I met my husband, Dave, in 1972. We both worked at a bank in Wooster, and hit it off the minute we met. There was no romance, just a great friendship. We had the same sense of humor, the same interests, and we could talk for hours. We talked about movies, auto racing, politics, history, food, the strange way banks operated, and hundreds of other things. We worked together for a few years, then we lost track of each other.
In 1986, we were both single, when we met at an auto race. We walked all around the race course and talked and laughed and decided we would try dating. We dated sporadically for about 8 months, but eventually I decided to move to Pittsburgh, which caused Dave to say, “PIttsburgh? Why Pittsburgh? I just left Pittsburgh. I really don’t want to go back there.” So off I went on my own.
There was seldom a week that I didn’t think of Dave and wonder where he was and what he was doing. I married someone else and we had two daughters. It was not a good marriage, but I stayed there for 12 years. In 2002, my daughters and I moved to an apartment in Akron. It wasn’t easy, but we made it through one challenge after another, and still managed to have a wonderful time together every day.
Many times, I felt very sad that I had had two wonderful parents, who constantly showed me what a solid, loving marriage could be, but somehow I had made 2 bad choices. I often told the girls about my friend, Dave, and all the fun we had had together. Kylia, my oldest, always said, “Why didn’t you marry him? You talk about him all the time.” I explained that we were just good friends.
In September, 2010, I took the girls to the county fair in Wooster. I saw several people I had worked with at the bank, and asked each of them if they knew what Dave was doing now, or if he was still in the area. No one knew. When we went home, I looked on Facebook. I had looked there so often in the past 24 years, but never found him. That night, when I searched, I found him. Should I send a friend request? Yes! Nooo. Yes! Uhhhhh, no! Finally, I sent it and went to bed. The next morning I checked my Facebook and there was a message from Dave, “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you for so long.”
On that day, he was on his way to a Motorcycle Dealers rallly in Lake George, New York. He emailed me and said he would call me that night. When the phone rang, we both recognized each other’s voices immediately. We talked as though we had never been apart. I think we both knew at that moment, that this had just turned into more than friendship.
While he was in New York, we texted, emailed and talked on the phone. He told me that when he opened his email on the day he was heading to Lake George, he came very close to cancelling and coming to see me instead.
When he returned from the convention, we agreed we would meet at an Applebee’s Restaurant halfway between our homes. I saw him pull his truck into the parking lot of Applebee’s. I recognized him immediately, even though we hadn’t seen each other in over 25 years. I walked to his truck and when he got out, we couldn’t stop hugging each other. We finally made it into the restaurant, but we couldn’t eat. He ordered a soft drink and I ordered coffee. When we finally left Applebee’s, the soft drink and the coffee were still on the table, untouched.
By the next time we saw each other, we both knew that we wanted to get married. My daughters, Kylia and Kari, were shocked! “How can you marry him? It’s just your second date!” I explained how long we had known each other, but they were still a little leary of this whole deal. After a few more dates, they met him, and they saw that he really was a very nice guy.
I had given a lot of thought to why I had not made good choices in the past, and had decided when the girls and I had moved to Akron, that I needed to make a list of the qualities that were really important in a man I would want to marry. I had 63 things on my list. Here are a few:
- loves me unconditionally, just as I am.
- loves my daughters as if they were his own
- trusts me and I trust him
- enjoys travelling as a family
- shares my love of sports
- and 53 more qualities
I had also written a list of qualities that I had seen in my parents’ marriage:
- They adored each other.
- They respected each other.
- They were romantic
- They agreed that there would be no cross words between them, or in their home.
- They constantly told their children how much they loved each other, and how grateful they were to be together.
- They were devoted to each other.
Dave not only had all 63 qualities on my list, but on the night he asked me to marry him, he looked me in the eyes and said, “There will be no cross words between us, or in our home. We will have a home that is peaceful and loving.” He said it exactly the way my dad had always said it.
I felt we were meant to be together, and so did he.
There were a few monkey wrenches in our plans to get married, but finally we set the date. We wanted to get married in our home, and Dave reminded me frequently to “keep it simple.” I told him I wanted our daughters to be there, and he agreed with that. Then he decided that my sister and her husband, who had met Dave back in 1986 should be there. I agreed. His sister was flying in from Hawaii to visit their father who was hospitalized, so she would be there, also. I had one dear friend, who threatened to storm the wedding if she wasn’t invited, so Dave reluctantly agreed she could there, too. I talked him into one more, and then he suggested yet another friend. A total of 9 friends and family members would be there.
We found a wedding officiant online, who had wonderful reviews, and he agreed to perform the ceremony. We met with Rev Chris at Panera, and chose the ceremony that seemed right for us. He asked if we wanted anything more, and we told him we would love to have our story told. He said that he would be glad to do it. The more we told him, the more excited and amazed he was. Especially when we said that we had both been looking for each other for almost 25 years, and that during those 25 years, Dave had dreamed about me or the bank where we had worked over and over. He said he had seen my picture on the wall of my school, and then continued to see that picture in his dreams, over and over. The interesting thing was that it was a large picture of me, not the class picture with all the little photos. And the name on the photo was Ruth Miller, not Ruth Yoder. I’m not convinced that there ever was a picture of me on the wall in my high school, other than the one with pictures of all of my classmates He was so confused as to why he would be dreaming about me. He still thought of me as his “buddy.” And that’s the way I thought of him.
Rev. Chris was scribbling furiously, and staring at us with wide eyes. Dave went on to tell him that the night before he received my friend request, he was at one of the lowest points in his life. The economy had crashed, and his motorcycle business was caught in the crossfire. The next morning, when he opened the Facebook email notification, he saw my smiling face, and instantly, he knew that I was the one. His horoscope for that day read: “Many years ago, you had a choice to make. The Universe does not often give do-overs, but you’re getting a second chance. The stars are screaming: “Gift from above. Gift from above.” I’m not sure why I even looked at his horoscope that day, but it definitely got my attention.
We were married in our family room, a beautiful, airy and light-filled room, with a beautiful view of our backyard. It was a day filled with tears of joy. Rev. Chris was very emotional and had to struggle to keep his composure as he told our story, and guided us through our vows. We were equally emotional, and so were our daughters and guests.
We turned the family room into our bedroom, because it’s such a beautiful room. We kept the huge ribbon on the wall that marked the spot where we had stood for our wedding ceremony. We are so happy to sleep on the spot where we pledged our love and committment to each other.
Each day, since the day we were reunited, as been filled with love and joy, that has increased each moment. Every morning, we tell each other, how much we love our life together. There have been no “cross words” in that entire time. Each day has been absolutely blissful. We are so sure of each other’s love. I’ve never known love, peace, joy and contenttment like this.
At times, I’m so angry. Other times, so deeply saddened. And many times, I think, that i am so fortunate that we are together, and I know that Kylia and Kari will have Dave and his daughter, Kelly, to be with them through this time of great loss. It would have been so much worse, if it had just been my daughters and I. And I know that all three of our daughters will be there for Dave.
I am grateful for that, but the overwhelming sense of loss is sometimes more than i can bear. Dave has a way of cheering me up and making me laugh when I am most sad, but as the days pass, we spend a lot of time just holding each other. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes it hurts so much, there are no tears.
I could not get through this without Dave’s unconditional love for me, and his constant support and tenderness, and his wacky sense of humor. I am so happy we are married. I am grateful for tthe depth and richness of our love.
Rev. Chris tells me that he is sharing our love story with everyone he knows and that many people are being inspired by it. I’m very happy about that. We are both filled with regrets and sadness that we didn’t find each other much sooner, although we are grateful for every single moment we have been together.
There were many lonely days and nights during the years we were apart. Even in crowds of laughing friends, there was still a loneliness. When we found each other, the loneliness disappeared. We go everywhere together. We share each moment of the day, and love every second. And now, we are faced with a future that is something we never imagined.
It’s wonderful to inspire people, but I am devastated by the price we are paying.
I have to focus on every good thing I find in the midst of this anguish.
I am grateful that all of you now know our story.