Shannon here: Nonfiction author, Becky Jacoby shares how she met her husband, the proposal, and their battle with illness. Every comment on this post goes in the drawing for Sherri Johnson’s historical romance e-book, To Dance Once More. Deadline: April 28th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Becky:
Looking Beyond the Obstacles
I spied three couples and a great-looking guy with big blue eyes in the classroom. I felt God literally tap me on the shoulder and say, “Pay attention to that man.” I didn’t think the man noticed me, and I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but we started talking. As we got to know each other better, I began to appreciate his heart. When he learned I was a widow, he worked up the nerve to ask me if it was “appropriate for a 50-year-old man” to ask me out. I replied, “Why not? How old do you think I am?” After a long pause to my gauche question, he spoke a number that was 10 years below my age. Suddenly, I liked him more.
Due to conflicting schedules, our first date took place three months later on Friday, December 13th when the weather was like ink and glass. Bob took me to a lovely restaurant. Neither of us ate much because we couldn’t stop talking. He fascinated me. A gentleman, too, he walked me to my apartment door—it had started snowing—hugged me goodbye, and waved to my teenage son who had opened the door to supervise. By Christmas Eve, we had declared our feelings for each other.
Bob told me he had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Early on, he graciously afforded me the opportunity to back out of our relationship. I already knew I loved him. Kiddingly, I told him he wasn’t getting off that easily. Though he laughed, we discussed candidly what MS might mean to our future.
We became engaged a year later at the same restaurant, same table. He brought me one perfect red rose and a beautiful card. After dinner, instead of ordering dessert, our waitress placed a small cake in front of me with “Becky, will you marry me?” scrolled in pink icing. Without missing a beat, cheered by whistles and applause from staff and patrons, he descended to one knee waiting for my reply. The he slipped a gorgeous diamond on my finger. A photo of the cake shows up regularly on our computer screensaver slideshow.
We planned for a June wedding. We designed our invitations and ceremonial program and prepared a slide show of special people in our lives which we ended with Scripture from Song of Solomon. My son and daughter escorted me down the aisle to Martina McBride’s rendition of Valentine. After our vows were spoken, Bob stood before the congregation to testify how God had brought us together. A long-time bachelor, he instantly became a first-time husband, father to a teenage son and young adult daughter, and a grandfather. For months afterward, he told our story to unsuspecting people everywhere who listened and walked away uplifted.
Life sailed along for the first three years. Then, one morning, Bob told me about an issue he had experienced that caused alarm. The doctor confirmed bladder cancer and scheduled surgery to remove the tumor. Considering the encroaching effects of MS, this was hard to hear. The diagnosis reminded me I had lost my grandfather, my mother and my aunt to cancer. I prayed to keep my husband. Because of how this disease had impacted my life, I produced Beating Cancer, an anthology of survivor stories. My husband’s is included.
God has been faithful to answer many of our prayers. Nearly five years later, Bob remains cancer free, and though his MS has advanced, it seems stabilized. People remark about the love that flows from our relationship. We seem to share one heart, answer each other’s thoughts and agree on most everything. This June, we will celebrate our eighth anniversary, and Bob still finds occasions to tell our story, especially to those who need encouragement. What a gift my marriage is! I’m so glad I listened to God.
About Becky: Becky Jacoby writes for many online and print venues. In addition to the anthology Beating Cancer, she is currently accepting submissions for an anthology of dog rescue stories and working on a mystery/thriller novel. She resides in coastal North Carolina with her husband, Bob, a rescued Labrador Retriever and a Boxer mix. She mentors at-risk youth, has assisted abused women, led marriage preparation teams and taught graphic design.
About the book: Beating Cancer contains the intimate stories of 22 cancer survivors who share their journey to encourage others who have received a cancer diagnosis.