A day to remember

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Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, celebrating the end of the French occupation of Mexico in 1862. It also was a special day for my husband and me. We reached one year of wedded bliss.

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, celebrating the end of the French occupation of Mexico in 1862. It also was a special day for my husband and me. We reached one year of wedded bliss.

We met when I was in veterinary school. While visiting Pennsylvania and looking for a place to live, I became frustrated that there were so few rentals that allowed pets. Back in my hotel room, I wondered what I was doing in this borough with no friends or family. Later that night, I met Mark by chance, and he agreed to have dessert with me the next evening.

Before leaving Pennsylvania, Mark and I also went to Philadelphia. The original plan was to see a local band play, but when the city was blasted with 22 inches of snow the show was canceled. The roads were hazardous so Mark stayed with me, and we talked through the night. I was sad to see him leave.

Several trips back and forth from Pennsylvania to Iowa in the next few months strengthened our bond, and we were excited for graduation day to arrive. On May 6, 2006, I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. Mark was the first to call me and congratulate me and the first to call me doctor. The Monday after graduation, I was impatient to start the trip east with my life packed up in a moving truck.

Our relationship blossomed that summer. We experienced so much together, and every aspect of it was new and exciting. By early fall, we picked out engagement and wedding bands and talked about planning an island destination wedding. The official proposal was yet to come.

While hiking on trails off of Skyline Drive in Virginia, Mark proposed. There, on the path, were the words "Will you marry me?" written in the dirt path. He got down on one knee.

The wedding plans began in earnest after that, although I did not have to do much of it. I contacted a destination-wedding planner, and she did most of the work. Things were buzzing along until December. On the day before New Year's Eve, our worlds turned upside down when both of us discovered we would not be working anytime soon.

I spent New Year?s Eve in the hospital with Mark, where he had five fractures in his arm surgically repaired. I had just lost my first job as a veterinarian after only eight months, but I was more concerned about my fianc. I only wanted to see him come out of surgery safely.

After analyzing our situation, Mark and I changed our wedding plans and opted instead for a hometown wedding.

In the meantime, I was sending out resumes, hoping to find the right position as an associate veterinarian. After several interviews, I took a job in Lancaster County. As it turned out, Mark was cleared to return to work the same day that I started my career at Smoketown Veterinary Hospital.

Four days before our wedding, I was on the floor in the treatment area performing a physical exam on a surgical patient. A large dog that had shown no previous signs of aggression attempted to maul me when I listened to his heart and lungs. I remember tucking and rolling out of the way, hiding my face with my hands. The first thought through my mind was, "Oh (expletive), I am getting married in four days. Please save my face for the pictures!" I remember my boss telling me that I looked a little white when I finally arose from the floor. Being a veterinarian, you never know what you will face on a daily basis. It?s never boring.

The day of our wedding in Ohio, it rained. The rain stopped, though, for the ceremony and the hour or so after leaving the church. I remember the feeling that I had when entered the sanctuary with my father, seeing my groom for the first time. As he held my hands during our vows, tears were in our eyes.

I?m certain that everything happens for a reason. Although losing my job and his broken bones were huge blows, we found a way to make it work. We had a beautiful wedding filled with memories that we will share for a lifetime. One year later, we're happy with our lives.

Mark, I love you.

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