This one goes out to Laura.
I used to believe all romantic stuff was confined to the magic kingdom of chick flicks and novels. I mean, who can fall in love like that. Maybe once upon a time, when my parents fell in love, but modern love is not made of that anymore, or so I thought. And then I met Laura and her Mike.
Laura met Mike in 1997 after feeling hurt, angry and lonely; the usual cocktail of emotions that come after you realize the other person doesn't want to be in a relationship (or at least not with you). And by relationship, I don’t mean the modern deal of sex with something on the side. I mean the real thing. When you open, when you care, when it is not you or me but us, when you feel loved, when you feel cherished. When you get high on life.
After talking to this new guy Mike for a while, something moved inside Laura, she decided to take a risk and asked him out on a date. As a consequence, months later, while both of them were sitting near a river, Mike asked Laura to marry him.
I met them 8 years later, when I went to Rutgers, and oh boy love was in the air. They had me over for dinner more than once, and every time after crossing the door -within minutes- words like soul mates and love birds will pop out in my head. For almost 11 years, Mike’s Christmas letters to friends and family opened with “Laura and I remain joyously in love”. He was (and forever will be) her Mike, and she was (and forever will be) his Laura.
Today is Valentine’s day. Today is a day to remember and celebrate real love stories like Laura and Mike’s.
Tomorrow is Laura’s birthday. Tomorrow is a day to celebrate the life of one of the most kind and generous women I met so far in my life. A woman full of love. One of the reasons I didn’t quit my PhD adventure after that bitter cold morning of February in 2008, when I lost my academic dad and Laura lost the love of her life to a heart attack, was she telling me to keep going and staying with me during that whole semester. That’s Laura, no matter what she is going through, she is always helping others.
So here is to Laura, may the love, joy and happiness from her kids and grandkids, fill her life with laughs again.
I wish you –yes, you on the other side of the screen- find your match, that someone that gets you high on life. And when you do, I wish you be brave enough to take a risk.