Dear LIVE with Kelly,
My name is Angela, and I am happily engaged to Ryan. We would love the opportunity to get married on your show. The fact that it would be in February is just icing on the wedding cake.
This is our story:
I have a love-hate relationship with the month of February. Some years it's been good to me; other years, it's tried me nearly to the breaking point. It all started out just fine back in 1980 when I was born-February 10th to be exact. For twenty-five years it was a normal life, but then it took some drastic turns.
First, I will jump back to high school in Erie, PA when I began dating Ryan. We met through mutual friends and just clicked. We even continued dating into college until we decided to go our separate ways. It wasn't a horrible break up, but more of that natural progression that comes with growing up and moving on. We stayed in touch for a while but eventually lost contact.
Time passed and I began dating Jake. Our loving relationship grew, and when Jake asked me to marry him on February 7, 2005, I didn't hesitate. Unfortunately, a short time after we began dating in 2001, Jake was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Throughout the time we were together, he endured brain surgeries, radiation, and various chemotherapies. He did it all with amazing courage and patience, and never once did we give up hope that he would make it. We had been married only 18 months when Jake passed away on February 7, 2007. His funeral was held on February 10th, my twenty-seventh birthday. What used to be one of my favorite days of the year, was now a day of nearly unimaginable loss and heartbreak.
Although Ryan had been thoughtful enough to send me a sympathy card and we had talked on the phone a few times after that, it wasn't until almost a year later, while back in Erie for the holidays, that he and I reconnected. By this time, he was living in Pittsburgh, PA and I was in Charlotte, NC. After that we talked on a regular basis; or at least I talked. He did what he had always done so well; he listened. He allowed me the freedom to mourn. He was supportive and loving and in spite of the long distance between us, our relationship continued to grow stronger because of our mutual respect and love.
But, February once again threw a curve ball. It started as a normal day in February 2011 when I called Ryan before I went to work. He was still living in Pittsburgh and I was home in Charlotte. He said he wasn't feeling well, thought he had the flu, and was staying home from work that day. I told him I'd call back later to see how he was feeling. But when I tried to call him after work, there was no answer. He hadn't called all day and it wasn't like him not to answer especially after multiple calls. I began to think something might be wrong, so I called a friend of his who lived nearby in Pittsburgh and asked him to check on Ryan. When Victor got to the apartment and knocked, there was still no response. He called the emergency personnel who found Ryan lying unconscious on his apartment floor. After a few hours in the emergency room, they determined that Ryan was in a diabetic coma. Prior to this, he hadn't even been diagnosed as a diabetic. The doctors weren't very optimistic about his condition given how high his blood glucose was. The nurses and doctors worked tirelessly on Ryan to get his numbers under control. At one point they gave him only a 1% survival rate through the first night. If it had been only an hour longer before he was found, he probably would not have made it. He stayed in a coma for two days. On February 10th, 2011, he opened his eyes. It was the best birthday gift I've ever received!
Thankfully, Ryan has made a full recovery. He is a Type 1 diabetic, but given what we've been through, it's manageable. Just this past October, Ryan proposed while visiting me in North Carolina. Of course I said yes! He has helped me through some of the darkest days of my life and now I'm ready to spend the years ahead with him, supporting him as he has done for me.
I feel so grateful to be given this second chance at love. And though some of my Februarys have been sad beyond belief, they have also been marked by great hope. It would be incredible to begin this new chapter in our life together by celebrating in Hawaii surrounded by our supportive and loving family and friends. And I can't think of a better way to make peace with the month of February than by celebrating our wedding anniversary for many, many years to come.