Growing up, he never knew his father. He knew that his mother had been married to the man, he knew that the man had died before he was born, but beyond that, he hadn’t asked. The memories were painful for her, and so he left them alone. Eventually, his mother moved on and their family grew…but one day, his younger sister discovered their mother’s journal. She had written out the story of her first true love…and the truth was devastatingly beautiful.
The following is a true story. The reason why I felt compelled to write the story was to tell those of you out there who have true love, not to take advantage of it the way I did. This is my story. I met John in the winter of 1982. He was 19, 6’1″ with dark brown hair, blue eyes, and a smile that could melt an iceberg. At the time I was fifteen. We didn’t spend more than a month together but that one month was very special. Little did I know it would come to change my whole life.
After he left we didn’t see or talk to each other until he came back for a visit in May, 1985. I had been having problems and was constantly getting myself in trouble. I had become an alcoholic and would do almost anything for money to buy my whiskey; even stealing from my own family. I was gone that morning when John just showed up. My mother was home and she knew how close John and I had become previously and she confided to him all the problems I had been having. When I arrived home, he had already left but said he would return so we could talk. So I waited. Nervously. I was excited to be seeing him and yet I was also scared and ashamed to face him. When he showed up later that afternoon we went for a drive so we could talk. It was like we had never been apart he was so easy to open up to and never condescending or holier than thou but honestly concerned and caring.
He asked if I could just quit drinking and I explained it wasn’t that easy. He suggested that if I could wait a few months, he would help me move over to Oregon where he could help me find work and a place to stay. But I told him the way things were going I doubted I’d be around in a few more months. But there was no saying no to this guy! He said he thought he could take care of it.
When we got back to my house, John asked if he could speak to my mom alone. To oblige, I went out to the backyard. When they called me back in about an hour later, my father had already arrived home from work and the three of them had everything worked out. I was to leave that night with John, to his home in Oregon.
I would like to say here that for one year John refused to let me drink; I quit cold turkey. If you’ve never been through it, let me tell you its pure hell. But I did it thanks to John’s support.
We went to California and camped out on John’s great-grandfather’s Old Homestead. For 10 days all we did was talk about everything we shared; our beliefs, dreams, goals and aspirations, but most of all we shared in each other’s friendship. It wasn’t hard to fall in love with this man. I thought this man was perfect in every way. Of course, it took a little longer to make him fall in love with me, but not much.
By July, we were talking about getting married. It wasn’t if, but just a matter of when. In December, we went over to Idaho to visit our families. We had been there about a week when John said he thought we should be heading home. Well the night before, the subject of marriage had come up and we agreed we should just go ahead; we’d been putting it off long enough. So I told him we couldn’t go home yet. I had bought a wedding dress that day and wanted to get married the following Saturday. I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone that shocked. Then he smiled and said it sounded like a great idea.
We were married Saturday, the 15th of December, 1985. We spent two extra days at John’s grandparents’ cabin. Then it was back home as Mr. and Mrs. John Adams. Our marriage wasn’t perfect but then I don’t know anyone’s whose is; but we were very much in love and determined to make it last forever. The time John and I spent working on that old 60 Willys Jeep, redecorating and adding on to our house, the time spent walking hand-in-hand over ice crested snow where three dogs jumped and played. How romantic our second anniversary was as we sat in bed eating fresh crab and drinking wine by candlelight.
And then I remember the day I left December 31st, 1987. How stupid it all was. We had had an argument over the most trivial thing. We both said things that hurt the other as only two people so close could. I packed my car with my clothes and left. I can still picture him clearly in my mind, standing there in the snow cold hurt and alone.
I arrived to my parents’ house on New Year’s Day. I was still so upset, I could barely tell them what had happened. All I wanted to know was if John had called, but he hadn’t. It seemed like an eternity before he finally called, though it was only a few days. Then one morning I wasn’t feeling well and was being quite the grouch. Out of the blue, my mom asked me when I had my last menstrual cycle. After a while I realized I had missed a month…. it had not occurred to me that I might be pregnant. Later that day I bought a home pregnancy test. When the results were positive I made an appointment with my doctor who confirmed the results and I was definitely pregnant.
When John called I couldn’t wait to tell him the news. He was so excited all he could say was; you’re sure? You’re kidding? I wanted to go right away but because of where we lived I couldn’t. The mines could get snowed in for months at a time so I was forced to wait.
On February 20th John called and said it looked like it was safe enough for me to finally come home. So we made plans for me to arrive in two days. He would call the next day for specific times. I waited all day but he never called. Around 9 p.m. that night there was a knock on the door. It was Deputy Brown; he asked to speak to my dad. About 15 minutes later my dad came in and told my mom to follow him. They went to their bedroom. A couple minutes went by and I heard my mom say “Oh my God no!” I instantly went numb.
My sister jumped up and said she was going to find out what was going on. I heard my mom tell my sister to leave and then she called my name. It was like everything was in slow motion (you always hear that but never believe it but it’s true) I slowly walked down the hall. I never even had to hear the words, the looks on my parents faces was enough. John was dead. He had been heading home after spending the day birthday shopping for me when the jeep hit black ice and went off the road in the river. He was killed instantly.
In that brief moment, I lost the best friend I ever had. Besides the love of my life, and the father of my unborn child. My life, of course, would never again be the same. To love someone the way John and I loved each other, with complete abandonment of thought, is something very few of us get to experience. If you ever have that chance, that kind of love, don’t treat it like it’s something that happens every day. Trust me, it doesn’t. I go on because I am a survivor and I have a beautiful little boy who looks just like his dad and whom I love very much.”
If you made it this far do me a favor if you find a love that makes every cell in your body dance. A love that sees the darkness inside you and instead of running away causes your inner light to shine bright, don’t let ego or fear of change drive I away it’s a regret that’s hard to live with.”
It was a different time, but it could easily have been a summer blockbuster at the movies. The heartbreak and passion written in the journal was enough to answer all of his questions. He shared it with the world as a way to pay tribute to the love his parents shared, and we thank him for it. This beautiful story deserves every bit of attention that it can get!
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