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Love, what a powerful word it is! Love can rise up nations, bring the unlikely together for eternity and cure all suffering from the heart. It is also what we celebrate on Valentine’s Day each year. This is the one day that we make the public effort to show those that we love that we do, and do so for the whole of the world to see.

Each of us has many love stories that could motivate or bring tears. Today I want to share mine with you in hopes to inspire and to get you each day to remember what love is to YOU and to those around you, in hopes that you do not miss YOUR MOMENTS.

My last two years of high school I dated quite a few girls off and on, like any typical teenager. There was one though that melted my ego each time I was with her. Time would indeed stand still when we were together.  I was too young at the time to really realize what it was that I was feeling, of course, and I let the pressure of others eventually separate us.

We quit seeing each other our senior year and went our separate ways. I went into the Marine Corps in 1987. She, I found out later, had jumped into a marriage with someone while I was in boot camp. I called her when I came home on leave and she told me that she was going to be married. I wanted to see her to talk to her, to talk her out of it and set up a time to see her, but like a typical young adult I let the pressure of friends and showing off my new uniform, I never went to meet her.

I went on with my life as she did with hers. I ended up getting married as well to someone I met while I was stationed in California, which is a story in itself. I was deployed to Panama and then Iraq. I was wounded in combat and spent 3 months in the hospital in 1990. Through my travels, my trials, tribulations and my brush with death, one thought always was with me. It was of her, my love of my life and not of my wife. When I was scared, she was there with me. When I was alone, she was there. When I thought I was going to die, she was there. She was there in every thought.

After I had healed I was medically discharged from the military. I eventually came home with my then-wife and son; he was 2 at the time.

After a year of being home and a second son and getting settled in, my then wife and I ended up getting divorced and, again, that is another story in itself. I went on with my life for a few years as a single parent. As time went on, thoughts of her continued to haunt me.

In 1993 while working a night shift she was so strong on my mind. I had not spoken to her in almost 6 years but I felt such a need to try to find her. This was of course before Google so I had to resort to an old fashioned phone book. I looked her up by her maiden name and I found her. I called once, twice, and then three times. Each time I panicked when she would answer. Finally, I spoke. We talked for hours and hours.

The odd thing is that her number was supposed to be unlisted and in her married name, not her maiden name. She said that she had not used her maiden name in years. That was a sign that we were meant to be and should have always been.

It was like we had never been apart and I found that she had been thinking of me as well just as I was when she was sad, lonely, hurt and even happy. She told me that I had never left her thoughts or her heart. We dated for the next few months as I got to know her children and her mine. I decided that it did not matter how long we dated, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

She said yes when I asked her to marry me and this year it will be 18 years together. I do so love her more each day. We have had our ups and our downs. We have hurt each other from time to time. We are human, you know.

Because of her I do know what love is and can be for us all. It is something that truly connects us at a level that few can see or understand. It can indeed lift us up when we are down, comfort us when we are uncomfortable and fill our lives with LIFE and many moments.

So with that, I hope that you always show the ones that you love that you do love them each day and not just on Valentine’s Day. Be with them in mind, body and spirit. Love deserves no less.  Enjoy your MOMENTS together, the moments that you will remember forever.

Act from the heart and I wish each of you the best Valentine’s Day. I love you Gwen, more than ever!!!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” by Mark Twain