Last night, I received some terrible news from an old friend: her husband passed away this week, at the age of 57. They had 3 children together, and were married for over 26 years. I remember so clearly the day that they met, their early days of dating and falling in love. Right from the start, the attraction was instant, and they fell in love quickly–their relationship was passionate and fiery, but above all else, there was a deep, abiding love for one another that swept them both off their feet. Their engagement coincided with my own, and together, we got to survive the giddy-yet-stressful experience of planning a wedding. They were married just a few weeks after I got back from my own honeymoon, and to this day, their reception remains one of the most lively and joyous parties I’ve even attended. I served in their bridal party, watched their family grow, and then mourned the inevitable distance that grew between us when they moved hundreds of miles away for her husband’s job.
We reconnected periodically via Facebook, but like so many (smart) people, she kept her most personal business off of social media, so his death came as a shock to me.
I’ve spent the last 24 hours thinking about them, and the way their story first began. Theirs was not a picture-perfect, fairy tale relationship: they had their share of ups and downs, difficulties and obstacles that had to be overcome–it was not an easy road at times. Yet theirs was a true love story; they stayed together and toughed it out, building a life together and doing their best to fight back the health issues and personal demons that ultimately proved too much for him.
I am so sad for my friend, and for what she’s going through. Her heart is broken at the loss of her love, and mine breaks for her. But I am grateful for the love that they shared, and the privilege of witnessing that love grow, deepen, and endure.
All of this brings to mind a quote by my favorite author, Richard Bach: “True love stories never have endings.” Their journey together was not a fairy tale, but it most certainly was a true love story.