When I graduated from college, D still had another year left of school. I wasn't sure what exactly I was planning to do with my English degree, but I knew that I needed to get a job. See, college paid off!
I moved back to Hometown, USA and lived with my parents while I looked for work. I found a
Since D was still in school, I made many weekend trips out to visit him. Some of these were for events, while others were just for fun. At this point, it was 2006 and we had been dating since December of 2005. D and I used these weekends together as a chance to get to know each other again.
Let me explain to you what I mean by "get to know each other again." D and I met in November 2000. I think I knew shortly after meeting him that we would someday get married and spend our lives together. I know it sounds cliche, but its true. Don't get me wrong, I wrote that feeling off as the typical "puppy love" that many high school relationships are built around.
We dated from November 2000 until we parted ways in May of 2002. D joined the Army. I went to college. I was not willing to date someone long distance, nor was I prepared to be in a relationship with a service member. At least I knew it then and didn't try to force something that ultimately would have ruined our relationship forever.
It wasn't until several years later that we were brought back together (in true 2005 fashion, it was via AOL Instant Messenger). We started chatting and I mentioned that I was interested in attending a dance with him as a friend. Okay, so I'm not sure that I clarified that my attendance would be as a friend. Either way, I made the trip out and well, the rest is history.
But back to the story. We spent our weekends together getting to know each other again. He helped me when I moved out of my parent's house and into a tiny one-room apartment. He supported me through endless complaints about my awful job. When Spring Break rolled around, he came home to spend the week with me. We went to Chicago and spent the night at the W Hotel.
He went back to school Sunday after a fun week together. Monday morning I was at work at the awful job when he called me to tell me that his mom died. I remember the exact conversation, word for word, to this day.
He flew home the next day and we spent the week with his family, planning the funeral and services. I remember feeling uncertain. I wasn't sure what my role was, I was only his girlfriend. I didn't want to overstep my boundaries, but I also didn't want him to feel like I wasn't there for him.
D told me later that my support for him and his family during this time was when he really realized that he couldn't not have me in his life. It was also the first time that I really felt like his family accepted me. Essentially, this was the week that I became a member of his family. It was this week that he decided to propose to me.
Now, some may find this weird. I am certain that if his mom hadn't died, we still would have ended up getting engaged and married. I think experiencing his mother's sudden passing was a "life is too short" type moments for him.
Stay tuned for the next installment in our story.