Today is my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary. They’ve been through hell and back and are not only still together, but have also managed to stay in love. How? By choosing each other every day. Like my religion teacher from high school used to say:

“Love is not a feeling. It’s a decision, an act of the will. Love is what takes over when the feelings fail, when the one you love is not even likeable.”

My brother and I are very lucky to have been raised in a home that taught us the value of commitment. Ralf was also raised in a similar environment, with his parents being married for over 35 years. We had wonderful examples of what marriage is really about. Although the past few months have shown me that life is completely unpredictable, I wholeheartedly believe that Ralf and I would have made it. That if his health had permitted, we would have celebrated our 10th, and 20th, and 30th wedding anniversaries. That we would have grown old together. I think those that really knew us as a couple would have bet on us too. The fact that I’ll never know for sure how it would have all turned out really hurts. I obviously wasn’t expecting my current reality. But even if I’d known that I would be here now, I would not trade or change a single moment I shared with him. The love Ralf showed me, even if just for a moment in time, is worth all the pain in the world.

Ralf and I both agreed that marriage was serious – not something two people should “try out” and “see what happens”. We believed in doing whatever it took to work through the tough times. Like Father Bob said during the homily of our wedding mass, the hard moments are the ones that call for you to remember the vows you made to each other. Not the easy days – on those days, both individuals would have probably stuck around anyway. Your vows serve to remind you of all the reasons why you should stay and fight for one another when it would be easier to throw in the towel and leave. Now, I can’t be so naive as to deny that there are some instances where all hope is gone, where all avenues of compromise and reconciliation have been exhausted, where there is just too much hurt and too much to forgive. That’s why marriage and falling in love in general is so damn terrifying. No matter how much you believe in commitment, unconditional love, and making it work regardless of the circumstances, there are no guarantees. To truly open your heart to someone, to be vulnerable, is to take a tremendous leap of faith. We never know for sure how the story will end, but if we run from uncertainty we can miss out on SO much.

On our last wedding anniversary, I was four months pregnant. In my card to Ralf, I told him how blessed I felt that not only would our son grow up with an amazing man to look up to, but also a beautiful example of how a husband should cherish his wife. It breaks my heart to think that Mason may live through his childhood without witnessing what devotion within a marriage should look like. That’s why I pray that God will lead me to another man who I can share a special love with. A man who is not out to replace Ralf as my husband or as Mason’s dad. Instead, a man who can help me grow an even bigger heart that can accommodate even more love. A genuine love. A love that my son can learn from and look up to. A friend of mine recently told me, “Love does not divide. It multiplies.” How beautiful is that? Our hearts are capable of infinite amounts of love – we just have to be willing to take the necessary risks.

Happy anniversary to the two people who showed me that love means highlighting each other’s talents, accepting each other’s flaws, and taking huge risks to reap even bigger rewards. May you have many more together!

Photo by: Tina Bass Photography

14 thoughts on “Love”

  1. I love reading your post. I don’t know you but your strength is so inspirational. My family just had a huge tragedy, losing my 19 year old niece in an accident. I read your post and pray my sister in law can soon see life the way you do. I learned that you don’t know how strong you are until that’s your only option.
    May God continue to give you strength. He will put the perfect person in your life at the right time.


  2. I am not sure if you will read this, but I really hope you do. The quote from your English teacher just hit straight to my heart. Thank you so very much for posting this because at this very moment, I really needed to know those very wise words from her. If you ever doubt continuing this blog, please dont, you have touched me and my life. Thank you so much!


  3. I so look forward to reading your heartfelt words each time you post on your blog. I, like you, have been blessed with parents that have been through hell and back and are still married 54 years later. In fact, this November will be 55 years. Unfortunately I cannot say that I have been blessed with a marriage like that yet. I am a single mom. I am divorced, and although my son’s father is in my son’s life, he has remarried and has a new family which my son does not feel part of. This of course breaks my heart as my son does not deserve that. But, fortunately for him, I have been blessed with the absolute best father in the world. He is the example my son has to show how to treat and love a woman as a husband, how to be a father and how a man respects others and most importantly have faith in God. I still believe in love and pray that God places a man in my life that is worthy of my son’s love. Your father, your husband’s father and both of your brothers will be shining examples of how to be a real man to your sweet baby boy. Thank you for sharing your most intimate thoughts to the world.


  4. I don’t know you, but I’ve heard your story, I’m very sorry for all you are going through, only you who walk in your shoes really knows. My father passed away in April from lung cancer, he was such a good man, husband, father, and grandfather, the kind of man you don’t find these days. Although the loss of my father is not the same for a loss of a husband it is very hard and a grieving process that only God and time can help heal, but I can say life will never be the same. My parents 46th wedding anniversary was a exactly a month after my father passed. They shared the same kind of love your parents share and have , like you and Ralf had. I like reading your blogs because it’s good to know there are still people out there with the same values, morals, and beliefs that one was raised with. I’m a single mom and I still believe in love and hope God will someday lead me to a good man and role model for my children., in today’s society not so easy, but keep positive, believing, and hoping because that’s what keeps us going.


  5. Lovely words. I have been happily married to a wonderful man for 23 years. I believe in love. I believe in second chances too I have seen it happen with friends. I am praying that you find someone that helps you raise your son. It is possible to be happy again.


  6. I don’t know you personally but I’ve come to know you and feel your pain, bravery, and wisdom through your blog and heartfelt posts. I admire your strength and positive outlook despite your circumstances. Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts and beautiful words. You truly are an inspiration and Mason is beyond blessed to have you guide him through this journey called life.


  7. You certainly have a gift in writing and expressing feelings through words. Although these are such difficult times for you and your family , the sun will shine again for you and Mason. God Bless


  8. Happy Anniversary to your parents. God along with Ralf, WILL lead you to that special man. You have so much life ahead of you and so much to offer. Regardless of when this may happen, Mason will learn all about marriage, unconditional love, and how to be a wonderful husband to his wife. He will learn that from you and his grandparents.


  9. Such beautiful words. The healing process is slow. I firmly believe that God has a special plan for both Mason and you. My prayers continue for you to have the guidance to find your path and the strength to walk it..


  10. I continue to follow you, without even knowing any of you, but yet I am so inspired by you, enriched by you and completely in awe of you. You are truly amazing and I always look forward to your incredible heartfelt posts. Thank you for sharing yourself….you have more to give then you will ever know.


  11. As usual you find the right words-the perfect combination to express your feelings. How lucky you are to have them and how blessed they are to have created such a wonderful human being. May Gid continue to bless you, Mason and your entire family!


    1. I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you Meagan to tell you how much I look forward to your blog all the time. I find your words beautifully inspiring and so filled with love. I was seven months pregnant when I heard the news about the passing of your husband Ralf. Not only did his death affect the community as a whole, but it affected me as a person even though I had never met Ralf personally. I have gone through my fair share of loss, but I just can’t even imagine what you must have and still are going through. I remember decorating my son’s room and doing last minute preparations for his arrival. I couldn’t help myself but to think of how you were feeling at that moment, going through the same situation but without your husband. Thank you for sharing your story with us, for being such a strong woman and mother to your son Mason and for being an inspiration to so many. God bless you and Mason. I look forward to seeing more of your posts.


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