Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Story of Us

Lots of people have been asking to hear the story behind Ryan and me. So, here it goes :) I will try to be as objective as possible, but this is my blog, so if I choose to take a little license here and there, thats my own business :)

Meet Jen and Ryan Walters. I think she is gorgeous, and he isn't too bad either. I have never met Jen before, but I have talked about her for hours on end, and feel like she is a close friend. They met and married in the Salt Lake Temple in 2002. They were both born and raised in the Salt Lake area and settled down there with their new family. Ryan worked and went to school to become a nurse and Jen worked in her career of community health. When Jen was 20 weeks pregnant with their first son, Noah, they discovered that the horrible headaches she was having came from a tumor that was growing in her brain. Fastforward through grueling treatments, remissions, miracles, and finally a relapse, and she passed away in May 2009, right after Noah's third birthday.



Meet Cory and Brooke Jenkins. I will spare you too many details because I am assuming if you are reading this blog, you know most of them. But suffice it to say, Brooke and Cory were married in the Mesa temple where they both grew and up and then promptly made a move to Ft. Lewis, Washington. Cory was beginning his career as a Physician Assistant in the U.S. Army. Their daughter Reagan was born in June of 2009 and Cory was gone by that August. He was killed when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle during his deployment to Afghanistan.


After a year and a half had passed since Jen and Cory's deaths (mind you, I am skipping the description of that time cuz it is boring and slightly depressing), both Ryan and I were struggling to get back into the dating scene. The experience felt a little bit like cruel and unusual punishment for both of us. How could we ever find someone to love and still be able to honor the eternal love and covenants we had made in the temple. We both decided that the only possible solution was to find another person in the same situation, someone who could totally empathize and respect that love. Now here comes the embarrassing part, though we are trying to get over it :) Ryan decided to sign up for the online dating site LDS Planet. He spent a grand total of about 3 weeks on there. I, on the other hand, hold proud to the claim that I was not online dating. So then how did you meet, you ask? Well, my dear friend Angela Barrus was also signed up for that website. One night she was over at my home and we were messing around and looking at her LDS Planet profile online. I asked her to do a search for widowers because I wanted to prove to her that there were none, that I could never get married because there was no one who fit my criteria (spirituality of a general authority, brains of a rocket scientist, the looks of Brad Pitt, and a widower who won the Father of the Year award). We laughed at some of the profiles that our search returned. And then there he was. And all of us in the room knew it. Angela convinced me to let her send him an email telling him to get in contact with me, which he did not do. Jerk. So then she sent him ANOTHER email to tell him he was really going to miss the boat on this one if he didn't act now. He finally looked me up on Facebook, decided I was attractive enough, and sent me a message :) We clicked right away and it was obvious. We chatted back and forth via email, phone and skype. Three months later, in March, he took the plunge and came down for a visit. We spent the weekend together and went paddleboarding. These are a couple of pictures from that day. He said he wanted to let me know that he was interested in me, so he developed an ingenius plan of splashing reclaimed canal water all over me numerous times. Doesn't that just scream romance?



I am going to skip a few details at this point. We traveled back and forth, seeing each other about every 2 weeks. Please be sure and ask him about the first time he kissed me and his smooth line "smell my hair" that was designed to get me close enough to go in for the kill.




I went with the Jenkins family a couple of weeks ago to vacation in Park City, Utah. Ryan drove out our first day and took me out for a night on the town. We went to Deer Valley Lodge and and rode a ski lift to the top of the mountain. We could see a million miles in either direction and it was gorgeous. After Ryan shoo-ed away the other people that were up there, he sat me on a bench, got down on one knee, and told me that he wanted to take care of Reagan and me. Then he asked me to marry him with the ring of my dreams. Well, I said no at first. Got to keep them on their feet, ya know? But I quickly changed my answer :) Then we grabbed a scrubby looking twelve year old who was the only other human being around to snap this picture. We can't describe the comfort that comes from being with someone who understands our hardest trial so completely, the ease of being able to tell each other story after story about our husband or wife and the person only wants to hear more, and the awe that comes from knowing we have SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY managed to find TWO people in our short lives that we are meant for, when there are others who toil their whole lives without such a privilege. And that is the story of us, in a nutshell. I have included a few more pictures for your viewing pleasure.







Reagan and Noah playing Captain America in the Target. Don't these look like the kind of kids who get shoved in lockers at school?


Enjoying a great Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers game



This is the moment I knew I loved Ryan and wanted to marry him. Can you tell why?



Trying to capture a group shot in the blacklight of Kangaroo Zoo



Lunch at the Olive Garden with my sister Phoebe's family



We took an old fashioned western picture at Rawhide. They thought they were the stuff :)




Attempting some bowling in Arizona



What.a.stud :)


After a carriage ride in Salt Lake. The boy is a crazy romantic.



Hanging out at Temple Square



Self Photograph
At the Phoenix Zoo

At the Easter Pageant. This is the first day he knew he loved me. Cheesy.


28 comments:

Heather said...

You two are adorable. What a special story! I am so happy for you! Oh, and you are a great writer :) these men are so lucky to have you.

Nyline said...

Cute story Brooke! So happy you have found someone! Don't knock online dating, That is where Nathan and I found eachother. We have been married going on 9 years.

So has a date been set?

Alainarae said...

Yay! Congratulations, Brooke! You guys make a beautiful family :)

Try to get a close up of that ring of your dreams, though, ok? lol

Alicia said...

When I met Brandon, it was Jen that told the fam, "he should marry that girl." Naturally, I really became good friends with Jen. When her cancer came back about a month after I married Brandon, it was devastating for Brandon and I as well. We had moved a 15 hour drive away to where Brandon got a job in Bellingham, WA. Jen died 1 month after my daughter Gloria was born. During that year after her cancer came back, Brandon and I prayed every morning and night. During that process, I became very close to Jen, although I lived far away because it seemed like she was always in my thoughts and prayers. After her passing, I feel even closer to her, especially this last June when my son was life flighted to the NICU in Spokane (from the Tri-Cities) for surgery. I felt like Jen was watching over him in the NICU.

I mention this because knowing Jen, it has always been my feeling that she would watch out for Ryan and Noah and Help Ryan find someone amazing and beautiful and wonderful. I feel like you meet that; even though we haven't met, I can tell you are just perfect for Ryan because of how he talks and feels about you. Brandon and I couldn't be more happy. We are really excited to get to know you. Send me your E-mail address so I can invite you to our private blog: aliciawalters99@gmail.com. I'd love to introduce you to my little family.

Andrea M said...

What a great story. I am so glad that life is happy again. You both deserve the very best that life has to offer. Brooke...you are amazing, funny, and beautiful. I am so glad that this blessing is yours and Reagan's.

ecuakim said...

It's such a beautiful story, Brooke. A beautiful story for all four (six! Oh my word the kids are darling!) beautiful people. I want you to know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers often, even though we never did reconnect (in person) after you moved back to AZ. I love ya more than my luggage. Put us on the invite list, for sure! And God bless Angela. That woman is AMAZING. As are you!

Copple's said...

I fell like I just watched one of the saddest, but best chick flicks ever. The one kind that you dont want to come to an end so soon. I will be excited to see the sequel some day. But I truly am so excited for you two. I think you guys have a picture perfect family. Congratulations.

Hannah said...

Brooke, I am so very happy for you and Ryan and the kids. I am glad that you have found someone to love and be with again. Best of luck to the four of you. Love ya!

Bert and Benton said...

Oh I love it!!!!! It's a beautiful story. I am so happy for you all!!!

The Stanford Bunch said...

Wow! your beautiful story made me cry! I am way happy for you guys!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

Jana said...

Oh, Brooke, I'm crying for joy. This is the amazing blessing you deserve. Congratulations, sincerely meant from the bottom of my heart.

Bud & Kim said...

I just couldn't be happier! I love you so much Brooke and I am so glad that you and Reagan have someone (actually 2 someones) to share your lives with. :-)

Ben said...

Wow, Brooke, so excited for you! My favorite part is seeing little Reagan and Noah together. They are adorable :) Congrats!!!
~Kim (just saw I'm signed on under Ben)

Amy said...

So happy for you Brooke! Way to go Ange!

Angela B said...

You are an amazing writer! I already knew most of the story and I loved reliving it thorough your talented telling! :) I am filled with gratitude for the way God watches over us and helps us help each other. I am so excited for you, Ryan and those adorable kids! Tell Ryan thanks again for lunch and I am thoroughly impressed by his bravery and persistence! :)

The Knight Trio said...

I am so happy for you Brooke! Thank you for the story and pics- it made my heart so happy. I think about you all the time and am so happy for all of you!

Crys said...

That was lovely...totally worth the fact postponing my kids bedtime to read!!! I'm so excited for you both! Can't wait for all the wedding details...and I too want to see that ring :)

Crystal said...

I love you and I'm so happy that you and Ryan were able to find each other. After reading this post, I am convinced that it was through the hand of the Lord. I'm so grateful that the two of you were both able to find strength and grow through incredibly difficult trials and that you are now both able to truly and deeply understand each other on so many levels. What a blessing that is and will continue to be! Thank you for sharing this story on here. It was wonderful to read.

Jamie C. said...

I just don't think a "comment" will do justice for how happy I am feeling for you right now Brooke! What a wonderful thing for you both to have found one another to love! It must feel incredible! It's a perfect story! Congratulations to you and Ryan!

Young Fam said...

Just like others have said. Great writing Brooke. Loved the getting shoved in the lockers comment. :) So happy for you, such a beautiful story. Yes, the Lord had his hand in this.

Mary Postert said...

I loved, loved, loved that story Brooke. Seriously, it made my day. That Angela...she is the reason Tanner and I got married too! She should either get some kind of award or maybe start some dating service and make lots if money. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

SJ said...

Congrats! I am so happy for you.

kimber said...

YAY!!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!! I am soooo happy and excited for you guys, and I think this is an incredible story. It should totally be in a book. Love it! CONGRATULATIONS!!! :) (Do you think I used enough exclamation points?;)

MJH said...

BIG. THUMBS. UP.

Chris and Heather said...

I'm all smiles and a few tears too!

Robyn said...

Brooke, I am soo happy for you! What an amazing story! You deserve all the happiness in the world!

The Hann Family said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I am so happy for you! You and Reagan deserve nothing but the best!

Cameron & Jill said...

Brooke! I just re-found your blog!!! Kristen told me you got hitched again and I am SO unbelievably happy for you reading this!!! Congrats on finding someone just as amazing and great and spiritual as you! Best of luck to you and your "new man" and I wish you both nothing but a world full of happiness!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!
-Jill (Porter)