Friday, March 29, 2013

A very Good Friday.

I met my husband in 1994 when I was relatively young. I was a twenty year old student nurse on holidays in Greece with a group of friends. I was just spreading my wings and finding my feet as my own person having spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in my family home under the fairly strict and safe boundaries of my parents. I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, never mind a husband. Despite this I took a liking to the funny Welsh guy I met while following friends from bar to bar, I just didn't dream to imagine he might still be in my life 18 years later. In fact when he asked if he could see me again I set him a challenge. I told him I would only invite him to my Nurses Ball in three months time if he sent me a card for my 21st birthday. The challenge was that I knew he only arrived home to the UK the day before my 21st, not enough time to buy, post and have a card delivered internationally.

The day of my birthday arrived and I celebrated it with a small group of friends and family including some American relatives who were passing through Dublin while on an Irish holiday. There was no card. I felt a little crestfallen. This was before the days of emails or texts. Once the postman had done his delivery and no UK postmarked card was on the door mat I realised that my silly challenge had backfired on me. 

The evening passed by and there was a knock on the door. Trina our neighbour called in to wish me happy birthday. Her face was full of excitement as she passed a beautiful floral arrangement to me. She explained that Interflora had tried to deliver it that morning and when no-one was home they had left it with her. She had been out all afternoon and had only just returned. The flowers were from Byron. I can't remember exactly what the card attached said but it was something to the effect of "Will this card do?" 

It did! 

He flew over to spend the weekend of the Nurses Ball with me. Having met abroad in the August Byron flew over to see me about once every 4-6 weeks for fleeting weekend visits, usually landing in Dublin on a Friday evening and returning again on the Sunday. Between visits we wrote letters and built up expensive phone bills. 8 months down the track it was Easter 1995. Byron booked a flight to land on Good Friday evening. It would be the 6th time we met and the last visit before I had to really knuckle down and study for my final exams if I wanted to qualify as a nurse. We knew there would not be another visit until the exams were over a couple of months later. 

A few hours after he had landed I found myself being proposed to. I think I said yes before he finished his sentence. We had no ring and decided to wait to buy the it on his next visit. It didn't stop us telling everyone our news. I know many people buy the ring together and then wait for the perfect time for the proposal and making their news public. I was probably quite young and naive telling the world I was going to marry this man who I had met 6 times and without even so much a ring on my finger but I was young and happy and very, very excited! 

I remember being called to the Matrons office. Back then the Matron was always a nun, one of the Sisters of Charity who had set up the hospital and run it since 1834. I had no idea that it was an expected formality that all students had to tell Matron their news in much the same way as we would be expected to tell our parents. I felt a bit awkward standing there flushed faced in her office in my white student uniform, white polished shoes and starched nurses cap. I explained that the ring would be on my finger on the weekend after the end of exams. I remember Matron giving me a very genuine smile as she wished me well. There were many furtive glances as I changed in the communal dressings over the following weeks. I believe many people were expecting to see signs of a baby bump to explain such a quick engagement to someone I had known for such a short amount of time. 

And so today it is Good Friday. This week is an important one in my churches calendar. We will all commemorate the death of Jesus and his resurrection and beginning of new life. Today in my heart there is a little flutter because for me today marks 18 years since the beginning of my new life too. The life that I share with Byron all because of a simple question and an even simpler answer. Memories that came flooding back this week when an American/Irish distant cousin sent me a Facebook friend request. A girl I last saw on my 21st birthday when she snapped a photo of me with a flower arrangement grinning with the excitement and possibilities of youth. A photo that she put up on her Facebook page with a witty comment about how she thinks they may have been from a great guy I had met on holiday... a guy that she could see all over my Facebook page today. Thank you Andrea, you have triggered some very happy memories!

I shall say goodbye now. This post became a little longer than I intended it to be. I hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into my past. The first step of a very exciting journey that I hope has many miles to go...

3 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Beautiful story and picture! Love it! Thanks for sharing :) How special.


  2. Wow, moving and funny, thank you for a good story.

  3. What a romantic! You haven't changed a bit. Lots of love to you and Mr B on your special weekend xx