My Love Story | Personal

Each year around Christmas time I put out a detailed newsletter of all the trips I’ve taken and adventures happened upon. This year I pondered whether or not I was even going to write a newsletter. In fact, when I first thought about the task I wasn’t.  But today is fitting, and my year in review is being shared early. A year ago this week I was celebrating my 30th birthday. I never thought a year from this moment I would be saying goodbye to my best friend. At this point it would be easier with a death. Knowing you are abandoned by your best friend who is still living feels unbearable. But it was more than a friendship, he is my husband. At least until today.

I could write of my year in tears but instead I’ll tell you our love story – abreviated of course.
It was senior year in high school. I always assumed I’d wait until I was in college to date so I never acted interested in anyone, no matter what was said. I think Josh caught on to this early because all year he asked me to marry him, forget the dating. I got so many twisty tie rings that year.  My answer was always “no” and I was in fact quite embarrassed he kept asking.

This was his first year at the school I had been to since kindergarten. He was funny enough… and quite distracting in class. So much so my A+ in Chemistry was soon a A-. Nothing happened all year, we both didn’t really know what we wanted out of life and were only together because our graduating class was as small as 12.

The summer of ’99 is when everything started. My best friend at the time wanted to hang out with Josh’s friend so I found myself with Josh, again, it just happened that way. That summer was one that they write songs about. Carefree and innocent. We became best friends. We worked the same job and were together pretty much all the time. Summer soon ended and we both started at the same college. He stopped asking me to marry him and started leaving notes on my car with paper roses he’d make from straws.

When I transferred to Clemson, over an hour away, he’d still come over several times a week to hang out. For those of you who are from the south you know we have roaches. It’s not something that can necessarily be controlled. I would always anticipate Josh to come visit me during the week so if I saw a bug I would put a cup over it and wait for Josh to “take care of it”. Sometimes there would be several cups waiting… One day Josh surprised me with roses… I was shocked. I didn’t have anything to put them in so I had to get creative.

One of my favorite trips and first international together was Ireland. This was just after 9-11. Soon after he told me he joined the Marines.

Before I graduated college he was gone. His parents were already a big part of my life and they came to my graduation, even though Josh was in training.

I wrote him every day for 6 months while he was in training. We couldn’t talk on the phone and didn’t have e-mail with the Marines. We fell in love through letters. We wouldn’t be together again for a full four years. He was overseas the entire time except for a week or two a year when he’d be on leave.

Josh was stationed in Hawaii so it wasn’t a “cheap” or easy flight. But I visited Hawaii at least once a year.

We did this at the mall just for fun…

Most of you think after his tour in Iraq we were married at Cypress Gardens in So. Carolina.

But the truth is we secretly eloped in Hawaii just before he left for Iraq. We picked out this spot.

The next day we were married. We didn’t have witnesses… so the guy in the speedo obliged us and signed as our witness. We were married by a Rev. Kermit, our other witness. 🙂 No professional photographer… no wedding dress… no rings. We used leis for our rings. Josh, being the sentimental one, saved them. They are preserved in a frame. Josh was the first guy I’d ever kissed, the only guy I’ve ever kissed, my one and only for everything.

We were together a week then he was gone again and we wouldn’t see each other for an entire year. That’s when we were married for our family in Charleston. It wasn’t until January of 2007 that he came home for good. He wasn’t the same though. It wasn’t the Josh in the letters or the boy that I knew from college. War had changed him. I tried to ignore it because I knew he wouldn’t want to talk to me. I couldn’t understand. It was hard but I learned to love the new Josh. He was always nice to me. I was nice to him. We never fought… we had no reasons to… but he was struggling within himself and couldn’t share with me.

Five Year Anniversary - Photography by TJ at

This is where our story ends… and theirs begins.

I can’t put into words the emotions I have had and continue to face. I also can’t thank all of my friends and family that have supported me enough. You hear of so many that go though this same situation but it doesn’t hit home. I have learned to have so much empathy for others through this. Most of us stay within our own world and don’t see others hurting. I know my situation is not unique. I know there are others with bigger burdens than mine all around me. Sometimes when we are uncertain of what to say or do we tend to avoid people and situations. Truth is they don’t need you to do or say anything of epic proportion. They just need to know you care. I have had so many of you care for me over the last few months. Thank you.

I celebrated my birthday this week. I’ll break tradition and tell you what my birthday wish has been for the last decade. My wish each year was that I would always be loved by him. This may seem like a silly wish when you are married and feel happy in your marriage. But that was the one thing that put a smile on my face in the morning whether I was home or in a hotel while traveling. I knew I was loved. That was the one thing that gave me strength to give life my all and take on so many obligations, I felt loved. I felt unconditionally loved no matter what. This year I couldn’t wish to be loved by Josh. I love him so much I’m letting him go. I wish him joy, peace, and happiness. I wish you would all pray the same.


  • Denise Nicole - Oh sweetie, I cant stop crying right now. I know you must be in so much pain. I know this is new for you to be on your own and to start a new life and be happy with just being you. I don’t really have the words to comfort you right now but I will be praying that the Lord will wrap his arms around you and help you get through this. I hope you will find comfort in the new beginnings that you will have. You WILL be happy again. You will. I promise you. I have been through so much pain in my life that I know if you just leave your worries to God he will take care of you. I am sending you huge hugs. Please call me if you need to talk. Love ya girl!

  • Gabrielle Bass - Wow. Very moving. Sometimes we have to let go of something good for something that is better..and because of your faithfulness to the end, you will be able to write another Love Story that doesn’t ever end! Light&Love~Gabrielle

  • Shelley - This is beautiful, not in the typical way we refer to beauty, but in the real, honest way (much like your photography). It is interesting to reflect on life and to see where it has taken you over the past 10 years. Thank you for sharing. And you are wrong, Dallas, you are loved. You are loved by many! My prayers go out to you that you will find the happiness that you deserve.

  • christin - very nicely written lady. your strength is amazing and your view is just so uplifting. I hope you get to travel this winter 😉 and if you dont… you can come down to cincinnati and drink some wine with me! xoxo sending you hugs!

  • christin - your strength is amazing. you are such a wonderful and special person who has touched so many lives. I am so glad that I met you at that wedding last year! 😉 sending you a ton of hugs from cincinnati and i hope you get to travel this winter. and if you dont, you need to roll down 75 and drink some wine with me 😉
    xoxo love ya girl- dont change a thing- your amazing!

  • christin - ok so i look like the blog stalker now!!!! HAHAH the damn site timed out on me three times!! 😀 lol ok..i’m done. 😉 xoxo

  • Anna - Dallas, this is so beautful–just like you. Hugs and god speed on your new adventures!

  • Brooke Summer Photography - Okay LOL at the guy in the speedo as a witness, that’s awesome. Dallas… I have so many things I want to share with you. I don’t know you, but I went through this. I’ve BEEN through this, successfully. I know that right now it’s tunnel vision and this is all you see, and it hurts SO much. Some days that’s it – PAIN and nothing else. You will find yourself looking for your identity – you were a wife, now what? How do you define things anymore? You might lose friends. People might not talk to you – not because they don’t like you or because they want to be mean but just because they don’t know what to say. It’s so, so hard. I know how difficult this can be, but keep your integrity. Be the better person through everything. You will be rewarded, God will bless your socks off later on. Even though it’s hard to believe now. I truly am sorry for your loss, I know how much it hurts.

  • Melody Meuller - Oh Dallas – this brought tears to my eyes, such a touching letter. Reading this brings me back to early 2010 when I first met you with my friend Amber, this is the relationship I seen – you and Josh. You seemed so perfect and right for each other – very happy and kind to one another (you just seemed to fit together). I am so sorry things are bad for you right now, you are a wonderful woman with such a kind heart. I pray for your healing and that you will someday find happiness again. I have to admit I laughed at the photo of your witness in the background lol lol – how many of your brides have that kind of background?? Your pictures are wonderful, you can see the love you had for each other through the years… keep your head held high and try to smile :o)

  • Dallas - I knew so too Melody. My heart is breaking but I have to stop thinking there is a logical reason. I never thought my soul could hurt so much… or my mind could torture relentlessly. Everyone that knew us is completely shocked. The Josh I knew is gone. He no longer loves me.

  • Manda Koolis - a friend shared this with me and i just want you to know that my prayers are with you. each of us has our own heartbreaking battle to go through and while i can’t imagine this kind of pain, i have my own and i can at least send my love and hug.

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