Twelve years ago on this special date, Mark asked me to be his wife and to spend the rest of my life with him.
I thought it was just an ordinary day. We had planned to watch the Oscars at his apartment that evening and he told me I should bring over all my laundry so that we could wash and fold while we critiqued the best and worst dressed red carpet attendees of 2004.
This was actually a little unusual because Mark often did my laundry for me and delivered it clean and folded to my doorstep on Monday mornings. Yes, he really did that! He sure knew the direct path to win a girl’s heart, right?
I opened the door to his apartment that evening to the most romantic sight that I had ever seen with my own eyes. Mark was standing in the dimly lit kitchen, surrounded by candles. Tea lights on the countertop spelled the words I ❤ U. Floored by the gesture I asked, “What are you up to?” He motioned to his bedroom, which was filled with flowers and rose petals and photos of us, which were spread out all over the bed. One corner of the bed remained empty and Mark motioned for me to sit there while he swiftly knelt down on one knee. As he reached into his pocket, the words flowed from his lips and landed upon my heart, “Erin, I really wanted to take you on vacation and plan an elaborate, over-the-top proposal, but I bought the ring this morning and I couldn’t wait another minute to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Of course my answer was a resounding YES and I quickly learned that Mark had called both my mom and dad for permission to marry me. He then explained he had ordered take-out for us and that we would go pick it up and spend a quiet evening at home as planned, now reveling in the blissful excitement of our future together. Much to my amazement, when we arrived at our favorite hangout to pick up our dinner, a crowd of friends were waiting to congratulate us and celebrate. Mark had also planned this impromptu surprise party as part of his expression of love and devotion to me.
I’ve learned so much from loving and losing Mark. I’ve learned that love is so much more than those three little words quietly whispered at bedtime. Love is anchored by action, by the things we do to demonstrate our devotion each and every day. I’ve learned that where you invest your love, you invest your life. I have learned that all we ever have is now and to trust that an ending is followed by a beginning… And when it is all finished, you will discover it was never random.