We Move Together
Allison and I took our wedding vows 14 years ago today. For years, we did what happily married, childless couples do. We spent time with friends, went to dinner and to shows, moved from place to place and generally mapped out what the rest of our lives would look like. When the girls were born and we realized that Livy had another plan for us, we were left meandering into uncharted territory. Quite often under these circumstances, couples stand at a crossroad; do they continue on together or go their separate ways. The harsh reality is that a very high percentage of marriages crumble under the weight of such a life changing event.
The book Somewhere in Heaven tells the amazing story of Christopher and Dana Reeve. Christopher Reeve passed away on October 10, 2004 and his wife Dana passed away only 17 months later on March 6, 2006. Many people remember Chris Reeve as Superman from the big screen. However, not enough people know the story of the super person he was and the lives he affected after his horse riding accident on May 25, 1995 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Perhaps overshadowed in the media by all that Chris did was his relationship with Dana. She was his rock and his hero. She was always there to raise his spirits, to encourage him and to help him believe that he had a purpose. They inspired each other and the world by the hurdles they overcame, the lives they changed and the committed marriage they shared.
At the hospital, shortly after Chris underwent the lengthy surgery that reconnected his skull to his spine, Dana told him that she meant what she said the day they got married…in sickness and in health, till death do us part. Hearing those words allowed Chris to begin his recovery and to subdue his thoughts of ending his life. They were a true team in every sense of the word. They went on to support a myriad of causes and created the Christopher Reeve Foundation which upon Dana’s passing, was renamed to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The organization is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. They were voices of change and champions for individuals with disabilities.
On the surface, what the Reeve’s left us was an inspiring story of activism and use of Hollywood influence to make a difference. But when digging deeper, it was much more than that. It was a story of mutual respect, admiration and devotion. Chris and Dana were crazy for each other from the moment they met. They made it through the toughest of times because theirs was a story of true love and never giving up hope.
I wish that every husband and wife team dealing with a disability could be as exemplary. They were role models in every sense of the word. I hope and pray that Allison and I can become even a fraction of what the Reeves represented. We have chosen to move together through the maze which we are now walking and that decision is the first step. We have become stronger as a result, navigating the numerous dead ends and pitfalls that are encountered while raising a child with special needs. We are completely honest with each other and talk at length about what our expectations are for the future. Some things we are sure about and others are left to be uncovered. We have come to terms with the fact that our daughters will follow very different paths as they grow and develop.
But the foundation upon which all else becomes possible is our complete and undaunted love for each other. It is the basis for all we do. It shows in how we raise Hailey and Livy. From Hailey’s never ending happiness to Livy’s progress, care and smile. Livy’s Hope is a manifestation of how we want to live our lives together, what we have learned as a couple and the importance we place on sharing our story with others. None of this would be possible if we did not have the respect, appreciation and love for each other that fill our world. Of course we have stressful days and arguments like all couples do. But we find that the way our arguments transpire is an indication of the underlying strength of our relationship. We are never cruel or condescending. We respect the other’s opinion and try to find common ground as hard as that may be.
We have been given a gift in Livy that we never could have expected. Livy has brought out emotions in us that we did not know existed or could exist. Our marriage has been tested as well as our courage and endurance as individuals. But in the end, we move together as one to try and make a difference in each other, our family, our friends and others in need. I am so happy and honored to be walking this path with my best friend. I would not want it any other way.
Happy Anniversary Allison!
I Love you!
Thanks for reading!
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Happy Anniversary to you both! Your story is inspirational. I stand in awe of your positive spirit. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. Hugs to your beautiful girls!
Happy Anniversary to you both! You are a positive example to all marrried couples that those vows are not to be taken lightly. I so much enjoy reading about all of you and your journey together. You are inspiring and helping alot of people!
Happy Anniversary to you both! What a beautiful anniversary gift to each other. May God continue to Bless You and Yours!!!!
Lovely letter...words to cherish. Day late, but still wishing you both a Happy Anniversary for all years.
Happy Anniversary to you both! You touch my emotions with each posting. You are a strong force for each other and in your own ways, you are Superman, Superwoman and Superchild.