When MH and I started dating things moved pretty quickly. We met in March, by July we were living together part-time, and in September we took the leap and rented a place of our own. While I thoroughly enjoyed being courted by such a romantic (and cherished my independence), I wanted to gauge whether or not our relationship had marriage potential. After all, I was 30 and I knew I wanted to have children, so I felt like I didn’t have time to waste. We rented a charming cottage with a patio and a garden (that I would subsequently kill) in the eclectic and eccentric beach community of Ocean Beach. By January we decided we liked each other enough to buy a condo together, and begun the conversation about starting a family. Of course, once we started paying our monthly mortgage payments our financial obligations became tangible, and the concept of reducing our income by half for any amount of time was no longer in the abstract. The weight of these new commitments was acutely felt by MH, so we agreed to wait.
Originally we had agreed to wait two years. Two years, I had thought, would give me enough time to shore up some savings AND enough time to “massage” the idea for MH a little more. I had hoped that given some time to acclimate to our new life together his desire to start a family sooner rather than later would return.
The first year living together was a blur of travel to Hawaii, Seattle, Vancouver, Whistler, Channel Islands, Coachella, New Jersey, New York, and Las Vegas. We also managed to accomplish some serious remodeling in our condo in between being on the road and our demanding work schedules. At times it was overwhelming, but we had a blast.
During July of 2014, however, our pace came to a screeching halt. While I was in New Jersey visiting my family I received a flurry of texts from MH’s sister and her husband, who were unsuccessfully trying to contact MH.
His father was going into emergency surgery, I was told, and he may not make it. He needed to fly home to the Dominican Republic as soon as he could. I flew back to San Diego a couple hours later, and the next morning we flew to the Dominican Republic to be with his family. Upon our arrival learned that his father had a massive heart attack, and although he was expected to recover, he came very close to passing away. We had been waiting until we were actively traying to start a family to get married, but this experience had a sobering effect. We couldn’t take for granted that our parents would be at our wedding, let alone be grandparents to our children one day, so on at a beach bar in Cabarete we decided to move up our timeline.
The day after Christmas we had the loveliest, most intimate and beautiful wedding I could have ever imagined at sunset on the beach of Playa Coson, in Las Terrenas. My parents, sister, and brother attended, along with MH’s immediate family. As someone who did not grow up dreaming about my wedding day, it unexpectedly had felt like the happiest and most important day of my life. And on that day looking ahead, I was anticipating growing our family in the upcoming months.
From there, however, life did not go as planned. At all.