Part 3 of How we Met: An end and a beginning.

July 21, 2017

(A hint that this story ends well..)

Part one here and part two here.

After the breakup
I came back from that trip feeling like I had a part of me ripped from my chest, and replaced with an anvil to sit on my lungs. If I gave a second’s thought to the fact I just said goodbye to Gabe, a pain would well up so strong that it would immediately take the form of tears streaming down my face. I know anyone who has experienced a heartbreak can grasp what it felt like. Words don’t ever seem to fairly describe it. In some ways, I felt like I was mourning the loss of the person I could never bear the thought of losing. Next to my family, Gabe had become deeply rooted into my heart and soul more than anyone else in my life. The only way to console the overwhelming dread I woke up to every morning when I realized I couldn’t see or talk to him anymore was that it was somehow for the better. Somehow, someway, I had to trust that this was the best thing for Gabe. That is all I wanted for him. To figure out who he was meant to be and find happiness in this life. I knew deep down that God had our best interest at the center of His heart, and that the answers would unfold one day. In the meantime, I had to find a way to move forward.

Moving on
I cried myself to sleep every day for a good month, and dreaded the mornings. I did everything I could to stay busy. I took 6 classes in one semester, went to all kinds of social activities, intramural sports, and even tried a few dates. The ache never went away, and if I was being honest with myself, my heart was closed to meeting anyone else. I made some incredible friends that year that helped pick up those broken pieces, and my sisters and best friends back in OH always made sure I was doing ok. Mind you, this was back before instagram, and facebook had just came out so there was no social media stalking to take advantage of! I mean, someone had set up a MySpace page for Gabe (L.O.L.O.L.), but he never updated it so the only way of finding out how he was doing was through the little pieces here and there I would hear from our mutual friends! It was maddening sometimes, but during these months apart I discovered how far I had come if I looked over my shoulder. I was forced to grow up in a sense, and face some of my immaturities.

Could it be?
On spring break in Florida with our old crew from Freshman and Sophomore year, my friend Molly gave me the heads up that Gabe was going on an 8 day silent retreat. As you may remember, he’s an all or nothing guy so if he is going to figure something out, he is going to take the bull by the horns. I knew there would be some things he would be confronting during that time, and I hoped very much that he would find the healing he needed. I didn’t hear anything else after that for about a month, until one day he called…

Before we broke up I had asked him to be my official date to my sister Maria’s wedding. She was marrying her long time friend from college, who also was a friend of Gabe’s. We had talked about how excited we were to see them get married. It was coming up in just a few months, and I was now planning on going solo. Well that phone call came, and of course! In true Anna fashion, I let it go to voicemail. I couldn’t compose myself enough to find words, and my heart had stopped beating all together, and I am pretty sure my brain went into dormant mode. I took deep breaths, tried to get my cool back, and then don’t worry, I called him back. We chatted small talk with ease like old friends while I continued to pinch myself to make sure I was awake. He filled me in on his retreat, and how he had come to find answers he wasn’t expecting. I could sense the peace in his voice. He then asked, “Well I was calling because I was wondering if it would be okay if I still came to Maria and Andrew’s wedding.” I didn’t allow myself to think this was anything yet, so I played it cool and reassured him that it was totally fine and that I would pick him up from the airport if he needed when he got in town. Despite my efforts not to get my hopes up, my heart soared. I didn’t know what was to come, but I had a feeling he wasn’t coming in town just to attend the wedding.

(Gabe’s graduation after we got back together.)

Fast forward to the wedding weekend, all of our old friends and family were in town and I woke up the night before dress rehearsal day as sick as a dog. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a stomach condition that reacts to any alcohol like poison. I was over the toilet every 15 min. and thought I was dying. The only thing I could think of was “Now I can’t pick up Gabe from the Marta. Someone needs to tell him.” By that afternoon I had finally stopped vomiting, and had slept off the worst of it. My family thought I would need to go to the hospital, but I made a turn around just in time. I had missed the dress rehearsal , but what I now know was sheer will power, I got on my feet and out of bed. I had to see Gabe. Maria drove me with her to the hotel where everyone was staying so we could see our out of town friends and family who were all hanging out together in the lobby. I stepped out of the car and suddenly got too dizzy to walk in. I sat on the curb and told Maria I was fine waiting for her there. I had surely lost 5 lbs that day, and was a pale and frail mess. So of course, that is when Gabe decided to walk out into the parking lot and make his way over. Lord have mercy.

As I sat there half mortified, half elated, Gabe sat down next to me, and put his arms around me. It was so good to see that face. He didn’t waste any time in saying he wanted to ask me in person if I would do him the honor of  being his girl once again. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I couldn’t grasp that he was coming back into my life. He was always the only one for me, and that day we both knew that this day meant forever for us.

Nobody can break it down like my sisters! 

We would get engaged over a year later right before Christmas time. (Another story for another day.) We got married almost exactly 6 months later. It was truly one of the best days of our lives.

(Gabe got poison oak on our honeymoon and I got sick on the side of this boat moments after this photo. Real life doesn’t disappoint.)

(I apologize for the PDA, but I felt like this should be appropriately dropped here since it only took 3 posts to finally get to this point.)

(It was less than a year later he was holding our first born son.)

We honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and despite poison oak, sea sickness, and sunburn I’d say we were still just really to start our lives together. Engraved inside Gabe’s ring is “Till Kingdom Come” which he has lived out in those small little ways every day in our 9 years of marriage. We aren’t perfect by any means, and go through our hardships just like any couple, but I am so grateful for the steady friend he has been through it all. As I look back at how fun those first days of dating were, I wouldn’t trade them for the today. Every year feels like discovering a chapter in a familiar novel you know you were supposed to write together.

If you made it through all three parts, thank you for putting up with my run on sentences. Thank you for reading!

*Our wedding photos were by our friend TimWill photography.

P.S. Part 1 and Part 2.

Leave a Comment

  • I followed every of your posts in this small series and I loved it. Thank you for sharing everything, you two are perfect!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Chills! I got legit chills reading this last part! What a true testament of God’s love and plan for us 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a personal part of you life with us Anna! I truly enjoyed following along in y’all love story 🙂

  • That was BEAUTIFUL! I love reading these kinds of stories, especially when it’s two believers who attribute it all to the Lord. <3

  • Okay, that tilt-shift photo is everything.

  • Your relationship is my favorite love story! I look forward to you recounting your engagment!

  • Oh Anna!!! Tears for sure.

  • Samantha

    This was so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I looked forward to every single installment 🙂 As a young Christian single in a world of shallow relationships, I so appreciate seeing the peace and trust in God’s timing pay off for you two.

  • Dang girl you really have an art for writing?
    You took me through an emotional rollercoaster, I Loved every minute of it ??! Even though we know it ended well I could still feel everything you described, like we were all right there with ya! Even the break up, your right most of us knows that feeling.. you described it perfectly…. can’t breath, dreading the mornings (ugh!)
    Then to come in person to ask for you back, in person (a lost art & true reflection of character ❤️)
    Just warmed my heart & soul! Thanks again for laying it all out there and inviting us in!!
    As always God Bless

  • Hooray!! Love this, making me want to write down our story.

    • I am curious if you could tell us what he was struggling with the year of breakup and what the retreat was for? I am Catholic too and curious if he was discerning being called to Priesthood and had to debunk that before moving closer in your relationship?? Please, do share! Thank you!

  • That picture of Gabe crying as you walk down the aisle….. be still, my heart!!

  • What a treasure for your kids to have and read in the future. Beautiful Story ?

  • Such a sweet story!! Love the ending!! ❤️☺️

  • Anne McClure

    Love this story!! Thank you for sharing it!!

  • Oh hey St. Brigid’s! I grew up going there and I love to see you got married there! The most B E A U T I F U L parish in my humble opinion.

  • Yes, I’ve read it all! Thanks so much for sharing this blissful story, it is so moving to see true love accompanying your life day after day and how it was built in the early days.
    Thanks again for sharing these intimate moments of your story, loved to read the 3 parts, and will keep on following your great adventures at 7!

  • I love this story so much!!! Thank you for sharing your relationship story with us-and the cute honeymoon photo of you guys on horses 🙂

  • Havilah Miller

    Anna, you probably don’t remember, but I remember running into you at the North Georgia bookstore, and you shared with me about this amazing rugby guy back in Ohio with whom you’d recently experienced a breakup (You even pulled out that Brazil shirt picture you posted ha) Anyway, as you talked about it, I could feel how it really pierced your heart, and I don’t remember what all we said, but I do remember leaving thinking what you two had must have been something real. It’s awesome to know that was just one chapter in a beautiful story! Praise God! And now a beautiful family and inspiring blog!

  • Sharyn Busick

    Ok. This is just the sweetest story ever!! You can just feel the love and it is glorious. What a beautiful example of waiting on God’s timing, and His perfect plan. Thanks so much for sharing – it made me smile!

  • Heidi Ferguson

    OH Anna! What a sweet love story! I bet the KIDS LOVE HEARING IT!! Thanks for sharing with us!!!

  • Thank you so much for sharing. Your story is so romantic and lovely. 🙂
    I really liked that you added all the beautiful photos and notes. I wish you all the best!

  • Justine Mckenzie

    LOVED reading this.!

  • Oh Anna! This story is so beautiful and romantic! I got chills reading it! Thank you for sharing it :-))

  • Ahhhh this is the most romantic story ever!!! Can’t believe it is real. You should feel very extremely incredibly lucky to find the love of your life. I hope it lasts. I can’t wait to read the proposal. Please post about the proposal soon because you jump from sitting on the sidewalk before your sister’s wedding to YOUR wedding!! There has to be something AMAZING in between right!?!?!? Ahh can’t wait!!! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • ha ha! Ah that is true! There needs to be that milestone in between! Will definitely write it soon, thanks for reading! Very grateful for the gift of living my life with Gabe.

  • Oh, don’t mind me just freaking CRYING over here after bingeing on all 3 parts of your & Gabe’s story!!! Especially after meeting both of you IRL at the DW event last Friday, I can honestly say that the love and support between the 2 of you radiates in such a positive way, and i couldn’t be happier for both of you and your lovely family! People like you give me hope that love is truly still out there and alive 🙂

    Hope to see you both again soon, sending lots of love your way! xoxo

    Coco |

  • […] 3. How we met/ dating story: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 […]

  • You and Gabe’s love story is so amazing!! My standards for guys have become significantly higher after reading this haha! I am catholic as well and I find that it is so difficult to find virtuous men nowadays.. but I know He has great plans for my life! So happy for y’all, God bless you.

  • […] Part 3: An end and a beginning. | In Honor Of DesignJuly 21, 2017 […]

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