We haven't been together as long as some here, but we've been together 24 years. 22 of them married. our story is a long one, so I thought I'd post it in parts. Not sure if anyone is interested in our life, but who knows. Maybe it will help someone! TEEF

Suil a Ruin: An Irish Love Story

Me: I am a first generation Irish/Italian-American. Fairly normal household I guess for a European/American family. We were well loved and very protected. I was more than a bit of a trouble maker.. A brawler in fact. Not a big kid, but I was very scrappy. Lots of self confidence and not afraid to stand for what I thought was right. I was number 4 of 6 kids. We put the word *fun* in dysfunctional. We hit everything head on and rarely looked back. Mom was a quiet little Italian woman who cared for us dearly. She cooked for us and cleaned for us and I was the youngest son. The mammas boy. Dad was somewhat of a legend. He succeeded in everything he tried. Our biggest fear in life was not living up to our own idea of his expectations for us.

Her: She is a mix... American Indian, Danish and Scott/Irish. She was raised in a very dysfunctional home. Her father was an abusive alcoholic, and her mom was an enabler. She was the oldest of three and in an effort to protect her siblings, took the brunt of her dads wrath. When she was 4, she was sexually abused by her uncle. The abuse continued until she was 7. Her parents knew and never intervened. More abuse cam her way as she went through puberty by another uncle. It was less overt (inappropriate touching and vouyerism), and had ceased shortly before we began dating. I will only add one more negative note on her bio Her parents were a part of a religious cult that didnt believe (among other things) in doctors. This resulted in her parents not taking her to the doctor for broken bones, appendicitis and other things.

I met my wife at 16. When I met her I was dating another girl, but I noticed her. Sparkling eyes, the most beautiful past-the-shoulder length red hair I had ever seen, and a perfect smile. She didnt pay much attention to me, so I ignored her. My best friend was her best friends brother, so I knew wed run into each other again. A few months later we met at a church thanksgiving/Christmas party. I fell in love. I saw her again around new years and asked for her number, and I got it. Took me a while to work up the nerve, but I called her a few weeks later. We talked (as only teenagers can do) for 6.5 hours straight.

I was hooked. We began dating on Feb. 14th, 1987. I knew immediately that I didnt want to date anyone else. If shed have me, I would wait to marry her. We were good with that. Her dad wasnt. I asked her to marry me, we picked out a ring and I went to her dad to ask for her hand (yeah people still do that) in marriage. He pulled out a list of 11 reasons why I could not marry his daughter (money, insurance, housing, stable job, etc..), and number 11 was and I just dont like you. I asked him for the paper, thanked him and left (we had a rocky start, he and I, he had been drunk at a wedding that we were all at and everyone was afraid to keep him from driving the family home over an hour away, except this punk 17 year old kid).Anyway The next week I went to the recruiter and became one of the Few and Proud. 2 months later I shipped out to boot camp.

I was very nave. I knew her dad was a drunk, but didnt know the effect that would have on the family at the time. I would soon learn. 3 months later I returned home with the list. I met with her dad and said Mr. ___, I can provide every one of these things for your daughter now, and I am going to marry her. And I dont care if you dont like me. He replied that he had no real reason to say no other than that he didnt like me. So we were engaged. She was 17 at the time, I was 18. We married the following summer in 89.

Id like to say it was a normal beginning to a marriage, but it wasnt. As Irish luck would have it, we both got food poisoning the night of our honeymoon. We made it to the coast for our honeymoon in time for hurricane Dean to join us. After three days we decided there wasnt anything we could do there we couldnt do in our own home and we left to start our new life together. Originally, our boundaries were somewhat reversed. Being a young military man, I had frequented a few strip clubs and such. She was much more reserved. Our first year of marriage was a growing up experience. We loved each other dearly, but were not mature enough to be on our own. She had health problems and I was selfish. Still and all, we were for the most part happy and excited to be together.

Shortly after our first year, she became pregnant. It was planned (I think!), and we were excited! We went in thanksgiving of 90 to visit her grandparents. After 3 days of leave I was recalled. I was leaving for Saudi Arabia... Operation Desert Shield. We returned home, and I began packing. Life was scary. She as three months pregnant, I was going to war, and I didnt even know if Id make it back alive (we had a projected 76% fatality rate for our unit). I left December 19th of 1990 for Southwest Asia, and she packed all our stuff and moved in with her parents. I arrived on Christmas Eve. I am not sure how to describe the loneliness of being without her. Just to give an idea I saved every letter, card, note she wrote to me and carried them with me for 6 months. Us Irish are a lonely people by nature, social, but lonely. Must be genetic.

I arrived home after the war the same hour she went into labor. 36 hours later we had a son. Life was good, right? I made it home alive (we only lost one person in our unit), and I was reunited with the most perfect person in the world. Except I was different. I came home angry. I came home stressed. Maybe I had PTSD, I dont know. All I know was I was not the same person, and neither was she. She lived with her parents and was very close to them despite the fact they constantly treated me bad. Add to that the fact she had learned to live independent of me, and we had a volatile mix. She had post-partum really bad. She was suicidal a lot and I didnt know what to do. I spent a lot of time just holding her early on.

We decided to leave the service, and in 92, when my enlistment was up I got out and we moved back home (being close to her parents was a point of contention, but she was insistent.). She was, at this point 20 weeks pregnant at this time. Being Irish and all, I was a hard worker, but not the brightest bulb in the pack. We had been under the impression that medical coverage would continue until the baby was born. It didnt. That was a rough year. I made 9k that first year as a civilian, we had one young baby and one on the way. To top it off, I had a job skill set that didnt translate for me into civilian life unless I had money to go back to school. We contacted the hospital and they told us they would only take my wife if we paid the whole delivery cost up front. Yeah. Riiiiight. So we enlisted a mid-wife to help and planned a home birth. We didnt know about medicade (never needed to know about it), and no one told us So my wife goes into labor some months later and delivers a beautiful one-armed baby girl.

Celtic Voyager
Married 22+ years
3 young adult children

"A story of me"