Now and Forever

Convertible 2

June 2014, two men struggled to get Mark into our friends convertible, but it was a great ride and memory now. 

In just one moment, our life’s journey took a drastic change and now I can’t help but relate our life as before or after April 27, 1991. In my mind it’s like I have two filing cabinets, one holds memories of before and the other after the car accident. Much love is contained in each cabinet, however the two different lifestyles did changed our relationship. The one constant is as Carole King sings, “Now and forever, I will always think of you.”

I still miss the way things were in my before cabinet and enjoy reflecting on the files contained there. I have to smile at the possibility of my mind embellishing those twelve years of memories, because most of the files hold an easier and happier way of life.

Anniversaries have a way of making me reflect. Because it will be twenty-five years in just a few days, I realize my married life after the accident cabinet holds more than double the files of my before cabinet. To lift my spirit I’ve set my sights on writing about the positive aspects contained in my after cabinet, which I consider blessings.

I’m glad Mark and I survived the accident which could have taken both of our lives. I’m grateful our children weren’t with us when it happened. At the young ages of seven and eight, they appeared to be more resilient and accepting of our new lifestyle than they might have been if they were teenagers at the time. Their childlike belief that all would be well kept us working towards their expectations.

I’m thankful the accident happened before we moved instead of after. I’m grateful for the advice and insight of others to stop the sale of our home. This unfamiliar road would have been so much harder had we been attempting to get settled in a new house while seeking new friendships. I appreciate the love and support we felt from our Sandy neighborhood. The benefits of Mark returning home to a familiar place surrounded by familiar people proved to be immeasurable, especially with his short-term memory problem.

There are unexpected advantages to Mark’s memory issues, such as not recalling the pain and length of time in rehabilitation. I believe his poor short-term memory has saved him from depression. He is fun to be with and works hard to accomplish things which used to come easy. His example of patience, endurance and the constant expression of appreciation encourage me to do and be better.

We’re fortunate Mark regained consciousness after three months of being comatose and remembered the most valuable things in life—faith, family and friends. He retains his determination and quick-wit. He enjoys making people laugh and reminds me that bringing happiness to others brings joy to oneself. He teaches me what’s most important in life and encourages me not to worry about all the other stuff.

I appreciate of the wonderful people we’ve met since our accident and their positive examples. They are mentors who give me strength, courage and faith that I can succeed in my caregiving journey. I’m grateful for all those who have shared a part of their stories as guest authors on Uniting Caregivers.

We’re happy to live in a wheelchair accessible home which provides comfort and conveniences, making our life easier. We’re fortunate to share our home with my parents who are willing to help in every way they can.

We’re lucky to have friends who love and encourage us. Friends who made our move to Draper easier. They welcomed and helped us feel comfortable right from the start. We moved just five years after the accident and we were still adjusting to a new way of life. Their warm reception and support made our new pathway bright.

I’m privileged to have parents and siblings who are generous with love and service. We’re blessed they live close by and we can call on them at any time. If possible and needed, we know they’d come at a moment’s notice to assist in any way they could.

I’m fortunate to have the acceptance and love of Mark’s family and although they live in other states, we know of their concern and care for us. I’m thankful for cell phones, email and social media, which bridges the distance and keeps us connected.

I’m blessed to be a part of a large extended family where cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are involved in our lives. We cherish our relationship with each one and I’m grateful for their love and loyalty to family.

Looking at all these files of blessings, I realize our life has turned out just as it should for our own personal growth. Our journey may have taken an unthinkable turn on April 27,1991—one I wouldn’t have chosen, nor expected or could have prepared for. However, joy is found in the after the accident cabinet. I believe happiness can be now and forever because Mark is a part of me and I will always be with him.

In a Heartbeat

Wedding Invitation

Wedding invitation picture

I heard a knock on my apartment door. I was expecting Mark, but still asked, “Who is it?”

“It’s me,” Mark replied. I opened the door to see my tall, dark and handsome boyfriend holding a bouquet of flowers in a vase. I welcomed him into the apartment I shared with a friend, Lori. He handed me the flowers with a note. I set the flowers down on the kitchen table to read the note:

“I Mark Wilson, being of questionable mind, but sound body, ask you Barbara Breitling to marry me.”

With anticipation and a grin, I noticed he was reaching into his pants pocket and pulling out a small box.

Now in all the fairy-tales the man bends down on one knee to ask for the lady’s hand in marriage. Since I wanted a fairy-tale wedding and marriage, I thought it only appropriate to have that kind of proposal.

“Aren’t you going to get down on one knee,” I asked. He dropped down and reached for my left hand. I gladly gave it to him and he placed a beautiful diamond ring on my finger, which was a perfect fit. So our journey began with the official proposal on May 2, 1979.

We had dated for two years and decided to make our engagement short since June is the best wedding month. Fortunately, my mother is a pro at organization and party planning. She also had experience with helping my sister and two older brothers with their wedding days. As an anxious bride, I thought six weeks was plenty of time to prepare for the biggest party of my life. To complicate matters, we wanted the wedding and reception in my parent’s backyard, so on top of the regular wedding preparations we had a yard to dress up.

Mark and I were raised in two different religions so we thought my Uncle Wayne, who was an LDS bishop at the time, should be the ceremony officiator. This was the first of many decisions. My aunt Lorna, who worked at a bakery, decorated a beautiful three-tier cake. My cousin, Melody, who worked at a craft store did mine and three bridesmaid’s silk bouquets along with five corsages and five boutonnieres for the rest of the wedding party which included my two oldest nieces as flower girls. There were bridemaid’s dresses to sew and mine to buy. For the men, tuxedo’s to rent. A photographer to hire and wedding invitations to have printed and mailed. We had refreshments to order and asked four close cousins to help serve them. Mom and Dad rented an organ and my brother-in-law Klint played the wedding march along with love songs throughout the night to add romance to the atmosphere. We also had some special musical numbers which were sung by a family friend and talented cousins. The two I remember best were the “Hawaiian Love Song” and “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

Scan0053It was the greatest wedding and reception I’ve ever been to thanks to the hard work of parents, family and friends who helped pull it together in just six fast passing weeks.

Our honeymoon is an awesome memory and we were definitely on top of the world. We spent our wedding night in a nice hotel in Salt Lake City and the next six nights were spent camping at Zion’s and Bryce National Parks, and the Grand Canyon. We had a wonderful time and fell in love with the beauty of Southern Utah while exploring the parks for the first time together. Even though the planning of everything was stressful, it was an exciting, blissful time of life. No other memory can compare to the wedding and honeymoon and then it’s back to real life.

Setting up a home together and learning to live with one another brings challenges. With work, school and a new home, sometimes we struggled to make ends meet. Three and a half years later our son came; add another sixteen months and our daughter joined our family. Children bring happiness along with added responsibilities and adjustments.

Two months before our twelfth wedding anniversary the car accident happened and the world as we knew it fell apart. Our life dramatically changed, adding physical and mental health issues. Thus far, we have survived it all which gives me faith for the future. This month we celebrated our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed. Our two children are grown and creating their own families. I remember how time consuming they were when they were small and now we have to beg, borrow and steal time with them, and we cherish every moment. It’s strange—I don’t remember growing older, so how did they get to my age? Thirty-five years sounds like a long time, but it went by so quickly.

One day Mark asked me if I knew then what I know today, would I still marry him? My reply was, “In a heartbeat.” Sure, I would write a different love story by changing some events in our lives if I could. But I wouldn’t change the love we share. Our marriage is nothing like we’d planned, expected or could possibly comprehend. It’s been a lot of hard work, forgiveness, juggling responsibilities, patience, and tolerance on both of our parts. Would I still marry him? Yes, in a heartbeat!

Best wedding ever.

Wedding Cake



















First kiss