We love people for who they are. But there is a kind of love that is too high for us to truly comprehend in all its nuances, a love that manifests itself towards people no matter who they are or what they become. We find a love such as this in the beautiful story of Ian and Larissa.
The two met in college in 2005. Ten months was enough for Ian to be convinced that she was the one, that they were happy together, and that they complemented each other. They knew the love they felt would not diminish, because they had put God at the centre of their relationship, so they decided to get married.
September 30, 2006, is a date that is etched in Larissa’s memory, because it was the day that changed their quiet and trouble-free lives forever. On the way home from work, Ian was involved in a serious car accident. “We watched as our future was shattered along with that white station wagon,” Larissa would later say; at least, the future as they had imagined it.
The multiple head injuries he suffered caused Ian to fall into a deep coma, from which no one thought he would wake up. When four out of five brain tests ruled out a recovery, the doctors announced that the family should prepare for his funeral. However, the family refused to disconnect him from the life support machines, and their faith was miraculously rewarded. Ian came out of the coma—but could not speak, his short-term memory was severely impaired, as were his cognitive abilities, and he could not move.
Seven months later, when he was brought home, Larissa also moved into Ian’s parents’ home to take care of him. She never considered, not even for a moment, that she would end their relationship. “Leaving my best friend was never an option.” She knew he wouldn’t leave her either if she were in the same situation. She was still determined to marry him when he regained his speech. Two and a half years later, Ian managed to mumble his first words. He soon proposed to Larissa.
“I have heard that the idea of marriage can give rise to fears and doubts in anyone’s case. A disability takes those normal fears and multiplies them,” says Larissa about her decision to marry Ian. But the fear was not stronger than their love and commitment, and four years after the accident, the two married in the company of friends and family. Sadly, one of their loved ones was missing, after having been with them in the most difficult moments: Ian’s father died of brain cancer just a few months before the wedding.
Love does not make hardships disappear. Larissa knows this very well. She has a husband who can never be left alone and who forgets what he did that day by the time evening comes. She has to solve all the family’s affairs and problems. She admits that it is not easy for her, but that her encouragement and love lift her every time. Together they managed to write a book about their experience and the wonderful way their love evolved and endured. Earlier this year, Ian took his first steps on his own. Miracles still occur in their lives, but none match the miracle of love that God has placed in their hearts—and that grows every day.
Andreea Irimia teaches computer science and technological education.