In 2007, I was diagnosed with a very invasive and very aggressive cancer. By that time, I was in my late 30s and had given up any hope of ever getting married. With the confirmed cancer diagnosis, I was absolutely positive that no one would ever want me.
Once surgery and radiation treatments were complete and I was feeling good, my Mom started pushing for me to re-start my social life once again. To be honest, that was the furthest thing from my mind! Everyone I knew was trying to match me up with someone! All I wanted to do was focus solely on getting well and staying well…
After relentless urging by my mom and my dear friend and boss, Linda, I finally agreed to attend and join some single’s events. After about two weeks, I ran into someone I’d not seen in about 30 years. Jeff’s family knew mine way back in the late 70s when we were just kids. His brother and I were in the same class together through the 4th grade! We started emailing which turned into long phone conversations. Lucky for me, he lived just two hours away. We spent every weekend together. It didn’t take long for me to know that I loved him. He and my dad hit it off pretty well, too. And most importantly, he loved me for who I was right then and there. He was not scared off by the recent battle with cancer. All he said to me when I told him about it was all that mattered was that I was ok now and if it ever came back we would fight it together. He said he wasn’t going anywhere as long as I would have him.
After years of failed relationships, it was absolutely wonderful to finally find THE person who fit with my personality…like a glove fits a hand. I had actually met someone who loved me more than himself.
One of our first outings was to the Ocoee River Recreation area in Southeast Tennessee. We spent a lot of time there photographing kayakers. This is the very first photo taken of us as a couple:
POPPING THE QUESTION
After a September business trip to Chicago, instead of heading home to Chattanooga I made a little side trip to see Jeff. I thought it was just dinner and welcome home kind of weekend. It was actually a welcome home, I can’t live without you and “will you marry me?” kind of weekend!
Needless to say, I have not stopped grinning since that day!
THE BIG DAY
On April 18, 2009, we exchanged vows on Bluff Mountain. Rhonda and crew at Bluff Mountain Inn made our day extra special as our families and a few friends came to celebrate our New Beginning. Because we love spending time with family and friends, if anyone came to our wedding 10 minutes late, they missed it! We were only interested in saying our vows and moving on to the reception! So we had a 10 minute ceremony and a 4 hour reception!
We spend a lot of time laughing and enjoying our little road trips. We create together whether its photography or working on the house or making something in the kitchen. Through the ups and downs of moving me here and then having to face unemployment for a long time, we have created our little heaven on earth. He is my best friend and we enjoy our life together!
These three years have been the best years of my life. Jeff, I promise, all over again, to love and cherish you the rest of my life. Happy Anniversary, my Love.