• Karen Driscoll

A Love that Endures

Baby announcements and engagements are undoubtedly the most liked content on social media. You can feel the love and excitement through the screen. Having heard about my friend, Jeannette’s engagement via Instagram, I was excited for her upcoming nuptials. But one day, I came across a long post that stopped me dead in my timeline. “That morning we had just shared the news about our engagement on social media and we were thrilled about life. We were just relaxing by the pool when Apkar said he was just going to take a quick dip at the beach and be right back. I kept my eyes on him like a hawk and lost him for a few seconds. Before I knew it, they were pulling someone out of the beach and I immediately sprinted over praying it wasn’t Apkar...but it was and he was unresponsive with no pulse.” *complete and utter shock*

Apkar proposed to Jeannette on their third day in Hawaiian paradise. Jeannette remembers being frozen in time as she agreed to marry the love of her life. It was a high that she hoped would last forever. Hours later, Jeannette found herself in the middle of a reality no one dreams of. Luckily, Apkar survived the accident on the beach but he suffered from a broken neck and spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

Jeannette and Apkar spent months in hospitals working toward his recovery and for now, Apkar can no longer walk and requires Jeannette to be his full-time caretaker. This was a serious blow to the way things were - when they dreamed of love, marriage, and a baby in a carriage. Prior to Apkar’s injury, he was an entrepreneur and Jeannette was a year away from getting her Master’s degree. But even as Jeannette and Apkar have worked to normalize a new life, their love never wavered.

Apkar and Jeannette met in 2012 at a club in Los Angeles. (Yes, you can find Mr. Right in your local dancerie *cue Mary J. Blige*). It was a summer night where Jeannette was trying to make the best out of a bad hair day and Apkar was living his best life with his tanned skin and fresh cut. Apkar noticed her hair first and how flowing it was. He approached her, told her she looked beautiful and that her hair was pretty. Jeannette thought he was handsome and he smelled good. The two talked the entire night and went on their first date weeks later. As time passed, Jeannette and Apkar were captivated by each other’s hearts. For Apkar, Jeannette always meant well and he admired her work in the community. For Jeannette, Apkar’s heart of gold was clear in his dedication to his family. Both knew, that package of values was hard to come by.

So why did Apkar and Jeannette choose each other? In Apkar’s words, “I chose Jeannette because she had a genuine love for me. I have someone that I absolutely love, admire, and respect and she has this tremendous love toward me in return. I could imagine growing old with her and that’s why I choose her”. In Jeannette’s words, “I chose Apkar because I can’t picture my life without him. Because my mom and dad split when I was in the 6th grade, I had anxiety about what it meant to be with someone for the rest of my life. But with Apkar, I started to put a face to my future husband and the father of my children.”

Jeannette and Apkar’s story is too unique for words. Talk about resilience and endurance! Under normal circumstances, when you find someone you want to commitment your life to, you imagine what life will be like together and make all sorts of plans, including babies and bae-cations. Rarely do these plans include a life changing injury. In an instant, Jeannette and Apkar’s dreams changed. I wonder, being in their shoes, if ordinary people (myself included) could love someone deeply enough to stay and reimagine something new and very different. Answering honestly, I can only say that I’d hope to be that strong.

Jeannette and Apkar are the purest example of what’s meant by love enduring all things. They credit their love to the love they’ve felt from God above. Surprisingly enough, Apkar and Jeannette believe their life is more simplified and uncomplicated now. Apkar’s injury has strengthened their bond with each other and their faith. They’re hopeful that Apkar will regain his physical function and they trust the plan that God has for them. While life may be hard, their love isn’t. For them, love is the most powerful energy in the world and if their love remains, then they will win.

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