also discovered that although his life would be different, it was far from over.

Did I mention my friend is beautiful, inside and out? She never once walked away.

My husband and I were living in Colorado when we received the couple’s wedding invitation. The perfect couple was still perfect, and he was still most likely to succeed.  To date, it’s the happiest, most emotional wedding I’ve ever attended.

They’ve been married many years now.

May we all find someone who loves us so unconditionally and with the same indelible spirit. Since I blog once a month, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day in advance.

Do you have a favorite wedding you’ve attended?  What’s your story?

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26 Responses

  1. One for the ages! My congratulations to your friends; THIS is what Love really is all about…:)

  2. What a beautiful love story…I’m still choked up. We write about love and happy ever after, but it’s all fiction. This is reality, the way love was meant to be. Thanks for sharing, Donnell!

  3. Donnell, great story. Their love for each other would touch even the hardest heart. Nice when reality is better than ficton!

  4. Hi, Donnell and thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. Really tugged my heart!

    I think of moments: when Handsome’s eyes met mine before walking up the aisle; when my BIL sang to my sissie before she walked up the aisle; the small group holding hands and saying a prayer.

    • Love this, Vicki. Yes, I’ve been to plenty of emotional weddings. My son’s is coming up. That might rank right up there in the emotion department, because I love these two kids so much. But with my friends. ..they had so much to overcome. Thanks for commenting.

  5. My goodness, Donnell. Way to tug at the heart strings. As I read along, I presumed the man was killed in the wreck. Then the reality set in and Wow, how do people come through the things they do? It certainly puts my puny efforts at writing in perspective. Every day, we need to tell our loved ones how much we care.

    As to your questions: I’ve loved every single wedding I’ve ever attended–from humongous country club extravaganzas to more humble ones with do it yourself food in the basement of the church. These events are just so filled with joy and potential.

  6. Wow, Donnell. Their story could be one of those True Vows books. Amazing and inspiring.

    There’s no particular wedding that stands out for me–other than my own, of course 😉 –but I like that even though there’s a common thread to a wedding ceremony, each is a unique expression of who the couple is.

    Thanks for sharing, and happy early Valentine’s Day to you too!

  7. Darn you Donnell, I am crying right now. What an amazing story.

    As to your question, I’m not much of a wedding girl. They’re nice but mostly meh for me. However, my favorite part is always the moment the groom spies the bride for the first time. That is something that only happens once and it’s amazing.

  8. What a beautiful story! So touching.

    gotta say, the most beautiful wedding was mine. At this point, I’ve only been to a handful, so in the future maybe I’ll be witness to something super touching like this.

  9. Great story, but my mascara that’s now running down my face doesn’t approve!!!!
    I’ve always believed in the sheer power of love. It CAN move mountains or help provide a reason to go on living. Thanks for sharing this and reaffirming that the power is alive and well.

  10. Oh, Stacey, wish I was close so I could hand you some Kleenex. I promise there wasn’t a dry eye in the church that day, but what was so absolutely touching was the joy in the bride and group. Total elation. They had survived.

  11. Yikes. What I story. I’m glad it had a happy ending. But did I tear up reading it. What a special couple

  12. Beautiful! Loved this story and loved the character shown by each of them. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story.

  13. Donnell, that brought tears to my eyes. How am I going to explain to my supervisor why my eyes are red?

  14. Hay fever, Connie. It’s going around bad in Colorado Springs. I hope it made you happy though, doesn’t it have a HEA? 🙂 Happy Valentines, day, GF.

  15. Donnell,

    I wanted to comment yesterday but wasn’t where I could. This is such a touching and inspirational story. I wish everyone could have a love like this. It is a true romance.

    I admire your friend for sticking by his side and never giving up – there are so many people that would’ve just walked away because they didn’t have the courage to face the uncertainties of the future.

  16. Heather, oh boy, is that the truth. Quite frankly we thought that might happen. He sure gave her an opportunity. It’s a magical story of a magical couple. When they say they’re good people, well, yeah, they broke the mold 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

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