On October 9th, 1996 you and I headed over to the local court house to say "I do" in front of our one witness and the Judge. Our parents had no clue, let's be honest here... we had no clue. We were 21 and as clueless as they come to what life had in store for us. We thought we were in love and we probably were for what little 21 year olds know about love. What was more likely is we were both lost, tired, and hurt from past relationships and we found comfort in each other's company. So yes, we were in love for 21...
We were living in an apartment my dad help us find a few blocks from my childhood home. You however had moved from Pennsylvania to be with me, sometimes I never appreciated how much of a sacrifice that must have been for you. It was only a month after we were married that we found ourselves expecting our first child. Now the question became, what do we tell our parents first. You told your parents both at once, over the phone 700 miles apart made that task a bit easier. I however chose the "She's Having a Baby" plan and dropped the pregnancy on them at Thanksgiving and the marriage on them at Christmas. Both while walking out the door headed home for the night.
Though you desperately wanted a girl, our first child came and our son was beautiful. I never once dreamed of being a mother growing up, but I never could imagine my life without him from that point. He was so healthy, so independent right from the start. By this point we were living in our 2nd apartment after realizing the landlord at our first would come into the apartment whenever he felt like, including when we slept.
A few months later and I was pregnant again, but the Universe had different plans. At about 8 weeks I was in an unbelievable accident where my first son and I where hit not by one, but 2 vehicles traveling at high speeds. We were in an economy size car trying to make a left hand turn when we were rear-ended by an F-350 pick up truck. That hit sent us into oncoming traffic where we were struck a second time by a full size Surburban. The Impact was so forceful it snapped both the axels of the car and crumpled the roll cage of the car's body. The only door that could open was the driver's so I had to climb into the backseat to make sure my son survived.
In the commotion of the accident and the between the car involved and those who wanted to help or stare.. A woman who looked a lot like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show came up and asked to hold my baby. She kissed him on the forehead, then hugged me, and said "everything, is going to be okay." She handed me back the baby, I looked to my car for a moment and when I looked back again, she was gone. Vanished into thin air. In the cold of February a nice couple offered us a spot to wait for the cops in their minivan. I never saw that woman again..
When the police arrived on the scene he asked, "Who removed the bodies from the car? Does anyone know where they went?" At that moment I emerged from the van stating, "I did." He asked again, "Who are you and where are they?" I explained I was the driver, and my this is my son, we are right here. Bewildered the officer declared, "That's not possible, no one could have survived that crash. This is crazy." Given the severity of the damage to the cars once the ambulance arrived we were transported immediately.
The nurses notified my parents of the accident and my mother came to the hospital to be with us. Meanwhile they loaded the wreckage of my car up on a flat bed and hauled away, right past my parents house. My father saw the car and called the hospital frantic. He demanded to speak with my mother because he knew there was no way either of us survived and he wanted my mom to tell him the truth. My mom explained several times we were both alive and doing fine. Except I wasn't, less than a week later I miscarried out second child.
Then less than a month later you hit a patch of black ice and totaled our other car by hitting the back end of a semi... Needless to say we never owned another green car after that. About 6 months later I was pregnant again. You again wanting a boy and universe blessing us with another beautiful club-footed boy. He was so beautiful, and big (8lb 3oz) even for being born 3 weeks early. How blessed were we?
Both of use continued to work multiple odd jobs to keep the bills paid, especially the health insurance given the surgery our second son needed. We never even considered homeownership an option until we happened upon a failed flip opportunity that was for sale by owner. We put our offer in after my dad gave his approval that we could live in it while we fixed it up, but unfortunately we did not get accepted. A couple weeks passed and the phone rang, it was the owners of the fixer-upper. The other offer fell through and we were the only phone number they had left. We told them we didn't think we could secure a loan so they offered us a 2 year land contract and we graciously accepted. We moved in about 3 weeks later.
We moved in September of 2000. We faced one life lesson after another, from job loss to dealing with unfounded claims with animal control and DCFS due to fraudulent calls from unsavory people. In February of 2002 our third son was born. A big boy at just over 10 lbs. He practically walked out. Unfortunately though he arrived so fast and furious that you hadn't made it back from running home to check on things and missed his delivery. Probably a good thing because it was so fast and chaotic you may have freaked out. It wasn't long after that tragedy struck again when we woke up one morning to find our home engulfed in flames.
We lost all of our material possessions, 3 cats, some fish, a rabbit and the illusion of safety. We learned that it is best to insure your home for total replacement cost because we were desperately under insured for the loss. We also learned insurance companies are not your friends when you are costing them money. It took almost a year to get us back into our family home and in that time I opted to have a gastric by-pass to help with my morid obesity.
The day we received the occupancy to out rebuilt home I was rushed to the emergency room with what presented like a stroke. After several tests it came back I was pregnant again. But it was too soon after my surgery, and many doctors wanted me to terminate... only one doctor support my decision to carry to term and it was the only one I needed. So we moved back into our family home and prepared for the arrival of our daughter... you finally got your girl.
But life had been crazy, life had been hard, and we both were struggling with how to related what we were going through to one another. And a year after our daughter's birth we separated for almost 3 years. My hope is the time apart to figure things out would bring use back together and eventually you moved back home and we began to rebuild our lives together. This process ebbed and flowed like the waters of a mighty river. After 3 years of working at it we were finally in a good place and feeling like we were on firm ground again.
We had gone through a near death experience with me, a couple surgeries with you, so stuff with the kids, but we're were there and ready. On October 4th, 2011 you had knee replacement surgery, due to complications by October 7th, 2011 you were gone. Two days before our 15th wedding anniversary that was to be the mark of our fresh start...
Now 10 years later I am left to wonder, not that it does any good, because the what-if game only causes depression and anxiety... but I wonder Would we have made 25 years together. You we be together watching our kids graduate, get married, start careers together... or would we be as we are now... apart. No one will ever be able to say for certain. But what I do know I'd no matter how up, how down, how troubled, how joyous, how crazy our life was... I was blessed and am a better person for knowing you.
There is so much more of our life I didn't even touch on here... and so many would like to speculate on what was going on based on what they saw from the outside... but we know the experience we shared and what it meant... Happy 25th anniversary Mike... please keep watch over us from above. 💋❤