today's story is all about B's parents, a story of selflessness, devotion, and endless love...
M (B's dad) and D (B's mom) met in college. it was a whirlwind romance that quickly led them to the alter, where they promised to stand by each other, support each other, and love each other for time and all eternity, not only in this mortal existence, but stretching into time unknown.
their love endured many adventures, like finishing school, raising 7 children (including 2 back-to-back sets of twins), serving in various unpaid capacities for our church (including serving as mission president in california), and traveling the world.
i met them for the first time at the airport in salt lake city. they were returning home from teaching english in china for 2 years, though it was their second time out there. B and i were already engaged (neither of us met each other's parents until after we were already engaged. weird, huh?), so, after the initial introductions and hugs, the first thing his mom said to me was, "how can i help?"
that was D in a nutshell, immediately accepting, eager to give service, and quick to love with her whole heart. i loved her back just as quickly. she was a kindred spirit, it seemed. she and i could talk for hours about everything and nothing. we would sit on her bed, watching old movies, and crocheting, just enjoying spending time together while B and M were out playing golf. her company was easy and relaxed. she was a perfect mother-in-law and i loved her like a second mother.
|i had the chance to shoot M & D while on our trip to UT|
i had less than a year with her before she got sick. it was cancer and, though it didn't take her life, it stole her away just the same.
after surgery to remove the tumor, the chemo was delayed in being given. her immune system, not knowing that the cancer was gone, went haywire, attacking her nervous system. the chemo finally stopped the internal battle, but not before it left her in a semi-vegetative state. her muscle control was nearly wiped out, also affecting her speech, which came out in difficult breaths that were hard to decipher. almost entirely paralyzed from head to toe, but mentally the same, she became trapped inside her own body.
thus began their most difficult adventure of all. M was adamant that he would care for D himself, refusing to put her in a nursing home or some other facility (not that anyone encouraged him to).
this was in 2003. so, for the past 9 years, he has fed her, combed her hair, dressed her, bathed her, helped her with her daily physical therapy, cleaned up after her, and carried her...all without expecting anything in return. M's life is one of sacrifice, service, and devotion. his is an example that i can only describe as christ-like.
the love that M and D have for one another is beyond measure. the way he sits and talks to her, telling her how beautiful she is and how much he loves her, is filled with sincerity...and the way she looks back at him, offering a few breathy words, speaks volumes.
theirs is a story of true love.
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