An evening of reflection

It’s Marijo writing tonight.

Exactly 4 years ago, at exactly this time, I was on a ‘meet and greet’ coffee date – Date #2 of 3 that I had lined up that week.  Date #1, the night before, was a disaster. I went home and cried, thinking I was not meant to ever find my life mate. Date #2, within 10 seconds of meeting him, did the unimaginable – he hugged me. I had a few rules when dating, and hugging was not allowed. Rule #1 broken. I showed up hungry and promptly dragged my startled date over to Boston Pizza so that I could get dinner over with while we chatted. I waited to see if my date would pick up the bill. It was a test of ‘gentlemanly-ness’. He passed. He asked if he could see me again and the rest is history.

Bryan was Date #2. Since that day, Bryan and I have had lots of ups and downs and challenges far beyond what most couples have to face in a lifetime of being together. But somehow, here we are, 4 years later, heading into the rest of our lives together.

The first 3 photos above I chose because they are from early on in our relationship. I love looking at these photos – mainly because they are a visual reminder of what Bryan has lost and what we have lost as a couple, but yet, we are content. I will sit and stare at Bryan’s hands and legs in these photos for hours – etching his whole body in my mind – I never want to forget that he is a whole man.

The last photo is of a dog named Gus. I consider Gus’s story a bit of a premonition. I will tell the short version here:

2 months before I met Bryan, on a very slippery night, I ran over this dog. He had already been hit. It was a dark night in January. I was driving in freezing rain and came up the crest of a hill. By the time I saw the large animal in my path, it was too late. I had no choice but to run right over him. I stopped the car. Ran onto the road and dragged this 80 pound dog onto the shoulder. He was still alive. Another woman stopped and together we got the dog to a vet, who, in turn located his owners. Gus had wandered away from their home in a snow storm 30 kms away a week earlier.

The young couple decided to try to save the dog. He had his front leg amputated from the shoulder, and his back leg was shattered. He should not have lived. But he did.

I met Gus months after this incident and he is just as lively as any other dog, still recovering, but happy to be breathing and living. I don’t know if the parallel comes across (comparing my husband to a dog, I suppose!), but whenever I think of Gus, I can’t help but think about what a blessing Bryan has been to me, regardless of the events of May 2010.

Even though we can’t spring onto a rock in the middle of a river (photo 1), or zoom around in his sports car (photo 2) or walk carelessly along the beach (photo 3)  – there is so much life to live, and once again, tonight as I reflect on our relationship over the past 4 years, I am humbled and forever grateful that I have the privilege of calling Bryan my husband.

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