Stronger Through Tragedy


I expected Brielle’s diagnosis and death to damage our marriage. That outcome is certainly not unheard of.

Where I expected communication issues, there were none. When I expected the stress of grief to pull at us, it didn’t.

Our honesty and vulnerability with each other has brought us closer together. I see how much David loves and misses Brielle and it makes my heart overflow with love for him.

The ways he cared for me during the pregnancy and the ways he loved and embraced Brielle fill me with more love than I could have ever imagined. I am closer to him now than I have ever been.

And through this tragedy in our lives, I’ve found myself revisiting the hard times in our relationship. Thankful for how those experiences shaped and molded us into the people we needed to be for each other.

It’s funny how Brielle’s life continues to give. I thought the days of butterflies and starry eyed love were over, but instead it’s better.

I get that old flutter in my stomach when I look at him. I find him more handsome than I used to. Everything about him seems better, fresher. And in a way it feels like the beginning all over again.

But it’s so much better. We know each other. We’re comfortable with each other and we have an easy, carefree relationship. Becoming parents, losing a child, holding onto each other through grief, it’s made us whole in a way I can’t describe.

And now, more often than not, we find ourselves happily telling each other how much we love being married. And we remark on how much better life is now that we are married. It’s as if something just came together and we feel right. I’m just so thankful I get to do life with David.

My Failings As A Wife: Part Three


Sometimes I’m fed up with everything weighing on my shoulders, the stress pushing me to the point where I feel like my shoulders will physically snap. I lash out, snap at him, and think that maybe if I leave things will get better. That maybe if I walk from my responsibilities life will be easier.

But nothing is ever that simple.

I’ll take out my frustrations by criticizing him. I’ll be hypercritical, as if that’ll make it better. Sometimes I can be so foolish. And sometimes I do it without even realizing it.

I can be a handful.

A long time ago David told me that my criticisms hurt his feelings. I hadn’t realized I’d been criticizing him. And it hurt me that I was hurting him. I worked hard to change my mindset.

What I did realize, was that the more upset I was with myself, the more critical I was of everyone else. And that’s not fair to anyone.

This is one of the things I hate most about myself. I hate hurting others, so when I retort with a biting remark or a sharp criticism, it eats at me. There’s no reason for me to be cruel to others because I’m uncomfortable in my own skin or I’m overly stressed.

Over the years, I’ve become a lot better. I rarely find myself critical or cruel. I spend more time trying to be empathetic, and more attuned to David’s needs.

Keeping my mind focused in this way has helped me be kinder. And I think it’s pulled out more of my “goodness.” I’m always going to struggle with this. I’m always going to be flawed, but I can be a better person.

I’m not always a loving wife. Or a good wife. But I’m grateful for the understanding David has and our determination to make each other better.

My Failings As A Wife: Part Two


There are times when my anger is justified. David took six years to marry me, I was not happy about that, and he fought me every step of the way. His fear of marriage put us through years of full on blow outs. David may be quiet but he is stubborn. And when he wants to be, he is immovable, and nothing I say or do will change things.

This ignites a rage in me I have trouble turning off. I don’t do well with authority or hard no’s. One man described me as a, “Formidable opponent.” So when David makes a final decision about something and it’s something I don’t have a say in, well, I get nasty.

This is a facet of myself that I’m not proud of. I don’t want to be reactionary. David rarely pulls out his stubborn side, but of course when he does, it’s over something critical. And I lose my mind. I feel shut down, meaningless, and the fighter in me comes out, because I refuse to be denied the right to speak. I refuse to be undermined. I have value and my words have value, and I will fight for that, I won’t let anyone shut me down, including David.

We spent three long years “working” on this issue. He refused to yield and I refused to give up. He would not marry me (there are a lot of reasons why) and I wasn’t going to give up. I love David wholly and completely. So if that meant I had to, metaphorically, pull out my gloves and duke it out with him, then so be it.

He communicates with subtle hints and clues, quietly dancing around the subject. I get straight to the issue, I’m direct, honest, and I don’t mess around with games. It’s like mixing oil and water.

I’d yell and rant, furious that he’d put us through this. I couldn’t understand him, couldn’t understand what he was ever saying, I knew he loved me, but why wouldn’t he fight for me?

Working on our communication for three years, meant fighting for three years. Crying. Breaking up and getting back together. Driving each other crazy. Accusing each other of things. There were times where we were at each other’s throats. But we were committed and we were going to make our relationship work.

And one day, it clicked. I’m not sure when it happened. I’m not sure how it happened, but one day we realized we weren’t fighting anymore. And our relationship was affectionate, light hearted, and it felt like the beginning all over again, but different, familiar. Comfortable.

I’d learned to be patient and wait for him to find the words he needed to express himself. And he’d learned that he needed to be direct. He’d also learned to incorporate me fully into his feelings and decision making and that it was okay to be vulnerable. We learned how to respect each other’s differences.

I still work on my patience and do my best to be understanding, even when I really don’t want to be. And, at times, he still slips into his old communication habits. Which is generally when I say, “I’m not doing this with you right now. Just tell me what you want. Or what you’re feeling.”

I didn’t understand at the time why we had to struggle so much. It seemed ridiculous, looking back, it makes sense. And it made us a better couple, a stronger couple, and without those hard years we would not have lasted. Sometimes, our flaws, our bad times, make us better. And sometimes you have to fight with everything you have.

My Failings As A Wife: Part One


Maybe I’m too sensitive. Or maybe I’m justified. I’m not sure if it really matters. Some days, some moments are more difficult than others. When I step back and look at my marriage I’m very happy. I’m loved, respected, and adored. But little things turn into big things and big things get heavier and heavier.

And I have moments where I throw my hands in the air, look him in the eyes, and say, “I’m done with this. I want out. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

I throw ultimatums at him, reach my breaking point, and in a rage, I storm out of the conversation. It’s not because I don’t love him. I’m not wanting to hurt him. It’s simple really, I am flawed and, at times, I am an imperfect wife.

I’ve walked. I’ve slammed the door and left. I’ve ignored his calls. Ignored his attempts at reconciliation. But even in my anger, I can’t burn through the love I do have for him.

I come back, my anger long gone, and I’m welcomed back with open arms. I feel embarrassed, foolish, and ashamed, but David loves me unconditionally, even when I’m an angry unlovable mess. He doesn’t hold my outbursts over my head, it’s forgiven and forgotten.

David is, more often than not, the calm eye in the center of my storming emotions. I feel everything strongly and, with him, I am my most authentic self. He has never once asked me to change or hide my feelings, even when I’m raging.

His patience encourages me to be better. Kinder. I can’t change my personality, but I can change my reactions. I can correct my flaws and be a better wife.

I am thankful that David gives me the time and encouragement I need to work on my patience, my snarky mouth, my emotional immaturity, and, most importantly, my foolishness.

Our History with March 29


Eight years ago today, I told David I loved him. It was 2:59 AM EST. David and I had been friends for a couple of years, we’d met on a video game (City of Heroes) and had a mutual need for each other. He needed someone who could heal him (me) and I needed someone who could take out bad guys fast (David). Over time we got to know each other and then one day it clicked. It just felt right and strangely it felt like the right time. We prayed about it and we had an overwhelming sense of peace about the relationship.

I foolishly thought our relationship would be an easy one. I was very wrong. Within a short amount of time my parents made it known that they despised David. And for the following five years they did everything in their power to tear us apart. It was horrible, stressful, a nightmare. They’d tear into David and then he’d tell me that it was okay, “Forgive them. I know what it’s like to lose a parent. Keep trying to make it work with them.” And so, we’d keep trying to make my parents see what a great guy David is and that he truly does care for me. And I’d forgive them.

With an already fragile gastrointestinal system, the stress from trying to please them made my health plummet. The pain was so harsh I could hardly walk and food would stay trapped inside my system for weeks. I was literally rotting from the inside out. And after spending six years trying to get a diagnosis for why my health just kept getting worse, I received one (more on that here and here). David stood by me through it all. He went with me to all of my appointments, helped me try new therapies, anything I needed, David was there. By this time, I had been living in Athens, GA for about eight months. And while I was suffering physically and in many ways emotionally, I was still incredibly happy with David.

He selflessly took care of me, loved me, encouraged me and never once complained. When I needed him, he was there. And he always had a smile on his face and an encouraging word. It was through this, that I learned what unconditional love is. I had never been shown such kindness and love before this time.

I eventually had to make a choice, school or my health. I wanted to live, so I chose my health. My parents were not happy with this decision and cut me off. David, once again, stood by me and paid for all of my expenses. He paid for my living expenses, my medical expenses, and anything I wanted or needed. He never once made me feel indebted to him and he once again did it all because he loved me. No strings attached. He amazes me.

After spending a year and a half without my parents and under David’s care and love. My health improved. I was slowly, but steadily getting better. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be right, but at least I was better. David and I took a spur of the moment trip to Paris and it invigorated me. And on April 29, our last day in Paris, David proposed. It was perfect and I was so very happy.

My parents and I reconciled some months after the proposal. We had a common goal, Papa was getting worse, and I wanted him to be there for my wedding. Within three months we had chosen Eureka Springs, AR (a short distance from Papa) for the wedding location. And magically, Thorncrown Chapel had an opening on March 29, 2014. David and I rented a historic mansion for the groomsmen, my parents booked a historic Victorian home for the bridesmaids and we had a beautiful destination wedding. The weekend was full of love and good times with our family and closest friends. It was perfect. And most importantly, Papa got to see it. It had been a long time since I’d seen him smile so much.

David and I had a small reprieve from sadness and then as you all know, last June we were given the news that Brielle wouldn’t survive. Our relationship has seen some very trying times. It has made us stronger, patient, loving, forgiving, and thankful. I don’t know where my life would be right now if I didn’t know David. He has loved me through it all. He has never judged me. He has never been critical. Everything he has done for me has been out of pure unconditional love. He is such a rarity and there are times when I can’t believe that he is my husband.

He asks me all the time, “Why me? Why are you still with me?” And I look at him like he’s lost his mind. I love him. I chose him, because he is the good guy. He’s the best. He’s selfless, gentle, kind, considerate, strong, sensitive, passionate, loving, an amazing father. I could go on and on. And what I really should be asking is, “Why me? Why has he stayed with me? Through everything I’ve put him through, why me?”

If you ever wonder why I have faith, this is why. This is one of many reasons why. I have no doubt that God brought David into my life. And I am eternally grateful. David has blessed me and loved me more than I deserve. I often say to him, “Best husband!” Because he really is, he’s better than I could have hoped for. Happy anniversary David.