We were introduced by a mutual friend Tammy after Cheryl moved from Hawaii to Southern California. Tammy would suggest that I get in contact with Cheryl and eventually I asked for her email address to see how things develop. We started off with lengthy emails learning all about each other and it progressed to telephone conversations. I remember spending up to 8-10 hours on the phone with her daily and keep her up till the late hours of the night. We both held different work schedules since I worked until later at night and she started early in the morning but we managed. We eventually got to the first date part “with no expectations”. She flew up to my house in Northern California and we both immediately felt the attraction towards each other. It was hard to avoid the fact that I already sensed that I met the one to have a future with.
Cheryl had everything you can want in a woman… Intelligence, Beauty (inside and out), Family Oriented, Caring, Honest, Dedicated, Spiritual, Modesty, and I can go on and on. I had no doubts about her in my life and my intuition told me that our relationship will evolve. Eventually, her trips to visit went from day trips to week trips to several weeks.. I would visit her down south and met her brother and friends. A joke that her brother and I share is that the first time we met we went deep sea fishing at 5 am. We both said what happens if we don’t like each other we are going to be stuck on a boat together all day!! But things worked out. It became to the point that she would make excuses to be with me and rationalize in her own way against the advice of her close friends (saying we were spending too much time together). For those of you cousins / friends reading this, don’t forget I have her love journal written in her own handwriting ;) Eventually we made the decision to live together and she moved up to live with me in Northern California.
Some of her most valued things I did for her in our relationship is one time I gave her series of small gifts consisting of everything she liked. To her, it showed that I payed attention to the details. I also wrote her the first poem she ever received. She loved the creative things that I would do like make her cards, create a treasure hunt for her birthday, and some spontaneous surprises we shared… Eventually, I proposed to her and we were engaged. We decided to get a brand new home together and moved near the central valley. We planned our weddings in San Diego and Las Vegas (long story) and planned for starting our family immediately to follow the wedding. We were married on February 18th, 2007 (four months before Cheryl was diagnosed with brain cancer) and again a few days later in Las Vegas. Cheryl and I had our many differences, heated arguments, etc.. that made us so passionate in our relationship. It drove us crazy in love and unconditionally in love… We both knew that no matter what we were devoted to each other and will never leave each other’s side through all the most difficult times.
There are many gifts that Cheryl has bestowed on me. One of the most influential is the strength and courage to endure the most difficult times. I have changed as a person and even my family notices that I have changed. I fought so many battles to keep the disease at bay and pushed the ultimate thresholds of tolerance, patience, etc.. It also gave me a sense of vitality and to always treasure every moment in your life because you never know what will happen next. Those snapshots and glimpses of cherished memories will always be treasured and never taken for granted … One of my parting gifts that I want to give back to Cheryl is immortality.. because her memories will forever be instilled within us and perpetuated through the stories we share. Now, hopefully we can share those stories with all the lives she has touched.