Love in the refining fire
I met him when I was fifteen. Just about to start high school and as awkward as ever. Somehow we became friends. Even though I thought he was kind of nerdy and, from what I can gather, he thought I was completely fake. As the years passed I developed a huge crush on him. We went on dates and he took me to my senior prom but we never did the ‘dating’ thing. He was my best friend. He went on a mission and I went away to college. I dated. We wrote. When he came home we started to date for real and were married a year later.
As the months passed I realized that I had struck gold. He didn’t get mad when I expected him to get mad. He held me when I had emotional meltdowns. At one point I wondered how he could love me when he knew all of my imperfections. I responded to this question in a negative way, by basically being a brat (unintentionally, but a brat nonetheless). He hugged me and told me that he was in this for good. No matter what.
Not all marriages experience the “no matter what” in the third year. But we did. We had been married almost two years when we decided to start our family. Everything went smoothly and we got pregnant right when we wanted too. It wasn’t until a few months later that we had an ultrasound and discovered we were having twins, but one of them didn’t have a heart. Our twins had a rare condition called TRAP sequence and a week after finding this out my sweet husband and I were on a plane to San Francisco for a complicated fetal surgery. We lost Porter, our second twin, that week. Five weeks later we lost Isaac. Our healthy twin. I didn’t realize the depth of my love for my husband until I watched him cradle his dead babies. Looking up from my hospital bed and watching how he looked at them. It’s indescribable, but it was absolutely the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I knew then what I thought I had known on our wedding day. I too, am in this for good. No matter what.
The days have ticked by. Slowly at first. In the beginning Jacob and I would watch the clock, hold each other, and then one of us would ask, “Can we go to bed now?” We forced ourselves to get through each day. Almost three months later we do a little better. I slowly grew used to Jacob returning to work and to school. On the days I can’t handle him leaving me, he doesn’t. We have loved each other our entire marriage, but losing our children has taught us that we need each other. We rely on each other more than we rely on anyone else. We rely on each other for comfort and for unlimited understanding. We are able to talk about our situation in only the way that we can. When people get married I think they imagine all of the wonderful things marriage entails. But all of the beauty of marriage, the closeness, and the strength doesn’t come from the easy times. It comes from the struggle. No matter what the struggles are, they will come and they have the power to bind us together or tear us apart. I love my husband now more than I have ever loved him because we are surviving this crazy unpredictable world together, and I know without a doubt that I can handle anything with him by my side.
By Kimberly Palmer