Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Real Life Valentine's Day Story. Beating Cancer Together.

15 years ago, on February 13th, 1995,
I got a phone call in my Virginia dorm room from my mom.
She told me that  a boy from our church, was recovering from surgery.
It was in our church newsletter and they were asking people to send him get well cards/notes.
He was the older boy from church, (the one she knew I thought was cute.)

He was the one I started sitting up front to watch every Sunday singing in the choir.
He was the one who played beautiful trumpet solos in front of the painted scenery
I was forever painting for summer VBS plays.
The boy with a head full of curly dark hair and green eyes who made me blush,
but I was never brave enough to actually talk to.

He. had. cancer.
He was only 20 years old.
He had a malignant brain tumor (an anaplastic astrocytoma.)

He had just had brain surgery over Christmas vacation to remove it
and was back at school in Wisconsin undergoing radiation treatment.

I wrote down his address on a scrap of paper on my desk.
Something told me, a small voice inside my head,
that this was the start of something that would change my life.

I bought a card at the campus bookstore. I wrote a note inside, something along the lines of,
"You don't know me, but we attend the same church and we went to rival high schools..."
"I hope you are doing well, I'm here if you need a friend to talk to." etc.

I put it in the outgoing mailbox, not realizing the date.
The card arrived later that week, it was postmarked February 14, 1995.
He wrote back. (this was before we had email accounts)
We continued writing back and forth for
the rest of the school year, throughout his treatments and recovery.

We became really good friends.
We agreed to meet and hang out when he came back home to Virginia in June.
It was love at first sight. We were both smitten.
We did not know what kind of future awaited us.

We knew we were in love.
We did not know what kind of prognosis he would have.
We knew we were best friends.
We knew we wanted to be together for as long as we could.
We have been married for 11 years.

We have been together 15 years, since that fateful first lunch date....
and really, if I'm being honest, he's had my heart since I mailed that first
Valentine's Day Get Well card.

He still writes me beautiful love letters.
He still gets an MRI every year to recheck his noggin.
He is still cancer free.

He is my best friend, the father of our two beautiful daughters,
the best daddy in the world, my partner in crime, my one and only valentine.

Happy Valentine's Day my love.
I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.



Vic said...


I have tears in my eyes my dear.

Tears of joy for you & yours.

This is a beautiful story, a beautiful love, and thank you for sharing it.


MONICA said...


Bethany said...

Your story is a beautiful one. I'm glad you chose to share it. I absolutely love your blog. It's totally one of my favorites. I hope you and your family have a great Valentines Day.

Not Hannah said...

Oh, I luff the story so much I want to give y'all both big hugs. (In a totally non-threatening, cyber kind of way.) Happy Valentine's Day to you both--and congratulations on a happy, healthy life together.

Maria said...

What a beautiful story to wake up to on Valentine's Day!!! I'm teary!

Many more blessings to you!

Phyllis said...

I couldn't help crying. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story with us.
sniff, sniff,

Simply Spontaneous said...

What a beautiful love story - thank you for sharing!

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a beautiful way to share your love story. May you be blessed with many, many, many more years together.

Magda from Poland said...

It's wonderful to read such a happy story. Best wishes for you both and your awesome kids. Warmly, Magda with family.

Leptir said...

Beautiful love story! I'm so happy everything turned so great :-)

Carla S said...

What a beautiful story! God sure has an uncanny way of putting perfect couples together!

I recently came upon your blog and have been reading it! Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas and stories. They are inspiring!

childhood magic said...

meant to be!!! thank you so much for sharing such an inspiring story of love!!

jlbee said...

this is a sweet and tender story, marylea. thank you for sharing. i hope you both have a wonderful valentine's day with your beautiful daughters! (oh, i think your card might have been postmarked 1995?) happy heart day!

celeste nicole said...

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing love story! You are a beautiful family! I love reading your blog and this makes me feel like I know you even more :)

Jen said...

This is lovely. A real Valentine's story. Thank you for sharing.

~Maria said...

Ok seriously, goosebumps reading that! What an amazing story and blessing to have each other through it all! Thank you for sharing it. ~Maria

Rebecca said...

What an awesome story!!

FranticMommy said...

I have tears. You guys are so so so very blessed. thanks for sharing. Thanks so much for stopping by on my SITS day. And what an awesome day it was! I don’t do many giveaways, but I am doing a great one right now. Please stop by!

Sarah said...

What a beautiful Valentine's story!
God's blessings,
Sarah :D

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Beautiful, my friend! What a lovely story with such a great ending. :) You are very blessed. (as am I) Happy Valentine's Day!

I wrote the notes in the cocoa with a tooth pick dipped in (and wiped off) red food coloring. You can do it in chocolate syrup (which is what I usually use) but I thought that I may as well stick with the red for today. It writes in the frothy milk just like a pen... I love it for message making to make the morning (or afternoon if it's cold and rainy) more special.

Have a beautiful day!!



Sarah said...

What a beautiful Valentine's love story!
God's blessings on many more,
Sarah :D

Jenny said...

That is such a wonderful story! How awesome for both of you!

Jenny said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

sippy cup mom said...

Now that is what I call fate, just amazing, thanks for sharing, Hugs
sippy cup mom

Magillie said...

I read this beautiful story this morning--thank you so much for sharing. xoxo to you and your family this Valentine's Day!


Johanna said...

what a beautiful love story. you truly are blessed! thank you so much for sharing it with us, I'm so happy to hear that your hub is cancer free.

Leanne said...

oh. my. goodness.

i wanted to thank you for following my blog, and then i read this story. bless both of your hearts!!! what a beautiful story...i am so happy for you, your husband and children.....you are inspiring!!

much love,

Gaby said...


Parents' Ideas said...

Thank you for sharing this story. It makes all of us to look at life a bit differently!


Rebecca: said...

That is the best Valentine story I've ever heard! It made me cry! I hope you and Geoff had a fabulous Valentines day!

Lisa said...

now that I'm all teary-eyed, that is the sweetest love story I've heard in a while!!!! You are a beautiful family!!!

House Mother said...

I read this post and never stopped thinking about it so I came back to comment/just to say thanks for sharing your love story.

Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

Beautiful love story...thanks so much for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

So sweet - I always love a good love story!

angela | the painted house said...

This is such a beautiful story...of course there are tears! Thank you for sharing with us!

Heidi said...


I had no idea what a beautiful story was behind your marriage. Congratulations to both you and Geoff, there is nothing better in life than finding someone that you are grateful to be with every day.


Julie Bagamary said...

Thanks for sharing your blessed Valentine's story. How amazing is God's true love for us.

Amy said...

What a beautiful love story! I have tears in my eyes, and I don't even know you two! Thank you for sharing! :)

Bobbi said...

I think that was one of the sweetest things I have read in a very long time.
It's amazing how something so ugly can bring you something so amzingly beautiful!

Many more years of happiness!

gina said...

what a touching love story! SO many reasons for you to be thankful and what a beautiful story it has grown into!

Jen said...

That is so sweet. What a wonderful love story.

Cheryl said...

Your love story is just beautiful!

I enjoy reading your blog & all the great things you post about. Since it's one of my new favorites, I've given you a Beautiful Blogger Award. You can check it out here:



Cheryl @ Sew Can Do

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

That, my dear, is one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. Seriously!
How romantic and how awesome is that?!

You gave me shivers--the good kind ;)

Stacy said...

Absolutely beautiful story!

Montessori Mama said...

okay, starting my day off on a completely romantic note is the BEST! What a story you share!
Thank you for sharing with the world how much you love your man. Congratulations and my you have MANY MANY MANY more years together!
Love Jennifer

Leslie said...

what a wonderfully beautiful story. gave me goosebumps!

Kathleen said...

happy valentine's day is right. what a beautiful story - I am so happy for you both!

Melissa said...

You just made me weepy, and that is not easy to do. Happy (belated)day to you and yours.

Mrs4444 said...

What a beautiful post. (visiting from Gina's place) Love your art projects in the sidebar, too! :)

Bridgett said...

This. Was. Beautiful.

Happy belated Valentine's Day to both of you!

Mama King said...

I know i am late reading this...
What a beautiful LOVE story! I have tears in my eyes. I am going to go upstairs and give my hubby a hug and a kiss.

Doda said...

Awwwwwwww, that is lovely!

Inha said...

Amazing! So lovely - thanks for sharing :)

Felicia said...

oh dear did this ever make me cry!
I have a friend right now with a cancerous brain tumor ( glioblastoma multiforme )

He's a lot worse off than how your husband sounded but this gave me hope for him and his new wife and children.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story!

Miss G said...

Such a wonderful story! Praise God! Kelly

Kristen said...

Wow. As I sit here teary-eyed, the only words that comes to mind is "God bless your family." Thank you for sharing. We all need to be reminded about how precious each moment is.

Kat said...

What an amazing story!
I absolutley LOVE your blog we try doing alot of your crafts. I found your blog last winter when I was stuck at home with 3 kiddos since one of them could not be out in public she is going through chemo, you made our days brighter! Thank you!!!
You are one awesome MAMA!

Paula said...

how beautiful and romantic!
that's a love story!

Anonymous said...

I read your wonderful love story again this Valentine's Day. It always brings tears of happiness to my eyes! Aunt M

Kris Cannon said...

I just found your blog and I feature your button on mine. I came in to poke around for something creative and found your story. I am SOOO crying. I want it to be that way for my baby girl! Thank you for sharing an intimate time in your life. It's my favorite part of blogging!

Amy said...

Oh shucks, I just found your blog and you made me cry. I hope you and your husband have many happy years together.

LiEr said...

MaryLea! I have never read a post about how two people met that moved me like yours. I have tears in my eyes (and that never happens this early in the morning) and a smile on my face which, as my kids would say, makes a rainbow. You write so beautifully! And those photos! Ahhhhhhhhh.....I am so glad Geoff is doing great, and that he has you (and you him)!

Eve Morreale said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful love story. Today, I will be lifting you and your family in my prayers. I thank God for his faithfulness and nothing is impossible in his kindom.

kamagra said...

I love your story. You were meant for each other,in sickness and in health.

Blue Star Vermont said...

You have one more reader here with tear rolling down her face. Your story, your love has touched my heart. Every time your story is shared another heart opens. The gift of your love is a gift uplifting us all.

Diana said...

Wow, it's clear you cherish your husband and what you've gone through teaches you to do that every day. May we all be encouraged to show that devotion to our husbands, remembering that we don't know what tomorrow holds . You make a beautiful couple!

Jaclyn Holtzman said...

Happy Valentine's Day, MaryLea. This is a beautiful story.

Jaclyn, editor of AllFreeKidsCrafts

Mom of a bunch of great kids... said...

Beautiful love is so wonderful to see. Thank you for sharing.

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