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I met Bryan McMurray years ago when us were both in Champaign-Urbana at the college of Illinois. Bryan was born blind, and his wife Joanna supplies a power wheelchair — she contracted juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as soon as she to be five. Bryan graciously i agree to create a Valentine’s work post about their relationship, and also this is component one of a two-part series.

You are watching: Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite

by Bryan McMurray

We have a number of precious and very poignant plaques located tastefully about our residence out below in sunny Tempe, Arizona. Ns can’t read any of them. I have been remote all my life, yet my darling Joanna reads them come me any type of time ns ask. Yes one details plaque i implore her to read often, just so I have the right to hear her lovely voice recite that one much more time. That plaque says, “Every love story is beautiful, yet ours is my favorite.”

It began similar to in the movies: we really did fulfill in an elevator. The elevator was in an intensive-French school situated in a quaint small village called Val Saint Andre, just up a steep hill indigenous a picturesque town in the southern of France called Aix en Provence. Ns realized ideal away this sweet-sounding girl with the slim accent remained in a manual wheelchair. The was good by me. Ns am simply a couple of inch over five feet tall, and I often tended to like girls who didn’t have a large height advantage.

Back then, in the winter of 1975, i was 21 and a fourth-year junior at the university of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Joanna to be an 18-year-old who, favor me, loved languages and also adventure and also trying improbable things long before any type of law or conference Act mandated assist for human being with disabilities.

I quickly discovered that Joanna was a Canadian indigenous a snowy city 500 miles north the Vancouver, brother Columbia (hence the sweet small accent). One of her claims to “fame” was that at the age of 5, she’d contracted one of the worst situations of youth rheumatoid arthritis recorded in Canada.

We soon found that our backgrounds, our family and also life experiences, also our disabilities, couldn’t have been an ext different and contrasting. Ns was an agnostic Hedonist boy who’d grown up in a rough-and-tumble hard-drinking family on the south Side that Chicago throughout the late 60s. Joanna thrived up in a residence with a religious family that imparted strength and values come shine wherever she uncovered herself. They did certainly shine brightly in France, and her strong, love influence helped persuade me that her way and a road less traveled was the method I wanted to to walk also.

We stayed close for several years, and also even contemplated involvement our stays together in marriage, yet a collection of unusual and extraordinary circumstances conspired to separate our lives. Us experienced, in fact, such a dramatic separation, the we had no call at all for 10 years.

Ah! But, this part of our story, with its whats and whys, must remain for one more time, another campfire in another place. Ns will just say here, dear reader, the God lugged our lives ago together 22 years ago, v miraculous, unforeseen ways. After ~ that, us felt the liberty, the inexorable compulsion, to hold together our lives in a marriage that every day grows an ext wonderful, much more amazing, much more of the blast we thought it might be all those years ago.

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Stay tuned for component two that this occupychristmas.org article when Bryan gives instances of exactly how he and his wife combine their skills to finish tasks efficiently about the home –like cooking.