We met at the beach over the summer of 1995. On hot day around 98 degrees. I was walking with a close friend of 10 years. I saw this beautiful girl walk by, she had caramel colored skin and straight black hair. I contemplated for a while if I should go up to her. I decided to walk up to her and introduced myself. One thing led to another, and we realized we went to the same school. I vaguely remember passing her in the hallways. I got her number, and we went about our day. We started texting and face timing. About a month later of talking we got together. We met up pretty much day after we met at the beach. My cousin Ashly, took and guided us to cliff's one date, and we cliff jumped. Another date we traveled from Georgetown to Hamilton and went to Ascots. One of Bermuda's best restaurants. Spending my time with her was invigorating. Being post seniors, college was approaching. We were going to end up at different colleges and didn't know how our the relationship would work out. Summer ended and we were still going strong. How cliche to say, but I knew she was the girl I would marry. I connected faster with her than anyone I'd ever met. The day before we were leaving for college. I proposed to her. She said yes and that is one of the best days of my life. I was going to Berkly (a college in California.) She was going to Texas A&M. I was majoring in psychology, and she was majoring in economics. The first semester was over, and we were on Christmas break. We had been together for 6 months now and engaged for 4. We were talking less every day. Finals took a toll on our relationship. We both went back home to Bermuda for the break and hung out. She seemed different though. She was doing drugs and wouldn't answer my texts. We would hang she would spend all her time on her phone. One night, she spent the night and I decided to read her texts. I later learned that she was losing feelings for me. Yet, she couldn't cut off the engagement. A part of her still loved me. I had an epiphany that night. She was doing drugs to cope with her loss of feelings. I decided I would talk to her in the morning. It was a long night, considering the fact I knew she was losing her love towards me. I awoke to her the next morning, per usual, on her phone. I contemplated if I should even bring what I had discovered last night up. I had an idea. I told her get dressed we are going to the beach. She hesitated, then ultimately decided to get dressed. It was about a 10-minute drive, and we sat in silence. I tried to engage in conversation, she turned me down with one word replies. I could feel the tension in the car. Knowing her long enough, I realized she was also anxious. I put my hand on her knee and told her everything was going to be fine, and we would have a great time. Even though it was winter break; In Bermuda it was still in the 70s. We set up our towel and I asked her to sit. I took her phone and put it to the side. I grab both her hands and told her how beautiful she was as the wind blew her hair. She gave me a slight smile. That was the first time I saw her smile to one of my compliments, since we got home. I looked in her lovely brown eyes and saw desperation. I took a deep breath and said " I know what's going on." She gave me an anticipated look and I answered her question before she asked it. I said " I know you're losing feelings" Her mouth slightly opened as if she was going to say something, but stopped. I asked her why already knowing the answer. She said "The distance is affecting my feelings." I asked her "what do you wanna do about us?" She was silent for a while and proceeded to say "I don't know babe." Her calling me babe gave me a false sense of hope. What came next left me at a loss of words. She said "I need you, I want to make this work out." I was expecting a breakup, I was prepared. I let go my breath that I didn't know I was holding and said "I love you Ava." She responded with a "Love you too." Which left me concerned, yet I trusted her when she said that. Our first year of college was over and I ended up transferring to Texas A&M. California was too expensive and I wanted to be with her. I was offered a/an academic scholarship. She had no idea and I surprised her one day at her dorm. She was so happy and wondered how got there. I told her I transferred, and we spent the next 3 years at the same college. We graduated under the same last name. We got married our third year of college on summer break. Got married in Bermuda. Our honeymoon was Mexico. We spent half our time with her family and the other half on the beach. Soon after college we had enough money to buy our first small house. I already had a job working with war veterans. She was under an internship with an accounting firm. Life was going how we dreamed it would. She got a promotion and started making twice her salary. I had become head therapist as a PTSD specialist. A year later, we decide we want kids. We were financially stable and thought it was a perfect time. We tried and tried, we later learned she wasn't physically able to have kids. It was a dark time for both of us. Unfortunate events kept happening to us. She lost her job and a friend of ours from high school killed herself. She became deeply depressed. I suggest that we undergo therapy together. She didn't want anything to do with therapy. She wasn't looking for jobs and sleeping all day. Our relationship was falling apart. One day, a couple months later. I offered therapy again and she agreed. Being in the field, I have friends. We got an appointment that day. She was silent the entire session. On the way back from the session she asked me "why haven't you left me yet? All I do is mourn and sleep. I'm no good to you." I drove right back to my associates office and asked if we could come in. He politely took us in. My wife, started ranting and let all the resentment, anger and pain out. She started balling as I held her hand. We left with anti-depressants and each other. I told her in the car "To answer your question, I haven't left you because I love you and I understand the pain you are going through. I am going through this too, but we can do this. We have to love each other through the pain." She smiled and said "I'm gonna go job hunting when we get home." Two weeks later she had a job at as a data analyst. She was thriving in her job. She was going out with me again and our relationship had never been stronger. 5 years later and we have two baby boys. We adopted and it was the best decision we ever made. As they grew, our marriage blossomed. Our kids brought a new spark in our lives. One day our kids were 6 and 8. They came to us and said "we want a sister." We said that mommy can't have kids on her own, we can adopt another baby. That's exactly what we did. Ava and I actually love and enjoy adopting kids so much, that we started fostering. We had to move into a much larger house due to the kids. Now we have been fostering kids for 15 years now. We have lost one child, our oldest. His death was hard on us and the kids. We started attending a small church group for people who have lost children. It has genuinely affected our lives, along with therapy. The kids love when new children come into the house. We've been married 20 years now and we love each other through the pain. That is our house motto.