I don’t consider myself a very romantic person at heart, but I’m a sucker for a good love story.
Whenever I meet a couple for the first time, I always like to hear their “how we met” adventure. Often, it’s a typical encounter. Other times, it’s exciting. Occasionally, it’s scandalous, which makes for a great story.
I don’t think that I’m far off when I say that most people want to be loved and to be in love. Falling in love is a heady, euphoric experience and everybody should feel it at least once in their lives, even if it ends up in heartache and tears.
And maybe heartbreak is life’s way of preparing you for the reality of relationships fraught with ups and downs.
The love bug can bite at any time. Sometimes it strikes early, like in high school, and endures the test of time, like my sister-in-law, Melissa, and her hubby, Pat, who have been together since they were teenagers. With three kids and more than 25 years later, they’re still going strong.
My parents would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year on Sept. 28 if my mother had not passed away in April 2011. There’s not a day goes by that I’m sure my father doesn’t think about her, the many years they were together and the many more they won’t have.
Sometimes love can come around again for the second or maybe the third time.
For 66-year-old Jeannette Laham, third time’s the charm. Widowed twice before, she met her fiancé (also widowed) at a dance at her residence when he was just checking it out to see if he wanted to move in.
“I fell in love the first time we danced,” she said. “I didn’t always believe in love at first sight, but when I saw his nicely shaved face, his smile and saw the way he danced …”
It wasn’t long before they were inseparable and moved in together.
“I couldn’t live without him, he impressed me so much,” she said.
Even before there was any talk of marriage, it was clear they were in it for the long haul, abiding by the “in sickness or in health” part of the vows they hadn’t yet shared.
She started having some mobility problems, falling for no reason, becoming weak. Jeannette was finally hospitalized until they could find out what was wrong. She ended up wheelchair-bound and depressed to be away from her love. They spoke on a regular basis and in spite of the distance. She knew that their love was still strong.
Jeannette realized that if she ever wanted to be reunited with him, to have the chance to live the rest of her life with him, she would need to regain her strength. So with a lot of hard work, she learned how to walk again.
“And now I can dance again,” she said.
Jeannette and her fiancé are planning a spring wedding.
Marla Newhook is a journalist and mother of two. She works part time at West Island Citizen Advocacy as the publicity representative. She is a resident of Pincourt.