January 14th, 2000 was the day that I met Laura.
That same day, 16 years later, I lost her.
I have no explanation for this even after double-checking dates, digging through bins and spending hours on the web to make sure I wasn’t just making this up. The greatest day of my life and the worst day of my life are one in the same.
January 14th, 2000 was a great day. I met the love of my life, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the planning committee for a local advertising group, and we were having a big event that night. That evening, I sat at the front table welcoming people with Laura’s boss. I looked up at one point to see this petite and beautiful woman walking in wearing a leopard patterned jacket. There was an air of confidence as she walked into the room and I immediately knew I had to meet her. Her boss introduced us and Laura instantly went into networking mode, asking me questions that I vaguely remember because her beauty and confidence entranced me and left me breathless. I looked like a mouth-breathing neanderthal as I just stared at her and tried to form complete sentences. I’m typically not like this which adds even more to the moment.
After Laura had finished “networking” with me, we said our farewells and she went on her way. I wasn’t exactly smooth with my words as she walked away, I was still trying to recover from these strange feelings that overcame me when we met. Usually, I’d have some witty or charming comment then I’d flash my smile. Not today, I think I blubbered something that might have been English, but I’m confident it sounded like Chewbacca.
Later that evening as we were wrapping up, Laura came back up to the table and told her boss and I that they were heading up the street to a local establishment that is now closed (Tangerine, for those who care). Once we arrived at the bar, we all sat down as a group and hung out. As the night progressed, the group became smaller, and people started to leave. Laura and I continued to talk. We talked the entire evening and while I can’t remember the whole conversation I do know that everything just felt right the whole night. Our conversation eventually shifted from networking to getting to know one another on a more personal level. It was at that point that I asked her out, and she graciously said yes. We talked a little more, and then I walked her to her car. We talked for another 2 hours in her car until we both realized it was almost 4 am. I then gave her a soft kiss goodnight and told her I’d see her soon.
Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends.
That same day is also the day I lost my true love 16 years later; it was the darkest day of my life. One that I’ve rehashed a million times in my head. I witnessed my wife take her last breath, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that moment. However, I won’t let the negativity of that day tarnish all of the memories that matter most.
January 14, 2000, wasn’t just a great day, it was the day I found true love, and it served as a launching pad for many new experiences. I have no logical explanation for why I found and lost true love on the same day. I was my biggest skeptic once I realized this fact about our relationship and sought out advice from people who base their life on logic and those who base their life on faith. All agreed that it was nothing short of amazing, and I agree. I believe there are some things in this world where logic and faith become intertwined, dependent on one another, and are better left unexplained and not overthought.
Much like December 5th, cancer will take a backseat on January 14th. The day I met an amazing woman, who immediately took my breath away. When that day arrives in 2017, I will choose not to grieve but to remember the past with fondness and unconditional love. I will continue to climb and remember everything great about that day, while proclaiming, “Fuck you cancer, this is our day.”