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Someone named Jane, who leaves sweet comments on my blog asked me to tell how Aaron and I met. Well, this week has been nearly unbearable for me. I am missing him so much right now, so I felt like it would be a good time to write down (for the first time) the history of how 'WE' came to be... (it might get lengthy)
The first time Aaron and I were around each other was the first day of Junior High School. We both started 7th grade in August of 1989 at Bountiful Junior High School. We never really knew each other... we just knew OF each other. Those three years that we went to Junior High together, I don't remember even having one single class with Aaron. I remember him though. He was quite popular and had a lot of friends. From what I hear now from some of the girls that knew him then... he was the boy everyone liked.
I, on the other hand, was kind of shy unless I knew someone already. I didn't like Junior High and couldn't wait for it to be over. I really wasn't very social.
So, Junior High (9th grade) ended and Aaron lived in the boundaries for Bountiful High School and I lived in the boundaries for Viewmont High School. So, we still had no real chance of getting to know each other... but because we didn't know each other... we didn't realize then what we were missing out on.
Well, the summer between Junior High and High School, Aaron's family moved into our ward boundaries. They were now living only a few blocks from us, but because Aaron was already registered to go to Bountiful High School, we still went to different schools. So, even with Aaron living so close, we still didn't get to know each other. We had different friends altogether. I did get to know some of Aaron's family quite well though and I really liked them.
Well... 10th and 11th grade came and went. Then in the middle of our Senior year of high school, Aaron transferred over to Viewmont High School. So, there was yet another chance for us to get to know each other, but we still ran in different circles of friends and we still never had a class together. So, I really don't remember ever having a conversation with Aaron in all of those years. What I do remember about Aaron... is when he would drive past my house every day in his big Ford truck. Besides seeing him at school once in a while after he transferred, that is really all I ever saw of him through those years.
We graduated on the same day from the same school in the same graduation ceremony. But... we still didn't know each other.
Well... time went on and a few years after High School, in December of 1998, I left on a mission for my church. I served in England. My mission was to last 18 months and I was so excited, nervous, scared, happy... every emotion. My brother, Spencer, was serving a mission for our church in Italy. His mission was to last 2 years and he had already been gone 6 months when I left to go to England.
About 3 months after I left, I heard through letters that Aaron had decided to go and that he was going to be serving his mission in Brazil. I was so excited for him. A few months after that, I was reading something that Aaron had written about his mission in a newsletter from our ward. He sounded so happy, so I decided that I wanted to write him a letter (even though I didn't know him) and tell him how happy I was for him. So, I sent him a letter. I wasn't even positive that he would remember who I was... but he wrote back. And the rest is history. We wrote to each other for the rest of my mission and then the rest of his mission. These letters that I received from him were priceless to me before he passed away, but now that he is gone... I read them over and over and they are treasures. I was reading in them recently and there is one thing that caught my attention as I was reflecting on how long I had known OF Aaron, but didn't KNOW him. In one of these letters, he wrote:
"I know it hasn't been very long since I've written ya, but I've learned one thing important, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!' Well maybe that's a sorry excuse, the truth is I don't know why. I am sure that before we started writing each other, you thought I was weird. But now you know that I'm weird, and you don't have to just think that. Well anyways, I have been thinking about you alot lately... You have constantly been in my prayers and I feel like they are being heard. I know that God loves you greatly, it shows in the talents, blessings, and qualities that he has bestowed upon you, being a daughter of him. Leslie there is something special about you that catches peoples attention! It is the light of Christ... ...I know these things because I have felt it in your countenance. I personally don't know you very well, but I recognized through you, my Heavenly Father. I don't know, no I do know that I've never told you thank you for being who you are. I remember seeing you in High School and other places and I recognized the peace that you had in your life, and I desired the same peace. Few people have been able to affect me in such a strong sense, but it is by you and these few people that have helped me return to my Father, by recognizing his love."
Through these letters, Aaron had a way of making me feel very special. He definitely wrote kinder things than I deserve, but it is always nice to hear them. There is no question why I would have been so drawn to him. You can see why I treasure all of these letters. They are truly dear to me and I am so grateful that I have them.
In return, I thought the world of Aaron. He impressed me so much. He was inspiring to me and he had a heart of gold. He was one of the most genuine people I had ever known and I knew that there was something VERY special about him.
Continuing on... I got home from England in June of 2000. Aaron got home from Brazil in March of 2001. I was there to hear him speak about his mission and I was amazed by him. He called me later that day to see if we could get together sometime that week. I was more than excited. We did get together and then that weekend, he came with me and some friends down to St. George to go hiking / biking. We stayed in a motel... a room for the girls and a room for the boys. :)
Anyhow, this photo below is the first photo ever taken of Aaron and me together. These photos were taken on our hike in Snow Canyon near St. George.
Whenever I look at this photo, I want to return to the moment it was taken and turn around and give him a huge hug. Doesn't he look so cute? On this hike, he and I hung back behind the group and talked a lot... we were getting to know each other in person. It is one thing to get to know each other in letters, but it is another thing when you are getting to know each other in person. I really liked him.
A couple more photos from the hike and one that Sunday after church standing by the St. George Temple.
Well, this is where my heart breaks as I remember the events after the trip to St. George. After that trip, we 'dated' for about another month... I was really liking Aaron. I loved him as a friend for sure, but was a little nervous about moving on to the next step. I was scared. So, I told Aaron that I wanted to be friends for now. I know that is the most horrible thing to hear when you are dating someone. I just didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't that practiced in the whole dating scene. He told me that I broke his heart and I felt horrible. So, that started several months of not seeing each other or talking to each other. I can't even express the sadness I feel now that I missed out on those precious months with Aaron.
That summer of 2001, I moved in with some friends to a new apartment in Orem and was enjoying life. Well, in January of 2002, I learned that Aaron was living in the same apartment complex as me, but he was in a different building. I hadn't known for 4 or 5 months that we were only living about 100 yards from each other. That same month, I was out talking with a friend on the sidewalk by my building and a truck pulled up in front of us and here comes Aaron walking around the truck and comes up and gives me a big hug and says hello. It was so good to see him. We talked for a minute and then he left.
In February of 2002, I was talking to some friends that I knew that were also in Aaron's church ward and I asked them if they knew Aaron. They said that they knew of him and said that they don't see him around much. Well, I decided at that point that I wanted to see how Aaron was doing. So I called his parent's house and got his phone number from his dad and tried to call him. I left messages on his phone for almost a week. Well, I decided this one day that I was going to try one more time and if he didn't answer or call back, I was going to leave him alone.
Well, this time he answered. We talked for about an hour and it was such a great conversation. He asked if he could come see me the next day to ask my advice about something. So, he came over the next day. We talked for a little while, but he never asked me advice... I hope it was just an excuse to come over. My birthday was that weekend and my roommates and I were planning a party, so I invited him to come...
He came. I was happy to see him. He waited until the party was almost over before coming and I was glad. I got more time to talk to him and it felt so easy and natural.
While he sat there, he wrote me a birthday card and what he wrote touched my heart and I knew that I wanted to date him again.
This is at the party. That is a piece of wood that he thought looked like a piece of pie, so he is pretending to eat it. :) ???
We went out a several times in that next few weeks and then Aaron left to go back and visit Brazil. I missed him... a lot. When he got back, we continued dating and he invited me to go on a trip to Lake Powell with him and some friends. I had never been to Lake Powell, so I was so excited. I went with him and here are our first photos together once we began dating again. They are in Lake Powell...
These are all scanned in, so some of them are not quite clear.
This was the night we were heading home. We were loading the boat. Aaron bought this boat right after we started dating again. It was his dream come true. He loved this boat.
Here in Lake Powell is where we told each other that we love each other for the first time. It was the greatest feeling in the whole world. I didn't even need to hear it to know it though. The way Aaron had been treating me and serving me in those first couple of months... I knew he loved me. But it was wonderful to hear it.
It was only about a week after we got home from Lake Powell that we secretly got engaged.
And that is where I will leave the story for now...
I will say, though, now that Aaron is gone... those months between the times we were dating are precious months that I missed out on in Aaron's life. I was sad about those months before Aaron ever passed away, but now... it is heart wrenching. I want those months back... I want every moment back. I don't know what inspired me to write Aaron a letter while we were on our missions... but I cannot express how grateful I am that I did write to him... and that he wrote back. What a blessing.
I am blessed to have Aaron as my husband. I am so grateful. As I read his letters and his journals and hear more memories from other people... I learn more and more about Aaron than I already knew. I have to say... I am falling in love with Aaron more and more every day. I love him now more than I ever have. Even though he is not here with me physically, my love for him continues to grow every moment of every day. I realize more each day how blessed I am that we chose each other. I never realized what it truly meant when people talked about 'their other half'... until 'my other half' was gone. I do feel like half of me is missing. It is hard to describe the feeling, but it is real and painful. Oh, how I miss him. I can't wait until we are whole again.
I love and miss you so much Aaron...
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