*This is a continuation of prior posts. If you would like to read this meaty story from the beginning, please click on the following links below*
10. Triple Graces
The death of nana hit pretty hard. The next week would be a pretty interesting one; it was a mix of emotions ranging from readjusting to the Eastern Time Zone followed by having to to mourn the loss of a woman who truly felt like grandmother. Everything just happened so fast, and it felt as if there was never anytime to process it all. The last time I saw nana alive was in hospice. The last time I ever heard her voice was in that hospice. Time moved differently in that place, so to leave for San Diego, and return to my normal life in Boston was pretty jarring. Regardless, much work still had to be done. Around the time her health hit the shitter, I had been and continued to discern when the right time to propose was. I was hoping to wait until our second anniversery, but then I moved that up by a few months when my love made it clear that it didn’t have to be that late.
The timing of nana’s death created an interesting complication; a good complication, but still a complication. Getting nana’s blessing on her death bed wounded up drastically moving up my proposal schedule. Her passing made me realize how short life was. I knew I needed to get her parent’s blessings, but I keep being a wuss about it. Every time there was a golden opportunity to ask I’d freak out, and then shut down. Many of these opportunities would present themselves. It’s like that clique scene in movies when someone is in the same place as their crush, but they freak out, and runaway one of the best opportunities they get. The very idea of asking was nerve racking. I knew her parents liked me, I was just super nervous. A part of it was me being self conscious, because some days I still wonder if I’m a good person.
The other thing that freaked me out was asking her dad. Her dad is a good guy, but it’s really hard for me to connect with older men. Remnants of the abuse I endured from my dad unfortunately messes with me, and this was one of the nasty side effects. Regardless of my fears, I had to be a man. This was the woman whom I was certain I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, making that move required me to grow some balls. The perfect opportunity presented itself on a Sunday afternoon. After a football game, my love went upstairs to change for church. Her dad was chilling in the room watching the rest of another game. It was now, or never. I could feel my heart racing as I was getting ready to form the words. I was SWEATING! I was at war with myself for those words to come out. I finally asked, and he said yes and gave me a hug.
My heart would still be racing long after we left for church. I had to keep a straight face so that my love wouldn’t start asking questions I wasn’t ready to answer. Later that evening while my love was taking a nap, I went down stairs to ask her mother. That one was a lot easier. I feel way more comfortable around women, so I didn’t break a sweat. She of course said yes, and that she would be glad to have me as a son in law. With one task down, it was time to ready the ring, and get a date down for a proposal.
11. One Ring to Rule All
I finally had in hand the ring I planned on proposing with, but I still didn’t have a date. I started asking some of my married friends about proposing when one asked to me with me for dinner to chat face to face. We met up at a restaurant when we started discussing marriage, and proposals. One important piece of advice he gave me was to do something she liked, and not go with a proposal that seemed cool in my head. My original plan was to propose on the feast of the Holy Family in front of a statue for VERY OBVIOUS REASONS. After thinking on what my friend had mentioned, I decided to change things up.
She loved the outdoors, and there was only one place I could think of proposing. A year prior, we had went to the Quechee Gorge in Vermont. It was a place she had been to as a kid, and there were some rocks on the river that made for a perfect spot to propose. There was one complication that would further move up the proposal date. It’s colder in Vermont than it is in down in Boston, and going on those rocks would get complicated if there’s ice. With that in mind, that narrowed down the date to the second Saturday in November. I was also told by my friend that I should give the ring a polish. I would wound up taking the ring to Heftz & Sons where they would make the ring look like new.
Having that ring in hand made it all feel real. There was a chill that came over me as I opened the box. Now there was one thing left to do, I had to set everything in motion.
A few days later, I asked my love if she wanted to go up to the Quechee Gorge. She instantly knew what was going down, so there was no surprising her. It doesn’t help that it’s impossible to keep a straight face around her, that and she can read me like a book. Regardless, there was a job that needed to be done. It was time to make that leap of faith once more.
11. The Day The Sun Died?
I made sure to check the weather many times that week, just to make sure that the weather would be ideal for the proposal. The forecast had said NOTHING about precipitation. Unfortunately, New England weather is as inconsistent as NFL sanctions handed out by Roger Goodell. That morning I went out to Natick to pray at the chapel where this journey began; it was only fitting. I would later drive up to her place to pick her up. Unfortunately, it started to rain. This definitely wasn’t in the forecast; it felt as if the weather was fucking with me. The showers would come on and off, and I just hopped that I would catch a break.
I got to her place as the sky started to get gray. I figured things would get better when went further north, but they didn’t. Not only did it start to rain more, there was snow in some spots as I went deeper into New Hampshire. It was pretty obvious God was testing my patience, and I wasn’t having any part it. In I head I remember begging God for some better weather. What’s normally a two hour drive felt like an eternity. I know she knew what was coming, and yet my nerves were throwing haymakers. I just wanted some damn sun, I just wanted this proposal to go well. I knew she would appreciate the proposal, i just kept putting unnecessary pressure on myself.
As we pulled up to the parking lot, I could feel my heart doing some intense gymnastics. Simone Biles would win silver in a competition against my heart in those moments. We went into a general store to get some mittens, because the gloves I had weren’t cutting it. I should note that mittens are WAY BETTER THAN GLOVES. Seriously, mittens have changed my life. Anyways, we would make our way down the gorge trying to look for those rocks we sat on the last time we were here. Much to my dismay, the dam further up the river released water which increased the tide. I would have to improvise, and find a secluded spot, but I had no luck finding anything good.
As we made our way around, I would find a nice spot by the river. From there, I would begin what I had planned for a while. I started reading to her from that book of letters I wrote to my future wife a year prior. As I read, people kept walking into the spot we were at. I really didn’t want anyone to be there when I popped the question. The whole reason for me even coming to this place was to get away from people. As I finished, people started to leave, and then I spilled my feelings. Afterwards, I proposed. She said yes, or otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. When she said yes, something pretty wild happened; the damn sun finally cracked through the clouds. The timing was way too perfect to be a coincidence. I asked for sun, and got it when I needed it the most.
Afterwards we got all mushy and such. I mean we were GROSS! Shit even I would tell us to get a room with how mushy we got. There was a mix of excitement, and nerves as we were finally moving to the next stage on what has been a pretty epic journey. It was like that moment in an old PS1 JRPG where you got to the end of a disc, and it was time to move on the the next disc, and everything in the following disc is exciting and new.
There are about six more months until we finally tie the knot. I’ve dealt with a barrage of emotions ranging from excited, nervous, happy, and overwhelmed. There isn’t anyone else I’d rather spend the rest of my life with. I don’t how to creatively conclude this, so I will leave y’all with some of my favorite pics from the course of our relationship.
This is the first picture we took together days after we made the relationship official. We got so gross in the bar, we couldn’t come back.
This one was taken in San Diego on the beach.
This picture was taken at a gala we went to that benefits an order called the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Around this time, I started dealing with body image issues. I enjoyed how this picture came out, and it gave me a bit of confidence.
We took this pic together at the same gorge a year prior.
This was taken right after a Spartan Race she participated in. She looked pretty badass, and I kind of want to frame this one.
And just some other pics of her being goofy.
Just one more picture of the ring, because DAMN that looks pretty.