I met my husband in geometry class his senior year and my junior year of high school. We began dating soon after.
I thought that we’d go our separate ways once he graduated and left for Marine Corps Bootcamp, but instead, he asked me to stay with him. His good looks and amazing sense of humor convinced me that he was worth the effort, so I did.
Eventually, I enlisted into the military too, and we wound up arranging to get married when our leave dates next managed to coincide.
For the first three years of our marriage, we only lived together for seven months, but not consecutively due to being stationed in different States and swapping places to go on back-to-back deployments to two different war-torn countries.
When we finally were able to live together as husband and wife, I got pregnant unexpectedly- right after getting back from my deployment to Afghanistan.
Having a kid changed everything. My husband asked me to get out of the Navy to become a stay-at-home Mom and I begrudgingly did once my first enlistment was up.
That decision turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Fast forward to the present day… It has been 18 years since we tied the knot. I am now a full-time caregiver to two children with special needs, have PTSD, and a laundry list of other health ailments due to the life that I’ve led.
However, looking back, I have no regrets.
There is no one else that I’d rather endure the ups and downs of this existence with besides the man that I chose to stay with back in high school. He’s my best friend and the person that I’ve grown up with.
I want to continue to grow old beside him too because he’s still worth it even after all these years.
Our love story may not be pretty, but all our past and present tragedies have only made me appreciate the many beautiful moments intermingled with the painful ones even more.
So what if our love story is as messy as we are? At least it’s real.
This first published in The Havok Journal on February 11, 2021.
Lori Butierries is a full-time caregiver to two children with special needs, one child being terminally ill and physically disabled. She uses her life experiences and the medical knowledge that she acquired from serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy to help others facing similar hardships. Lori focuses primarily on advocating for and educating others about the special needs, mental health, and veterans communities. Her long-term goal is to reduce the stigma associated with disability by talking about it with people of all ages, thus minimizing the fear and the mystery attributed to the unknown.